SeaHarmony welcomes all ocean scientists, ocean educators, resource managers, artists, and ocean related organizations and community groups.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Sea urchins might be using their feet to see! Researchers have found that sea urchins have light receptors on their tube feet - hundreds of tiny suction-like tubes which help them to move around. Next time you are out surfing or tide pooling take a closer look at these amazing creatures - but don’t touch!
Photo: NYTimes Hard corals are not the only organisms that bleach in warming ocean conditions. Anemones also host similar photosynthetic algae which convert sunlight into energy, but the relationship between the anemone and the algae can be disrupted during environmental disturbances. When anemones on a coral reef bleach, they may either recover or die if the environmental stress persists. Large anemones are best known for their relationship with clown fish, which use the anemone as a home and a safe place for their eggs. Although the clown fish don’t feed on the anemones, clown fish... (more)