Brine Shrimp

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Brine Shrimp

Brine Shrimp

Brine ShrimpQuarter One Project

Structure and FunctionBrine shrimp, with a length of just over 1 cm (0.4 inch), are the largest animals that live in the Great Salt Lake. They have no shell on their body, and have gills on the outer side of the limb bases. These animals are transparent, making it harder for predators to see them. This factor is immensely useful, since it would be very hard for these small shrimp to out-swim their predators. The brine shrimp also live in darker waters, preventing predators and prey from being able to see them. Brine shrimp also live in high salinity waters, and prefer a basic pH level. This means that the brine shrimp are able to survive because of their external appearance. However, there are some cons to their features. For example, in high salinity lakes, where brine shrimp live, there are birds that can easily attack brine shrimp since their is no outer shell. Another factor that contributes to the shrimps ability to survive is that they can live in extreme climates, where other preditors and competitors cannot. The brine shrimp have evolved so their bodies can withstand the high salinity.

Unity and DiversityThe pH level in environments in which brine shrimp live is usually at a pH level of 8-10. Another type of shrimp, the ghost shrimp, have similar body structures and are translucent, like the brine shrimp. However, they live in freshwater environments where the pH is around 7 or 8. Since the ghost shrimp live in areas where there are a lot of predators and competitors, they have developed different methods of survival. Unlike the brine shrimp, who live in an extreme environment where there aren’t many predators, the ghost shrimp must burrow and hide in vegetation in order to survive.

Interdependence The brine shrimp, also known as sea-monkeys, are prey of fish from saltwater lakes, as well as birds, like the Eared Grebe, the Wilson's Phalarope and the California Gull. This means that fish that live in a lake with a high salinity, like the Great Salt Lake, eat the brine shrimp for their high nutritional value. The birds are higher up on the food chain than the brine shrimp, which means they rely on the shrimp for their survival as well. Also, this is true for the brine shrimp’s prey, algae. They both prefer high salinity waters, with pH levels that are around 8.

RegulationThe temperature of the water in the environment in which the Brine Shrimp live must be warmer in order for the brine shrimp to maintain equilibrium. Although oxygen levels can be low in the Great Salt Lake, brine shrimp have special forms of hemoglobin which bind to oxygen and keep it in their blood. Also, when the water in the lake is warm, they can develop into adulthood in as little as eight days. Populations of brine shrimp live in the Great Salt Lake because of the amount of saline. But as far as temperature goes, its not the most ideal environment. This causes the Brine Shrimp to develop slower, taking between three to six weeks to mature into adulthood. The Great Salt Lake is an average of just 14 feet deep, with a maximum depth of 33 feet. Its shallow depth means that much of its surface area is exposed to the air. This means that the water temperatures vary from below freezing in the winter to more than 80 degrees in the summer. The Great Salt Lake is between 3.5 and 8 times saltier than the ocean. Brine shrimp deal with this by pumping salt out through their gills rather than absorbing it.

Transformation of Energy & MatterBrine shrimp consume algae as food, which gives them energy. This is because algae perform photosynthesis ( 6CO2 + 12H20 --> C6H1206 + 602 + 6H20). Since brine shrimp eat algae, they are receiving their energy from the products of photosynthesis of the algae. This is related to the theme of biology, transformation of energy and matter, because one organism, the algae, transfers its energy, which is sugar from photosynthesis, to another organism, brine shrimp. After consuming the energy of the algae, the brine shrimp use it to do actions. They use the energy for swimming, digestion and reproduction. The energy then gets passed on to the organisms that eat the brine shrimp, such as birds and fish that live in areas with high salinity, like the Great Salt Lake. These predators eat the brine shrimp, and they now have the energy from the algae that performed photosynthesis.

SystemsBrine shrimp need certain living environment factors so that they can survive. These animals, can not live in a bright environment, because they prefer a dimmer lighting climate. The lighting that they live in helps them survive more because these shrimps are transparent. They prefer the dimmer light environment so that predators can not see them. If they lived in a brighter environment, they could have been seen easier which could decrease their population. They like dark lighting for survival, but also need some light because most of their food is available in high levels of light. Brine shrimp mostly live in the Great Salt Lake, a body of water with a high salinity and a pH level of approximately 7.5 to 8.5. Because there is less air above the Great Salt Lake than there is at sea level, ultraviolet light levels are about 15% higher at the surface. This is why brine shrimp tend to live in lower levels of water.

This shows how much salinity is in the Great Salt Lake because this person can float!

Wilson's Phalarope

California gull

Examples of Algae

How do brine shrimp relate to the themes of biology?

Brine Shirmp, a transparent organism with no shell

The ghost shrimp

Brine Shrimp

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Brine Shrimp

Brine Shrimp

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Brine Shrimp

Brine Shrimp

Brine shirmp

"Artemia (Brine Shrimp) FAQ 1.1." Brine Shrimp "FAQ" N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

"Artemia Salina — Details." Encyclopedia of Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

"Brine Shrimp 2: Brine Shrimp Survival." - Science NetLinks. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

"THE BRINE SHRIMP LIFE CYCLE." The Brine Shrimp Life Cycle. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.

"PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF GREAT SALT LAKE." Physical Characteristics of Great Salt Lake. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.


By Ivy Prince, Sophie Epstein and Rachel Seideman


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