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Animals That Live in Temperate Marine Climates

| Updated September 26, 2017

The temperate marine climate is a biome that occurs in the parts of the ocean that experience seasonal changes in temperature and are not as warm as the tropical oceans. They support themselves with seasonal blooms of nutrients, with plankton often serving as the basis of the entire food chain. There are a number of animal species that call this biome home, ranging from fishes to mammals to invertebrates.


A number of fish species make their home in the temperate marine ecosystem. The Atlantic hagfish, for example, lives in the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, and it typically feeds by using its toothlike plates on its tongue to devour the skin and intestines of its victims. The Greenland halibut, on the other hand, typically feeds on squid and crustaceans and can be found in temperate waters throughout the Northern Hemisphere, in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


Many different species of mammals make their home in the temperate oceans and bodies of water throughout the world, including recognizable species such as dolphins and orcas. The gray whale, which can grow up to between 40 and 50 feet in length, makes its home in the northern regions of the Pacific Ocean, while the northern bottle-nosed whale lives in the deep offshore waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans.


The invertebrates, one of the most common groups of animals, are particularly prevalent in the temperate oceans. The cnidarians, for example, are a group of invertebrates that consist of more than 9,000 species, which include such well-known examples as hydroids, anemones and corals. Numerous species of crustaceans can also be found in the temperate zone, including barnacles, shrimp, crabs and lobsters. The echinoderms are also found here, and they include such well-known animal figures as the starfish, sea urchins and sand dollars. All of these animals have developed adaptations to live in their environment and protect themselves from predators: sea cucumbers, for example, can throw out their internal organs to frighten away enemies.


Birds also inhabit the temperate marine parts of the world, especially near the Arctic and the Antarctic. One of the most recognizable is the emperor penguin, the largest species of penguin, which lives on huge slabs of pack ice, never actually coming to land. Another example of a temperate bird species is the black-legged kittiwake, which dwells in the North Pacific, North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, where it spends most of its time in the water.