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Algae are alive, aquatic organisms that implement photosynthesis (absorbing solar energy and carbon dioxide for energy). Algae take many forms in the ocean, from towering Kelp in the luscious and lively sea forests to microscopic phytoplankton and even harmful (sometimes lethal) algal blooms.
Small pelagic fish, such as sardines, herrings, and anchovys, are not assured much protection in the open, predator-brimming sea. This is why small fish form these miraculous, spherical Bait Balls. In greater numbers, the likelihood of individual survival skyrockets.
Barnacles are non-mobile, clingy crustaceans. These arthropods are related to crabs, octopuses, and shrimp. However, they certainly don't resemble their relatives due to their calciferous outer shell, where they constantly dwell aside from feeding.
Bycatch refers to non-target marine species' discard or unintended death due to accidental interaction with fishing gear. Bycatch significantly contributes to the decimation of critical marine species, and laws are implemented to prevent such instances.
Observable collections of water crystals, Clouds are pretty miraculous if you contemplate their essential role in the water cycle, weather patterns, and overall flow of our planet. Although seemingly the same, there are ten different types of clouds categorised into three distinct levels.
Diving allows humans to submerge and explore underwater phenomena; the sport is a golden ticket to experiencing the ocean's wonders. There are two main diving categories: freediving and scuba. Scuba also has various types of diving, such as night, wreck, technical, ice, research, and drift diving.
A mythical attraction of the ancient greeks, beloved across cultures and nations and praised for their impressive intelligence and complex communication. Dolphins are famed for their wits and are most cherished for their extraordinary interactions with and interest towards humans.
There are three general types of fish. Bony fishes (including sea horses, angelfish, and blue tangs, to name a few) are fish with bones for skeletons. As the name suggests, Jawless fishes (lampreys and hagfish) are without jaws. Lastly, Cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays, and skates) comprise cartilage skeletons rather than bone.
With no scuba-generated bubbles or intimidating and cumbersome equipment to startle sea life, freediving grants humans the freedom to covertly explore the underwater world. Freediving is a dynamic sport, challenging the body to complete long breath holds and endure pressures of great depths.
Bright white feathers accentuated by contrasting black wings and yellow heads, Gannets have an eye-catching disposition. However, they are most cherished for their presence in the great annual sardine run. Vivaciously propelling themselves through the sea, they are unexpectedly incredible ocean predators.
Also called Crepuscular rays or sunbeams, God Rays occur when sunlight directly hits the ocean at a precise angle. God Rays gleam through particularly murky, particle-filled, or krill-crowded oceans, generating a divine lighting effect through the high seas.
Herring are small-pelagic, forage fish that perform coordinated schooling behaviour. Their large-scale winter migrations are an essential component of marine food webs around the globe. To illustrate, herring sustains marine mammals (seals, whales, dolphins, etc.), large fish, billfish and sharks (tuna, salmon, cod), sea birds, and humans.
Hooks are often seen stuck in the mouths of many fishes and sharks. Although some claim that they will eventually rust and disintegrate, causing no harm to the animal, the hooks can cause narcosis, and some take up to 50 years to dissolve or dislodge.
The juvenile phase can be conceptualised as the growth phase or time before adulthood. The differentiation between juveniles and adults is species-specific but always relies on the age at which sexual maturity is achieved.
Interchangeable with algae or seaweed, Kelp is an underrated yet essential component of all marine ecosystems. Kelp is crucial to humans through reducing wave action, carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation, and, as a growing industry, to food and job security.
Krill are tiny organisms that make up a sizable chunk of the marine food chain base. They are minuscule, shrimp-like crustaceans that feed on phytoplankton and sustain many ocean species, including baleen whales, seabirds, penguins, seals, and some fish.
Mountains take millions of years to form. Thus, it is hard for humans to appreciate or comprehend their development. They are created from the colliding earth's techtonic plates, which cause the earth's crust to clash and rise into these majestic structures.
Mussel banks are associated with fish abundance. However, mussels are also notorious for being easily dispersed and becoming invasive. Mussel banks are created by spatfall, a mass dispersal of mussel larvae that rapidly latches to varying seafloor substrates, causing disruptive invasions.
Lost or discarded fishing gear, or ghost fishing gear, account for ten per cent of today's ocean pollution. Nets threaten marine life by instigating harmful ingestion, environmental deterioration, and lethal entanglements. Sadly, scientists estimate that there are well over 600,000 tonnes of ghost nets in the sea.
Orcas, or killer whales, are toothed whales, part of the dolphin family. Their popularity lies in their finesse and brilliant artistry of the hunt. Their presence is unmistakable owing to their divergent black-and-white colouration, which is ever so prominent in rich mythologies and native cultures.
Remoras are a species of ray-finned fishes that dwell in open seas and are notorious for occupying bizarre yet aggravating environments. For instance, remoras are often spotted living inside sharks' mouths, attaching to vessels, and even latching onto the bellies of scuba divers.
Although neither mighty nor thrilling on an individual scale, Sardines are behind some of the most grandiose underwater phenomena. When sardines migrate and display schooling behaviour, massive bait balls assemble and attract predators, instituting remarkable underwater encounters.
The ocean floor is a strikingly vibrant environment. Filled with outlandish creatures, an entire marine species category (Benthos) is dedicated to those who call the seafloor home, including urchins, sea stars, anemones, sea squirts, slugs, corals, sea grasses, etc.
Seals are part of the pinniped family, comprising walruses, sea otters, and sea lions. They carry an esteemed reputation as the playful puppies of the ocean. Moreover, seals make up the foundation of Selkie Celtic folklore and are distinguished fauna in sea mythology.
Shallow environments are especially appealing near the intertidal zone during low tide. Many (usually submerged) species are exposed during powerful low tides, teeming with life and allure on shore.
Sharks are fishes part of the Chondrichthyes (skate, shark, and ray) family. More than 500 species of sharks occupy waters worldwide. Sharks take many different shapes, forms, and ecosystem roles. However, no matter the species, it is unquestionable that sharks are vital indicators and contributors to ocean health.
There is a subtle difference between schools and shoals of fish. While a shoal of fish can be used to interpret any miscellaneous grouping of fish, schooling is much more sophisticated. Schooling describes harmonious fish's highly dynamic, organised, and synchronal movements.
Sting Rays are pancake-shaped, cartilaginous fishes, similar to sharks. Primarily dwelling on the sea floor, sting rays prefer warm temperate seas and occasionally inhabit colder waters. When swimming, they appear to be flying through the ocean, wavering their entire bodies with angelic grace.
The ocean is divided into layers and zones. There are generally three zones and seven layers. The ocean's surface lies in the Euphotic Zone and the Epipelagic layer, where sunlight permeates and the sea merges with other earthly elements (wind, freshwater, etc.).
These spiny creatures are members of the echinoderm family (echinoderm meaning 'rough skin'). Sea urchins fill a vital role in the trophic web. They feed on kelp to prevent overpacked sea forests, and they are nutritional staples for otters, lobsters, fish, sea stars, and birds.
Marine vessels are one of many anthropogenic impacts that carry an array of impacts in and of themselves. For example, ships emit waste into the sea, initiating algal blooms and more acidic oceans. In addition to plastic and chemical pollution, vessels contribute to sound pollution, which disrupts marine animal communication, hunting, and migration behaviours.
Waves occur due to a combination of various factors, including wind energy transfer, moon cycles, seabed topography, earth's gravity, currents, rainfall, and the sun's gravitational pull. There are four main categories of waves, with the most giant recorded wave cashing in at over 500 metres.
Whales are the largest mammals on earth, with some species weighing up to 200 tonnes. They radiate charisma, are highly migratory and are skillfully social. Near extinct, many populations have recovered, are on the rise, and serve as an inspiring example of successful conservation efforts.
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