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What is the biological significance of water?

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Introduction

What is the biological significance of water Water is the only substance that occurs as a gas, liquid, and solid within the temperature range found at the earth's surface. Bio. Significance: As a gaseous component of the atmosphere, water helps transfer heat from warm low latitudes to cold high latitudes. As a liquid, water runs across the continents dissolving minerals from the rocks and carrying them to the oceans. It is this form of water that accounts for over 85% of the mass of most marine organisms and serves as the medium in which the chemical reactions that support life occur. Liquid water also contributes to heat transfer through ocean currents. Solid water (Ice), during the winter season at the higher latitudes increases surface salinity and makes possible the sinking of dense surface water. ...read more.

Middle

Water has the highest heat capacity of all common liquids. Bio. Significance. It is this property that makes water an important moderator of climate. It accounts for the narrow range of temperature found at any location in the ocean. Because water can gain or lose a tremendous amount of heat without changing its temperature it acts as an insulator for marine life. LATENT HEAT OF MELTING. The quantity of heat gained or lost per gram by a substance changing from a solid to a liquid or from a liquid to a solid without a change in temperature. The latent heat of melting for water is 80 cal, the highest of all common substances. Bio. ...read more.

Conclusion

This property contributes greatly to the fact that the polar regions do not get increasingly colder and the equatorial region does not get increasingly hotter. SURFACE TENSION. Highest of all common liquids. Cohesive attraction of hydrogen bonds causes a "skin" one molecule thick to form on a water surface and helps to make capillarity possible. Bio. Significance. Some organisms use this "skin" as a walking surface. Others hang from its undersurface. DENSITY. Mass per unit of volume. Density is increased by increasing salinity and pressure and decreasing temperature. Bio. Significance. Plankton that stays near the surface through buoyancy and frictional resistance to sinking are greatly influenced by the effect of temperature on density. In low-density warm water, plankton must be smaller or more ornate, thereby increasing the ratio of surface area to unit of body mass, in order to reduce their rate of sinking. ...read more.

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