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The air above the ocean is intricately connected to the ocean floor miles below. Carbon dioxide dissolves into the surface of the ocean from the atmosphere and phytoplankton use the carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Other organisms at the surface eat the phytoplankton and when they die they sink down towards the sea floor. Creatures living in the deep sea depend on this falling matter for food.
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!
Water is an incredible molecule with a variety of qualities that facilitate life on earth. Water molecules form bonds with each other called hydrogen bonds, which allows water to stick to itself. This creates surface tension, which some insects use to walk on top of the surface of the water. This is also why it hurts when you do a belly flop!
You may have known that corals are living animals but did you know that they have a partnership with algae living inside of them? Algae known as zooxanthellae (zo-zan- thel-ay) live in the coral’s tissue. The coral gives the algae protection and nutrients while the algae provide food and oxygen to the coral in return. When two living organisms help each other out like this we call it a symbiotic relationship.
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.
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)