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In the ocean, as on land, elements are constantly being cycled through different animals. An important player in this cycling process is bacteria. Bacteria can take organic matter, such as a fish carcass, and break it down to some of the essential compounds required for life. Bacteria sometimes get a dirty reputation, but they’re actually nature’s recyclers!
Green turtles, like all sea turtles, grow very slowly. Different populations of turtles grow at different rates based on habitat quality, availability and abundance of food sources, and environmental conditions. A typical, healthy green turtle will grow only half an inch (1-2 cm) per year until they reach maturity. It likely takes between 25-40 years for a green turtle to reach maturity and reproduce for the first time.
Many fish change gender over the course of their lifetimes. For instance, parrotfish generally begin life as female and then become male as they mature. They also travel in harems with typically one male escorting a group of females. If the male dies, another female in the harem may change into a male.
Despite their misleading name, sea cucumbers are not vegetables of any kind. These slow moving, soft bodied relatives of starfish and sea urchins live on the sea floor eating organic particles and microscopic marine animals. Sea cucumbers are important animals on coral reefs because they help remove dead material from ocean sediments.
Eutrophication is when a large amount of nutrients enters the water and causes a sharp increase in the algae population, which then rapidly die off once these nutrients are used up, creating low-oxygen conditions. Eutrophication often happens in areas where fertilizer run-off from agriculture gets into the water. In extreme cases, it can kill off a large area of marine life from lack of oxygen.
Photo: Nature Conservancy On September 12, 2016, the Mote Marine Laboratory and The Nature Conservancy signed a one-year memorandum of understanding initiating the first steps of a 15-year partnership to restore and conserve coral reefs at an unprecedented scale. The goal of this collaboration is to restore over one million corals across Florida and Caribbean reefs while building conservation solutions with multiple partners and setting up the infrastructure for coral gene banks. Mote Marine Laboratory, located Florida, is an independent nonprofit marine science and education... (more)