- 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 only lives 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 Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), at 1.3 metres (3 ft 9 in) tall and 32 kilograms in mass, is the tallest and heaviest of all penguins. It is the only penguin that breeds during the winter in Antarctica. Emperor Penguins eat mainly crustaceans (such as krill) but also occasionally indulge in small fish and squid. In the wild, Emperor Penguins typically live for 20 years, but some records indicate a maximum lifespan of around 40 years. The Emperor Penguin should not be confused with the King Penguin or the Royal Penguin.
Adults average about 1.3 metres (3 ft 9 in) and weigh 30 kilograms (75 lb) or more. The head and wings are black, the abdomen white, back bluish grey, and the bill is purplish pink. On the sides of the neck, there are two golden circular stripes.
Like the King Penguin counterpart, a male Emperor Penguin has an abdominal fold, the "brood pouch", between its legs and lower abdomen.
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Rachel Louise Carson (27 May 1907 – 14 April 1964) was a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-born zoologist and marine biologist whose landmark book, Silent Spring, is often credited with having launched the global environmental movement. Silent Spring had an immense effect in the United States, where it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy.
Rachel Carson was born in 1907 on a small family farm near Springdale. As a child, she spent many hours learning about ponds, fields, and forests from her mother. She originally went to school to study English and creative writing, but switched her major to marine biology. Her talent for writing would help her in her new field, as she resolved to "make animals in the woods or waters, where they live, as alive to others as they are to me". She graduated from the Pennsylvania College for Women, today known as Chatham College, in 1929 with magna cum laude honors. Despite financial difficulties, she continued her studies in zoology and genetics at Johns Hopkins University, earning a master's degree in zoology in 1932.
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- Triggerfishes are the brightly coloured fishes of the family Balistidae. (pictured)
- The sea otter often keeps a stone tool in its armpit pouch.
Photo credit: Gerd Alberti and Uwe Kils
The Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is a species of krill found in the Antarctic waters of the Southern Ocean. Antarctic krill are shrimp-like invertebrates that live in large schools, called swarms, sometimes reaching densities of 10,000 - 30,000 individual animals per cubic meter.
Although the uses for and reasons behind the development of their massive black compound eyes (pictured above) remain a mystery, there is no doubt that Antarctic krill have one of the most fantastic structures for vision seen in nature.
Krill can shrink in size from one molt to the next, which is generally thought to be a survival strategy to adapt to scarce food supplies (a smaller body needs less energy, i.e., food). However, the animal's eyes do not shrink when this happens. The ratio between eye size and body length has thus been found to be a reliable indicator of starvation.
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