Marine life is concerned with the plants, animals and other organisms that live in the ocean. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather than on taxonomy. For this reason marine life encompasses not only organisms that can only live in a marine environment, but also those whose lives revolve around the sea.
At a fundamental level, marine life helps determine the very nature of our planet. Marine organisms produce much of the oxygen we breathe and probably help regulate the earth's climate. Shorelines are in part shaped and protected by marine life, and some marine organisms even help create new land.
Marine biology covers a great deal, from the microscopic, including plankton and phytoplankton, which can be as small as 0.02 micrometres and are both hugely important as the primary producers of the sea, to the huge cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) which reach up to a reported 33 metres (109 feet) in length in the case of the blue whale.
The oceanic whitetip shark, Carcharhinus longimanus, is a large pelagicshark of tropical and warm temperate seas. It is a stocky shark, most notable for its long, white tipped rounded fins.
This aggressive but slow-moving fish dominates feeding frenzies, and has attacked more humans than all other shark species combined — it is a notable danger to survivors of oceanic ship wrecks and downed aircraft. Recent studies have shown that its numbers are in steep decline — its large fins are highly valued as the chief ingredient of shark-fin soup and, as with other shark species, the oceanic whitetip faces mounting pressure from fishing throughout its range.
The oceanic whitetip shark was first described by naturalist Rene Primevere Lesson in his account of observations made during Louis Duperrey's 1822–1825 circumnavigation of the world on the corvette Coquille. Lesson described two specimens found in the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia, and named the shark Squalus maou after a Polynesian word for "shark". However, Lesson's description and name were forgotten.
Boulenger was the only son of Gustave Boulenger, a Belgian public notary, and Juliette Piérart de Valenciennes. He graduated in 1876 from the Free University in Brussels with a degree in natural sciences and worked for a while at the Museum of Natural History of Brussels as an assistant naturalist studying amphibians, reptiles, and fishes. He also made frequent visits during this time to the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris and the British Museum in London.
In 1880, he was invited to work at the Natural History Museum by Dr. Albert C. L. G. Günther and assigned to the task of cataloguing the amphibians in the collection. His position in the British Museum meant that he had to be a civil servant of the British Empire, and so became a naturalized British subject. In 1882 he became a first-class assistant in the Department of Zoology and remained in that position until his retirement in 1920.
The Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a large sea turtle, the only member of the genus Chelonia (Brongniart, 1800). This turtle grows to 1-1.5 m in length, and can weigh 200 kg, making it the largest of the hard-shelled turtles. Its distribution extends throughout tropical, subtropical and some warmer temperate waters. Females lay their eggs on traditional nesting beaches, and the turtles often bask in the sand to warm their ectothermic bodies, but otherwise this species is entirely marine.