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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.
In the deep ocean, a hairy-armed crab called the "yeti" crab has an interesting source of food. The crab farms bacteria on its hairy arms and then scrapes the bacteria into its mouth. Talk about self-sustaining!
If you had to guess what the most abundant organism in the ocean was, would you guess microorganisms? There are about 1 billion cells of bacteria in every liter of seawater. Marine viruses, which generally attack other microscopic organisms, are even more abundant, with about 10 billion in one liter of seawater. Most bacteria and viruses in the ocean are not harmful to humans.
Water is a unique molecule. Most liquids become denser as they cool down, but when water freezes, it becomes less dense, allowing ice to float. If ice did not float, a lot of animals would be in trouble. In fresh water ecosystems, animals rely on the top layer of water freezing over, which actually allows heat to be trapped underneath and keeps them alive through the winter.
Can you imagining putting a person in a time capsule and then opening it up 80 million years later to discover that they’re still alive? Scientists have found a bacterial colony buried 100 feet deep in the Pacific Ocean floor that hasn’t received light, oxygen, or food for over 80 million years, and they’re still alive! A very slow metabolism and dividing to make identical copies of themselves allow these bacteria to survive for so long.
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)