Animals & Plants in the Temperate Oceans

Blue whale's tail
••• Blue Whale fluking off Orange County California image by ADMIRAL BENBOW from

Oceans make up about 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and the life dwelling there is quite diverse. The separately named oceans actually make up one large ocean, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden website. The division of the large ocean body depends upon the location of the water as well as the temperature. Animals and plants in temperate ocean water prefer slightly cooler temperatures, as opposed to the hotter water of tropical oceans.

Blue Whale

Balaenoptera musculus ranks as the largest animal on Earth. Blue whales weigh upwards of 200 tons upon maturity and measure between 82 and 105 feet long, according to National Geographic. Blue whales live in all oceans on Earth, feeding on large amounts of krill to survive. Despite the name, blue whales have more of a gray color than blue.

The lifespan of a blue whale stretches from between 80 to 90 years, with one whale reported to be about 110 years old. The blue whale remains on the endangered species list due to over-harvesting in order to obtain whale oil. The International Whaling Commission placed blue whales under protection in 1966, but whale populations remain relatively small.

Atlantic Salmon

Salmo salar can be found throughout the northern areas of the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Before moving into seas, Atlantic salmon live for about two or three years within freshwater rivers, according to the University of Michigan Department of Zoology Animal Diversity Web.

Some salmon remain in freshwater for their entire lives; this variety is usually smaller than the ocean-bound Atlantic salmon. On average, Atlantic salmon weigh from 5 to 20 pounds. Atlantic salmon come in silver shades with black spots before spawning; after spawning, the fish may turn a very dark color that is nearly black.

Giant Kelp

Macrocystis pyrifera lives throughout Pacific Ocean waters near California and South America. According to the National Marine Sanctuaries website, giant kelp rate as the fastest growing algae plant. This kelp averages about two feet of growth per day. Giant kelp grow together on the ocean floor to form kelp forests in which several marine creatures live.

In order to hold steady in the water, giant kelp grow what is known as a holdfast, similar to roots on land plants. The holdfast anchors the giant kelp in place. The Missouri Botanical Garden website reports that giant kelp reaches about 125 feet long. Giant kelp forests are harvested in order to extract algin from the plants. The algin is then used in adhesives and medical products.


Silvetia compressa grows along rocks, earning the common name rockweed. Silveta rockweed algae features slender fronds and comes in shades of olive green and yellow brown. According to the website Marine, rockweed provides a habitat for several other species of algae as well as small marine animals.

The silveta species of rockweed grows close together, forming mats. Other rockweed algae plants exist, including Fucus gardneri. The plants look similar but can be told apart based upon frond size.

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