Benefits of the cold Pacific Ocean

April 2024
humpback tail in north vancouver island

On Cold Water Marine Ecosystems

The ocean is a vast and diverse ecosystem, home to a wide array of marine life. While tropical waters are often associated with vibrant coral reefs and colourful fish, colder oceans also play a crucial role in supporting marine life and their feeding behaviours. Telegraph Cove is situated in the northern Pacific, where ocean temperatures average around 10 degrees Celsius.

Colder oceans are typically characterized by upwelling, a process where nutrient-rich waters from the deep ocean rise to the surface. This upwelling brings an abundance of nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphates, which are essential for the growth of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton serves as the foundation of the marine food chain, providing sustenance for zooplankton, small fish, and ultimately larger predators. The colder temperatures slow down metabolic rates of marine organisms, leading to increased energy efficiency. This allows marine life to allocate more energy towards feeding and growth. Additionally, colder waters often have higher oxygen levels, promoting the survival of marine organisms and enhancing their feeding capabilities.

Our oceans experience seasonal migrations of various marine species, including fish, whales, and seabirds. These migrations are driven by the availability of food sources and tend to peak in the summer months. As colder waters support a higher abundance of prey species, marine animals follow these migrations, taking advantage of the feeding opportunities along the way. 

Colder oceans offer marine life a wider range of feeding strategies. Some species, like seals and sea lions, rely on the abundance of fish and krill. Others, such as humpback whales, engage in lunge feeding, taking advantage of dense aggregations of prey. Thus, the colder ocean environment fosters diverse feeding behaviours and adaptations among marine organisms.

While tropical oceans are undoubtedly rich in biodiversity, colder oceans provide unique advantages for marine life-feeding behaviours. The abundance of nutrients, increased productivity, seasonal migrations, and diverse feeding strategies all contribute to the thriving ecosystems found in colder waters. Understanding and appreciating the benefits of colder oceans is crucial for conserving and managing marine ecosystems worldwide. We at North Island Kayak and Prince of Whales feel extremely fortunate to work in a cold, nutrient-rich environment.

Experience the beauty of the Pacific kayaking with us today!