Introduction

.. nvertebrates. Bacteria, a form of microorganism is found throughout the ocean and make up much of the dissolved matter in the waters. They also help decompose the dead bodies of larger organisms. It obtains food and oxygen by means of chemosynthesis; a process in which the organism creates food using chemical nutrients as the energy source instead of sunlight.

The bacteria live in cooperation with animals unique to this region, providing them with important nutrients. Animals without backbones are called invertebrates. Lobsters and clams are probably the most numerous and diverse group. Invertebrates in the ocean range from jellyfish to worms and crabs. Vertebrates are animals with backbones. Reptiles, fish, dolphins, whales, shark, and seabirds can all be found in the sea.

The body temperature of reptiles changes with the temperature of their surroundings. Two kinds found in the ocean are the sea turtle, and the sea snake. At least 15 species of snakes are found in the tropic. There are more than 350 species of shark found in the sea. Most of these live in coastal waters and only six species favor the mid-ocean.

They are most abundant in tropical and subtropical waters. But still the three most important mammals that are truly marine are whales, porpoises, and sea cows because they must remain in the water at all times. BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Biological diversity can be understood as the variety of life on the Earth, but it consists of three components. The first component is genetic diversity, the total number of genetic characteristics. The last two are species diversity and habitat or ecosystem diversity.

The most familiar level of biological diversity is species diversity, or the number of species living in a particular habitat. It includes three concepts: species richness, evenness, and dominance. The most species-diverse marine habitats occur in the tropical waters, and among the tropical areas. We dont know how many marine species are around exactly, but we do know that there are far more species on land than in the seas. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE OCEAN The ocean is far more useful than just a place for swimming, boating, surfing, and other fun activities.

It serves as a source of food, energy, and minerals, and also as the transportation route of shipping cargo. Not just that, but it also helps keep the earths climate healthful by regulating the air temperature and by supplying the moisture for rainfall. If there was no ocean, life would not even exist on our planet. RESOURCES Humans have depended on the oceans for food, primarily fish. Humans eat about 60 percent of the fish and the rest is used for livestock feed, and processed into pet food. Seaweed is eaten because it is high in vitamins and minerals.

Algae is used to thicken ice creams and puddings. Sea salt is another food item taken from the ocean. The crystals are collected, processed, and packaged. Sea water is also desalted and used by some desert countries for drinking and irrigation. The most valuable energy resources from the ocean are petroleum and natural gas, in which 25 percent of the worlds oil and gas are deposited beneath the sea.

Ocean tides also provide energy. Tidal power facilities use the energy in the rise and fall of the tides to produce electricity. Minerals recovered in the ocean include sand, bromide, manganese, and salt. Copper, iron and zinc can be found deeper in the sea. These minerals are used in creating medicines and are used in vitamin pills. POLLUTION The ocean plays an important role in our global environment. Although we do not live in the ocean environment, we are the ones who cause the pollution in the waters.

And if pollution constantly occurs, what would become of these great masses of water? Because of its great size and natural chemical processes, the ocean can absorb some pollutants, but it will not absorb it all. Each type of marine waste- synthetic chemicals, oil, marine debris, exotic species, sewage- behaves in different ways and present different threats to ocean resources. Little is known about what happens to these chemicals when they enter the water stream. But we do know that some accumulate into the tissues and organs of aquatic animals, others may be excreted. Oil spills are major factors of water pollution. These spills seriously disrupt marine ecosystems, and the effect of these disruptions can be long-lasting. These spills are disastrous towards the water and coastlines; killing both sea and land organisms. The deliberate dumping of waste products also play a major role.

It consists of everything from left over food to chemicals. Plastics dumped into the sea dont easily break down. Organisms in the sea either eat the plastic, which blocks their digestive system, and causes starvation. They can also become entangled with them, causing them to drown. With all these problems, how do we keep the marine animals and plants from becoming extinct? What kind of future will the seas have? THE FUTURE OF OUR SEAS The ocean has a huge impact in our lives, and it should continue being that way. But we do need to make some changes in protecting and keeping the ocean clean.

In the past some marine animals have been thought as pests so they were eliminated. It is also human use of the coastal zone that is the most serious threat to these animals. Our coasts and nearshore islands play a vital role in their lives, and new strategies are being processed in protecting the endangered species. Steps have been taken in preserving the coastal zones, but we will have to make difficult choices. Should public access to some beaches be restricted to allow seals and sea lions an area for hauling out water and breeding? Should fishermen be required to provide protection for dolphins caught in nets? These are just a few questions that involve hard decision making.

Effects of pollution on these endangered species are also taken into consideration. New laws came up with the Endangered Species Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act. But the problem is that little is done to follow through with them. I feel that the dumping of anything, either harmless or harmful, into the sea should be forbidden. This way the ocean has a better chance of staying clean.

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