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Aquatic Ecosystems & The Flood


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#1 Isabella

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 03:01 PM

Hi everyone! I’ve been away on vacation for the past month, so I thought I’d make up for lost time by starting a new topic. I’ve raised this issue many times before, and I keep saying I’d like to devote an entire thread to it, so here it is.

Aquatic ecosystems are in many cases even more diverse than the ecosystems on land. The animals, plants, and unicellular organisms which inhabit them are highly adapted to the specific conditions of their habitat. And the habitats themselves are extremely varied: coral reefs, arctic oceans, limestone caves, hot springs that reach 60C (140F), salty tide pools, acidic bogs, deep sea trenches, kelp forests, alpine lakes... the list goes on.

As a simple thought experiment, I’d like you to imagine that you’ve recreated the conditions of some aquatic ecosystems within average-sized drinking glasses (with the aid of your shrink-ray of course :lol: . You have whales to work with, after all). The salinity, pH, water temperature, mineral composition, turbidity and oxygen levels are different in each, as are the plants and animals which inhabit them. You place all your glasses on the floor of an empty Olympic-sized swimming pool, and turn on the water until your glasses are a few meters below the surface. You leave the pool untouched for several days, then come back and drain the water until it’s just below the level of your drinking glasses. Then you remove the glasses and observe the ecosystems.

It’s pretty easy to predict what the results will be. The water in each of the glasses will be the same in terms of temperature, salinity, oxygen, ect. The organisms in the glasses will vary, but it is highly improbable that any glass will contain the same organisms they started out with. You might find dolphins in the glass labelled “Rocky Mountain Wetland”, Antarctic icefish in your “Coral Reef” and giant squid the your “Amazon River”...assuming those animals were able to survive the flood, which in itself is perhaps the most unlikely part of all.

Obviously, the swimming pool analogy has its flaws and is not a perfect representation of a worldwide flood. However, it does raise a couple important questions regarding how exactly this flood would have worked.

1. What were the properties of the floodwater that allowed for all aquatic organisms to survive? Diffusion is an observable process based on the physical law of entropy, and it would not be possible to maintain a stable pocket of high salinity or increased oxygen within a single shared body of water. Dissolved gases and solutes will travel from high concentrations to low concentrations in the absence of a barrier.

2. As the flood began to recede, how did the organisms find their way back to their respective habitats? For example, how did the freshwater Baikal seal know to return to Lake Baikal in Siberia instead of joining the Harp seals off the coast of Greenland? And why don’t we see any Harp seals living in Lake Baikal?

#2 bobabelever

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:03 AM

1. What were the properties of the floodwater that allowed for all aquatic organisms to survive? Diffusion is an observable process based on the physical law of entropy, and it would not be possible to maintain a stable pocket of high salinity or increased oxygen within a single shared body of water. Dissolved gases and solutes will travel from high concentrations to low concentrations in the absence of a barrier.

2. As the flood began to recede, how did the organisms find their way back to their respective habitats? For example, how did the freshwater Baikal seal know to return to Lake Baikal in Siberia instead of joining the Harp seals off the coast of Greenland?  And why don’t we see any Harp seals living in Lake Baikal?

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1. How do you know that "all aquatic organisms" did "survive"? We know that a lot did, but we don't know that "all" did. The better question is: What are the adaptation capabilities of the aquatic animals that did survive? God provided what was necessary.

2. How do you know that "organisms [found] their way back to their respective habitats"? Why couldn't they have adapted to new habitats, since they were displaced from thier known habitats - this is the more likely result of the flood. How do you know that the Baikal seal "return[ed]" to Lake Baikal? It is more likely they were displaced there and adapted to their new environment.

It is correct that this "the swimming pool analogy has its flaws". ;)

#3 Isabella

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 04:25 PM

1. How do you know that "all aquatic organisms" did "survive"?  We know that a lot did, but we don't know that "all" did.  The better question is: What are the adaptation capabilities of the aquatic animals that did survive?  God provided what was necessary.

2. How do you know that "organisms [found] their way back to their respective habitats"?  Why couldn't they have adapted to new habitats, since they were displaced from thier known habitats - this is the more likely result of the flood.  How do you know that the Baikal seal "return[ed]" to Lake Baikal?  It is more likely they were displaced there and adapted to their new environment.

It is correct that this "the swimming pool analogy has its flaws". ;)

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The kind of adaptations required for an animal to go from freshwater to saltwater, or from the tropics to the arctic, are on the level of macroevolution. And I have yet to meet a creationist that accepts macroevolution as a real process.

As an example of the adaptations I’m taking about, consider the lungless frog:

“Barboroula kalimantanensis lives in cold, fast-flowing water, they noted, so loss of lungs might be an adaptation to a combination of factors: a higher oxygen environment, the species's presumed low metabolic rate, severe flattening of their bodies that increases the surface area of their skin, and selection for negative buoyancy--meaning that the frogs would rather sink than float.”


http://www.scienceda...80407123824.htm

Since the frog lacks lungs or gills, it depends entirely on cutaneous respiration to survive. This is a fairly major physical change, definitely beyond the level of microevolution.

#4 bobabelever

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:43 PM

The kind of adaptations required for an animal to go from freshwater to saltwater, or from the tropics to the arctic, are on the level of macroevolution. And I have yet to meet a creationist that accepts macroevolution as a real process.

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No they're not. It doesn't take long on the internet to find very recent examples of life adapting from saltwater to freshwater and vice versa, here's just one example of a site:
http://www.suite101....er-lakes-a53590
(it even mentions your beloved Baikal seals)

As an example of the adaptations I’m taking about, consider the lungless frog:
http://www.scienceda...80407123824.htm

Since the frog lacks lungs or gills, it depends entirely on cutaneous respiration to survive. This is a fairly major physical change, definitely beyond the level of microevolution.

So we have a lungless frog, OK. Do we have any evidence that particular species once had lungs? I'm guessing that the answer is "No". So it is only imagination that says this species actually had lungs in the unknown past.

I wonder, did any of the ladies on the expedition try kissing the frog? ;) :)

#5 jason777

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:51 PM

The kind of adaptations required for an animal to go from freshwater to saltwater, or from the tropics to the arctic, are on the level of macroevolution. And I have yet to meet a creationist that accepts macroevolution as a real process.


Hi Isabella,

You might find this strange, but saltwater fish have a hard time expelling salt from their system and it is recommended to lower the specific gravity of aquarium water to 1.010 or lower for sick fish so they don't have to fight salt and disease or parasites at the same time. It is likely that most or even all fish were freshwater or brackish to start with. Many fish, including african chichlids, readily adapt to saltwater if it is done slowly over a period of 5-7 days.

No speciation is necessary in this acclimation process that i'm aware of.

Saltwater invertebrates, on the other hand, are highly sensitive to changes in salinity. I've seen shrimp and hermit crabs drop dead within minutes with a S.G. of 1.015. Perhaps thats why 95% of the fossil record is saltwater invertebrates. LOL

Since the frog lacks lungs or gills, it depends entirely on cutaneous respiration to survive. This is a fairly major physical change, definitely beyond the level of microevolution.


Who saw it loose it's lungs? If it did, shouldn't there be vestigal lung remnants? Cavefish and other examples still have eye sockets. I'd be impressed if someone saw a worm grow lungs, but loosing a function isn't going to put humpty dumpty back together again.


Thanks.

#6 Isabella

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 04:37 PM

No they're not. It doesn't take long on the internet to find very recent examples of life adapting from saltwater to freshwater and vice versa, here's just one example of a site:
http://www.suite101....er-lakes-a53590
(it even mentions your beloved Baikal seals)

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Some animals are much more adaptable than others. Fish and seals have closed circulatory systems, which allows for better internal solute regulation. Not all aquatic animals have blood and kidneys.

Also, most adaptation doesn’t arise within a single generation. All of the events described in the article are gradual processes. If salinity increases or decreases over several generations, animals have time to adapt. But in the case of the flood, the change would have occurred within a matter of days. Of course, there will always be exceptions. I’m sure there are cases where a rapid change forced a saltwater species to adapt to freshwater or vice versa. But these cases are not the norm.

So we have a lungless frog, OK. Do we have any evidence that particular species once had lungs? I'm guessing that the answer is "No". So it is only imagination that says this species actually had lungs in the unknown past.

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Who saw it loose it's lungs? If it did, shouldn't there be vestigal lung remnants? Cavefish and other examples still have eye sockets. I'd be impressed if someone saw a worm grow lungs, but loosing a function isn't going to put humpty dumpty back together again.

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I’m not sure whether the frog has remnants of lungs. My point is that without lungs or gills, there is no way the animal could survive a flood. It requires cold, fast moving water to meet its oxygen requirement. And as the article says, it is not buoyant: it will sink to the bottom. The bottom is where oxygen will be lowest. In fact, floodwater tends to turn anoxic when vegetation (ie. forests covered by the flood) decomposes.

Saltwater invertebrates, on the other hand, are highly sensitive to changes in salinity. I've seen shrimp and hermit crabs drop dead within minutes with a S.G. of 1.015. Perhaps thats why 95% of the fossil record is saltwater invertebrates. LOL

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I’ve witnessed this as well. Putting a starfish under a running tap kills it within seconds. So how did any marine invertebrates survive the flood?

#7 JoshuaJacob

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 12:36 AM

Maybe that's why We don't see starfish in freshwater. I'm not sure there is a clear answer as to what was in the water before the flood. Most likely saltwater since freshwater is found on land and comes from a lot of mountain streams and waterfalls on to rivers. Not everything will survive being in saltwater to freshwater and that's probably why we don't find some marine creatures in freshwater that are in saltwater, because they die.

#8 jason777

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 08:53 AM

I’ve witnessed this as well. Putting a starfish under a running tap kills it within seconds. So how did any marine invertebrates survive the flood?


Any saltwater organism near the fountains of the great deep would die quickly because of osmosis.

A freshwater fish put in salt water would quickly lose water from its cells, with no way for it to be replaced, and perish.
The cells in a saltwater fish put in freshwater would quickly absorb water from the environment, and with no way to eliminate it, the cells would swell, burst and kill the fish.


Organisms hundreds of miles away would have weeks even months to slowly acclimate to changing water parameters. We would predict that deep water organisms would be hit the hardest because saltwater is heavier and would sink to the bottom. There are 10 known orders of trilobites which contain up to 20,000 different species. Coincidentally, they are found at the bottom of the geologic column.

Is there evidence that the oceans underwent a massive increase in salinity? If the oceans started out as freshwater, as most scientists agree, then the empirical rate that minerals and salt are being deposited into the ocean gives it a maxium age of only 62 million years. If your a gradualist or creationist, you must accept that the oceans underwent a massive parameter change in a short amount of time.



Enjoy.

#9 Greasy Joe

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 02:18 PM

Out of curiosity, how long was the flood?... or how long was everything submerged?

#10 MamaElephant

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 06:04 PM

I believe the duration of the flood was 10 and a half months of 30 days each, or 314 days. The water was rising for the first 40 days and started to recede after 150 days. This was my own calculation based on the scriptures.

Good post Jason.

My Synopsis: It is likely that the water in the ocean had less salt before the flood, as volcanic activity and erosion during the flood would have raised the salt levels.

Many of today's marine organisms are able to survive large changes in salinity. Star fish will tolerate water with only 16-18% of the normal concentration of sea salt indefinitely.

A creationist model of natural selection suggests successive generations of organisms contain less DNA information than their ancestors, as this is the type of natural selection that we see happening before our eyes today.

Most families of fish contain both fresh and saltwater species. This suggests that the ability to tolerate large ranges of salinity was present in most fish at the time of the flood. Specialization through natural selection may have resulted in the loss of this ability in most fish since then. Hybrids of Trout and Salmon seem to support this idea.

The salinity of the water would have been a gradual change, which the majority of fish can survive today, allowing major aquariums to display a wide variety of fish together, including some salt water and freshwater fish.

There is also a possibility that in some small sections the freshwater remained sitting on top of the salt water, which is possible for extended periods but let's not forget no one ever said that all of these creatures survived, the fossil record testifies to the massive destruction of marine life.

creation.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter14.pdf

#11 Isabella

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 03:19 PM

I was careful to use the term “aquatic organisms” in my original post, because the vast majority of animals are invertebrates, not fish. I have no doubt that some fish can adjust to a gradual change in salinity, however most invertebrates cannot. And salinity is only one of many factors. Oxygen is another major one, especially for animals that are benthic or sessile and cannot reach the oxygenated waters near the surface. Then there’s the problem of feeding. If an animal eats micro organisms (like plankton) or other small particles, the water needs to contain a sufficient concentration of the food source. For an animal like a barnacle, the diluted seawater and virtual absence of tides could potentially result in starvation.

The reason I brought up fish and mammals has to do more with distribution than it does adaptation. Fish and aquatic mammals can move around and cover large distances. It would be reasonable to assume that during the flood, the fish would be swimming rather than floating in the same spot for the whole time. This would result in a more or less random distribution of fish in a particular region. Yet what we see is a very specific distribution of fish. For example, lake Malawi in Africa contains several hundred species of cichlid. Many of these are endemic to the lake, which means they aren’t found anywhere else in the world.

#12 MamaElephant

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 03:57 PM

Barnacles can also adapt to water with much less salinity than what they are used to. There are marine organisms that are not fish that have both fresh and salt water varieties within a kind. It is also possible that they used to have this variety but it has since been lost. It didn't take all of a type of fish to survive, just enough to continue reproduction.

I was careful to use the term “aquatic organisms” in my original post, because the vast majority of animals are invertebrates, not fish. I have no doubt that some fish can adjust to a gradual change in salinity, however most invertebrates cannot. And salinity is only one of many factors. Oxygen is another major one, especially for animals that are benthic or sessile and cannot reach the oxygenated waters near the surface. Then there’s the problem of feeding. If an animal eats micro organisms (like plankton) or other small particles, the water needs to contain a sufficient concentration of the food source. For an animal like a barnacle, the diluted seawater and virtual absence of tides could potentially result in starvation.

The reason I brought up fish and mammals has to do more with distribution than it does adaptation. Fish and aquatic mammals can move around and cover large distances. It would be reasonable to assume that during the flood, the fish would be swimming rather than floating in the same spot for the whole time. This would result in a more or less random distribution of fish in a particular region. Yet what we see is a very specific distribution of fish. For example, lake Malawi in Africa contains several hundred species of cichlid. Many of these are endemic to the lake, which means they aren’t found anywhere else in the world.

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I know nothing specific about this species of fish and did not research it, but these questions come to mind when looking for an explanation. Do we have evidence that this specific species of fish were there for thousands (in YE time) or millions (in OE time) of years? Do we have evidence that these fish have never been anywhere else? It could be that this is the only area that the cichlid survived, or it could be that there were no cichlid before the flood at all and they are a new species?

#13 Isabella

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:12 PM

Sorry for the delay in this response, I’ve been very busy lately.

Barnacles can also adapt to water with much less salinity than what they are used to. There are marine organisms that are not fish that have both fresh and salt water varieties within a kind. It is also possible that they used to have this variety but it has since been lost.

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I have no idea how well barnacles can deal with changes in salinity. I brought them up because they’re an example of a sessile animal. If an animal’s habitat is altered to the point where it no longer provides necessary resources, the animal will die. This is especially true to sessile animals, because they are incapable of looking for resources elsewhere. This would also be true for plants. If a certain type of shallow water seaweed can’t grow deeper than 5m below the surface (due to limited sunlight), it’s not going to survive a flood which raises the level of the ocean. And if the plants go extinct, so do any animals that depend on them for food or shelter.

It didn't take all of a type of fish to survive, just enough to continue reproduction.

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If a population is significantly reduced by unfavourable flood conditions and spread out by the increase in water and removal of terrestrial boundaries that formerly created lakes, ponds, ect... what do you think the chances are that these individuals will find each other and mate? I think this would be highly unlikely, especially if they mate by broadcast spawning (releasing gametes into the water).
The exception to this would be organisms that live in groups or colonies, assuming they were able to stick together.

I know nothing specific about this species of fish and did not research it, but these questions come to mind when looking for an explanation. Do we have evidence that this specific species of fish were there for thousands (in YE time) or millions (in OE time) of years?

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There is evidence for the age of the lake, but geology and geography are not subjects I’ve studied so I'm really not the one to ask.

Do we have evidence that these fish have never been anywhere else? It could be that this is the only area that the cichlid survived, or it could be that there were no cichlid before the flood at all and they are a new species?

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There are cichlids elsewhere in the world, but certain species of cichlid are endemic to that particular lake. It seems unlikely that a flood would localize so many similar species of fish in one lake, and nowhere else.
When you say that they could be a new species which showed up after the flood, does that mean you accept macroevolution?

#14 MamaElephant

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:46 PM

When you say that they could be a new species which showed up after the flood, does that mean you accept macroevolution?

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I accept that God created a limited number of kinds and that these animals then became many different species. For example, Noah only needed to have two animals of the bear kind on the ark... all of the genetic information necessary for the many species of bears we see today was present within these two animals.

#15 Isabella

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 12:20 PM

I accept that God created a limited number of kinds and that these animals then became many different species. For example, Noah only needed to have two animals of the bear kind on the ark... all of the genetic information necessary for the many species of bears we see today was present within these two animals.

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So you're ok with the idea of speciation then? One species giving rise to another over time?

#16 MamaElephant

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 06:32 PM

So you're ok with the idea of speciation then? One species giving rise to another over time?

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Pretty much.

http://creationwiki.org/Baraminology

Holobaramin (holo-, from the Greek ὅλος, holos for "whole") is an entire group of living and/or extinct forms of life understood to share genetic relationship by common ancestry.






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