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If you could take all of the bigger organisms of the ocean (whales, sharks, fish, squid) and add up their total weight, and then took all of the microscopic organisms (like plankton) in the ocean and added up their total weight, which one would weigh more? You might be surprised to hear that the microscopic organisms weigh over 40 times more than all other organisms in the ocean combined!
Have you heard of coral bleaching? That is what happens when corals lose their green or brown colored algae living inside of them due to environmental stress such as warmer temperatures. If conditions return to normal fairly quickly, the algae will come back; but if conditions change for too long then the coral will be permanently bleached and won’t be able to survive.
Scientists expect sea levels to rise approximately 3 feet (1 m) in the next 100 years due to global warming. This is not only due to the melting of polar land ice, but also “thermal expansion”, in which water increases in volume as it warms.
Scientists in Canada got a surprise while doing studies on human forensics. To look at how bodies decompose, they tossed pig carcasses into so called "dead zones", areas of low oxygen in the ocean. However, much to their surprise, sharks, lobsters, and other scavengers risked going into these suffocating conditions and ate their experiment!
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!
Photo: Luiz Rocha/California Academy of Sciences, ABC News Climate change is increasing the severity and frequency of coral bleaching events as a result of rising sea surface temperatures. The coral animals that build the foundation framework of coral reef ecosystems are sensitive to these thermal stress events that occur in the marine environment and can respond to this stress in a visually striking way known as coral “bleaching”. When corals bleach, the symbiotic algae held in their tissues are lost, generating the stark white color giving this response its name. Under normal... (more)