U.S. CREATES THE
On July 15, 2006,
President Bush designated the 1,400 mile-long Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands as
a national monument, making this sanctuary
the largest protected marine sanctuary in the world!
single-largest act of ocean conservation in history.
It’s a large milestone”
Planet Earth is a water
planet. Earth's ocean is one great connected body of water that covers
more than 70% of the planet's surface and contains 97% of all water on the
Earth. Most of the rest of the water is frozen in glaciers and icecaps,
and the remainder is in the atmosphere, underground, and in streams, rivers and
lakes. We could not live without water.
Every natural element can be
found in the ocean. Approximately 3˝% of ocean water is made up of
salts, most of which is the same as our ordinary table salt. The salts
come from the wearing away of rocks, from underwater springs and from material
that explodes from volcanoes and falls from the atmosphere. As water
evaporates from the ocean, salts are left. Then precipitation (rain) returns
fresh water to the ocean. At
the equator there is a greater amount of fresh rainwater than there is
evaporation from the ocean; therefore, the ocean water is less salty at the
equator. Ocean water is also less salty where fresh water from rivers
enters the ocean.
The ocean provides foods from
plants and animals, energy,
transportation, medicine, minerals and natural resources, many products, weather systems, climate, rainfall from ocean
evaporation, tidal power, and oxygen.
The ocean...is the memory of
the global climate system and the key to climate variability (NOAA report on
Earth Observation Summit 2004). The ocean and the atmosphere
interact upon each other, creating a "weather machine" which affects
climates and global weather. Far more
heat/energy is stored in the ocean than in the atmosphere. Ocean currents
help to balance and distribute this heat/energy around the planet and regulate
temperatures. Ocean currents are like giant rivers. They move both
horizontally and vertically. Surface circulation is regulated by winds and
the rotation of Earth, and deeper circulation (thermohaline circulation) is a
function of density differences in water masses. The colder, saltier
waters in polar regions are heavier and sink to the bottom, and the warmer
waters near the equator are less salty and heavy and gradually flow toward the
surface. Thermal energy from solar heat and the ocean currents can be
converted to electricity and could be utilized as an important alternate source
Once a water mass sinks below
the surface of the ocean, it can no longer interact with the atmosphere.
The oxygen contained in the water mass very slowly dissolves or is used in the
oxidization of dead organic matter. Oceanographers can estimate the length
of time the water mass has been away from the surface by analyzing the oxygen
content. Through the process, the "oldest" water found has been
in the deep North Pacific region, estimated to be 1,500 years old!
There is incredible
biodiversity of life in the ocean; in fact, more plant and animal life is found in
the ocean than on land. Nearly half the Earth's major animal groups live only in the sea.
Marine plants and plantlike organisms
are found where sunlight can penetrate the water for photosynthesis to occur, so
they are nearer the surface. There are great underwater forests of
Giant Kelp and vast coral reef ecosystems in the ocean which a tremendous amount of
species depend upon for habitat and food sources. Oceans and
marine life consume huge amounts of carbon dioxide, and more oxygen is produced
and released through oceanic photosynthesis than
by all the earth's terrestrial (land) plants and forests combined.
As the waters of the ocean are in constant movement,
this promotes a whole
complex food cycle as various nutrients are carried by currents and cycled through the
water. Bits and pieces of organisms and matter rain down through the water as they
sink to the bottom. As they move through the water, living organisms and
animals consume them. Many nutrients that reach the bottom are consumed by
the bottom dwellers. In the deepest depths of the ocean and in trenches,
there are many creatures we haven't discovered yet. In certain areas of the ocean, upwelling occurs where
the colder, deeper waters full of nutrients are carried upwards. These
areas support a great abundance of life.
About 13,000 different species of fish live in the ocean. Some marine mammals live
their whole lives in the ocean (such as whales and porpoises) and others can
spend time in the ocean or on land (such as sea lions and seals).
Did you know that the polar bear is considered to be a marine mammal?
Most of the sea animals live
in the surface waters where there is an abundance of food. But there are
some very unique lifeforms in the deepest parts of the ocean. Sunlight
cannot penetrate deep into the ocean, so some of the animals don't have
eyes. They have developed other senses to help them find their way around
and to enable them to obtain food. Although there is no sunlight in the
deep ocean, there is a source of light. It is called bioluminescence and
this is caused by chemical reactions within certain organisms. Other unusual life in the deepest parts of the ocean have
recently been discovered, existing and flourishing around deep ocean vents which
emit heat from within the planet at temperatures we believed would kill all
Humans have caused great
damage to the oceans ecosystems and inhabitants. Many areas have been
severely polluted, especially from industrial wastes and sewage near
coasts, and oil spills and dumping of wastes in the ocean. Recent
studies have shown that excessive carbon in the atmosphere from the burning of
fossil fuels has dramatically increased the acidity of the Earth's oceans.
This ocean acidification is threatening the oceans' ecosystems, sea creatures
and their food supplies. Also, the continued depletion of the Ozone Layer
in the upper atmosphere could lead to a dramatic decline in the growth of the
world's oceanic Plankton, which is the basis of most marine food chains. In addition, humans
have overfished certain species to the point of endangering the survival of
those species. Harmful fishing methods and mining practices continue
to destroy underwater ecosystems.
Human Impact on Oceans)
The living ocean has been the
for planet Earth for over 3 billion years. We are just beginning to
ocean, its processes, and life within it. We do know that, without the
ocean there could be no life on Earth.
WORLD OCEAN DAY IS JUNE 8, 2006
Learn about all the great things that happened in
2005 to help improve the health of the ocean. Download World Ocean Day
2006 materials and resources for this year's celebration from The Ocean
Project site. Tell The Ocean Project what plans you have for World
Ocean Day. You don't have to live by the ocean to celebrate World
Ocean Day. You can participate in activities that relate to the ocean.
Suggestions for activities are provided on the site. Get your school
and community involved.
Click on Ocean Resource Center for links to lots of helps and information.
OF OCEANS AND TRIBUTARY SEAS
SAVING OUR LIVING SEAS
The ocean is comprised of vast "dynamic biomes that
are among the richest and most productive ecosystems on Earth." As we
continue to degrade the health of the ocean and marine habitat, we risk
extinction of species and destruction of the functions and life-sustaining
processes of Earth's natural systems.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SAVE THE OCEANS (Ocean
The Ocean Alliance is dedicated to the conservation of
whales and their ocean environment through research and education.
Find out more about whales on our Whales page.
Marine scientists answer questions on marine invertebrates (which have no spinal column; such as jellyfish, worms, shrimp, octopus, etc.) and vertebrates
(which have a spinal column; such as fishes, mammals, reptiles and birds).
Scientists explain what marine biologists do, and answer questions on marine ecology, oceanography, hydrothermal vents and deep sea animals, biodiversity and marine pollution.
The Sustainable Seas Expeditions is a 5-year
project which will focus on the 12 marine sanctuaries designated and protected by the
United States government, in an underwater exploration study to understand the ocean and its diverse ecosystems.
||Dive in and take the "Virtual Tour" of the
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary - the largest protected marine area in the
world. You won't need your wetsuit to explore the undersea life on this tour.
Click on "Inside:
Kelp Forest" (use the arrows to read information), click on Launch Deepworker and
descend to the ocean floor in a one-person submarine (arrow down to descend).
Gallery." Learn about the seaweeds, invertebrates, fishes, birds, and
mammals in the sanctuaries.
offers descriptions for the first 4 of the 12 sanctuaries to be visited by the
expeditions: Channel Islands, Cordell Bank, Gulf of the Farallones,
and Monterey Bay.
||In "National Marine
Sanctuaries Photo Gallery" you will see sights generally only experienced by
SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF
OCEANOGRAPHY (SIO Explorer Expedition Discoveries)
about 10 percent of the ocean floor has been comprehensively mapped using
modern sonar. There is still much to discover beneath the world's oceans,
which cover 140 million square miles, or 72 percent of the Earth's surface."
expeditions of Scripps' voyages of discovery as they take
sonar readings and create
breathtaking computer images of towering seamounts, deep canyons and wide
plains. "It's a geologist's paradise down
( See more details and
brief description of site )
IMPACT ON OCEANS -
OUR GLOBAL GARBAGE DUMP!
of Marine Life
Deterioration of the Ocean's Ecosystems
pictures and videos of
harm caused by humans
The information on our Human Impact page will continually change, just
as our impact on our ocean ecosystems changes.
"We must view the oceans in a new way -- not as an infinite and
inexhaustible resource but as a fragile web of life that is being damaged by
"For centuries we have viewed our oceans as playgrounds, fish factories, town dumps, sewers, and oil and gas patches --
when in fact they comprise a living breathing organism that makes all life on this planet possible."
FOR MARINE CONSERVATION (renamed The Ocean Conservancy)
Learn about marine
ecosystem and species protection. Read about sealife that die each
year due to entanglement in plastic debris. How green is your
school? - get an environmental report card. Find out where you can
participate in a water cleanup activity. Scroll through their
site map to find information, facts, photos, learning activities and
Ocean Facts: The Diversity of Marine Life, Human Impacts, Economic
Contributions, The Stratton Commission, Our Planet's Life Support System
COUSTEAU SOCIETY LINKS
MARINE MAMMAL LABORATORY
Research programs, education web, ecosystems,
online library, resource links, search function.
OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION - U.S. Dept of Commerce
"NOAA's Mission is to describe and predict changes in the Earth's environment, and conserve and wisely manage the Nation's
coastal and marine resources."
- Marine Conservation Society / FishOnline.org
Types described: Beam trawl, Demersal otter trawl,
Multi-rig trawl, Dive-caught, Dredging, Drift net, Fish attraction devices,
Fish farming, Gill or fixed nets, Handline, Jigging, Trolling,
Hand-gathering / picking / collection, Harpoon, Hydraulic dredges,
Industrial fishing, Long-lining, Pelagic trawl, Pole and line, Pots /
creels, Purse seining, Seine netting, Trap / nets, Use of explosives or
HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION
Take the Voyage to Puna Ridge 3 miles under the sea. Then
click on the
M and M candy, read about visible light in the ocean, and click on each of the 4 M and M's
(red, yellow, green, blue) and see what happens. Learn about light, sound, biology,
rocks, volcanic eruptions, latitude/longitude and sonar. Imagine the immense
biodiversity of life in the oceans, and all the species that have not been discovered yet.
Look at a globe or world map and see how much of our Earth is covered by oceans.
Click on subjects in the list in the frame on the left side of the page.
DIVE AND DISCOVER
- Expeditions to the sea floor
Plankton Ecology, Marine Biology and Biological
METEOROLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY COMMAND - NEPTUNE'S WEB
Resources (List of links, newsletter, calendar of ocean events)
Background (Briefing Book - overviews of issues, Related Background
The Ocean Report
- Listen to special reports on Radio Voyager Network
- Marine science information. Ask a Marine Scientist has lots of
questions already answered for you. In OceanInfo, understanding
tides is made easy with some great graphics. Interesting facts can
also be found in Records (biggest, smallest, fastest, deepest).
MARINE MAMMAL CENTER
- Conservation of marine
mammals and ocean habitat. The Marine Mammal Center rescues hundreds of injured, sick and orphaned marine mammals every year along 600
miles of northern and central California coastline. The Center uniquely combines its rehabilitation program
with scientific discovery and education programs.
2000 VOYAGE TO THE DEEP
you imagine organisms that live in total darkness, thriving on toxic
chemicals in super-hot water 235°F, under crushing pressure 250 times the
pressure we feel on land? Only in the movies? Read on...
Scientists voyage to hydrothermal vents deep in the ocean to
study these bizarre ecosystems and discover things which could benefit
humanity. Learn why water 750°F does
not boil (Seafloor Geology). See the most heat-tolerant animal on Earth (Creature Features).
Read about chemosynthesis (Toxic Chemistry).
Take a fly-through tour of the Ashes vent field (high temperature
hydrothermal vent site)
Also read the ABC
News Special Report
If you live 5 miles down in the ocean depths there is not much need for
eyes, but you need other senses to get around and find food to
survive. Some animals in the
ocean have specialized organs which produce light through chemical
reactions. This light produced from within organisms is called bioluminescence.
Certain colors of this light serve various functions. Some colors
attract prey, others repel predators and scare them away, and some colors
of light cannot be seen by other animals, yet light the way in the
blackness of the deep ocean for the bioluminescent animal. Changing
the colors of luminescence can serve as camouflage, and certain species
can send coded messages to others of their species. Satellites use oceanic
luminescence to estimate the amount of biomass (living matter) in various
regions of the ocean. (Scroll down the page for information, then click on
the subjects on the left side of page, such as Myths and Facts, Photos,
IS AN ALGAE BLOOM?
The biggest one ever measured was roughly the size of New Jersey!
(Ecological Society of
OF GIANT KELP - Dive into our
GALLERY - Photos and video clips (watch an
FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION
Click on Questions at top for information on frequently asked questions.
Links below provide information on coral, fish, invertebrates, marine
mammals, red tide, seagrasses, and sea turtles.
UNDERSEA YELLOWSTONES - Should Wilderness Protection Stop at Land's End?
Directory of valuable career information links to careers in Oceanography,
Marine Science & Marine Biology
- Conical shaped
mountains under the sea, known as hotspots. The Hawaiian Islands
were formed from a hotspot. Learn more about them and the strange
diversity of sealife found around ancient extinct volcanos.
- Mountains of the Underworld (8/31/00)
Seamounts Marine Reserve
- Advancing ocean protection and conservation.
Earth is a water
planet. Click on U.S. map to find links to a sea of resources.
- Let us know about your group efforts to clean our water sources
YOU CAN HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
For those of you who live around coastal and waterway areas,
how you can help in your community's cleanup efforts.
Cleaning up our own environment helps clean up the global environment!
Remember: Always use caution and good sense when around
SPILLS AND WILDLIFE REHABILITATION
Links provided by University of California (UC
NOAA invites you to "view the waves and flying spray, rocky shores
and sandy beaches, marshes and mangroves, seaside villages and great port
cities" of America's coastlines. (Click on the various geographical
areas in right frame and then on pages in collections. For larger
pictures of small images, click on the small images.)
- Gettin' wet on the net. Surf reports, forecasts and live cams
around the world.
GUIDE - Fish Choices from Environmental Defense
Lists of fish that generally
come from environmentally sound sources, and fish that you should avoid
GUIDE - California Academy of Sciences
suggests ways you can help conserve the ocean's resources through sensible
seafood choices. Includes lots of facts about harmful fishing,
overfishing, fishstock depletion, industry practices, fish to avoid, and
fish you should choose.
to see someone that needs to go to Fish Overeaters Anonymous!
Resource links to learn all about whales.
What are some
differences between dolphins and porpoises?
Whales, dolphins and porpoises are in the same scientific group, Cetacea.
Education, games, fun
BLUE BUS - Kid's Corner
Get on the Big Blue Bus and take
a trip to Canadian Waters to visit with Neptune, Puffy the Pollution Slayer,
Billy the Bass, Maximus Octopus, Dolly Varden, William Whitefish, Judge
Jellyfish, and other creatures. Lots of stories, facts, quiz
questions, and activities as you explore the watery world. (Dept of
Fisheries and Oceans, Canada)
"Most of the marine animals we're familiar with live in the upper 650 feet
of the ocean's surface. Between 650 and 6500 feet lies the mesopelagic zone,
one of the least-known environments on Earth. Here, the waters are dark, the
water pressure extreme, and many of the animals utterly bizarre. "
||- Bruce Robison,
Ph.D., Senior Scientist
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
mesopelagic zone is considered the "midwater" range. Remotely operated
submersible vehicles are used to explore these dark waters as the water
pressure is too extreme for humans in SCUBA gear.
never reaches the deepest depths of the ocean where super hot vents spew
out caustic gases from within the Earth.
What could possibly survive down here?
Click on this
Black Smoker to find