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Marine biology

      Marine biology is the scientific study of organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather than on taxonomy. Marine biology differs from marine ecology as marine ecology is focused on how organisms interact with each other and the environment, while biology is the study of the organisms themselves.

Irresponsible financing

While more than a billion people worldwide depend on the oceans for food and livelihood, many governments continue to provide subsidies to their fishing fleets to overfish our oceans.

However, our vested economic interests in pursuing healthy fisheries is enormous!

Marine problems: Tourism & coastal development

Humans may live in almost every corner of the globe, but our favourite place is the sea. As coastlines around the world are steadily turned into new housing, holiday homes, and tourist developments, this intense human presence is taking a huge toll on marine ecosystems and species.

Beautiful coastlines disappearing under concrete

Marine problems: Oil & gas

Important reserves of oil and gas are located under the sea floor in many parts of the world.

UNSUSTAINABLE FISHING

UNSUSTAINABLE FISHING

Valuable fish stocks, as well as a whole host of other marine life, are severely threatened by overfishing. The global fishing fleet is 2-3 times larger than what the oceans can sustainably support. In other words, people are taking far more fish out of the ocean than can be replaced by those remaining.

Our oceans are being plundered

As a result of overfishing:

    53% of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, and 32% are overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion

Climate change

The marine environment is already registering the impacts of climate change. The current increase in global temperature of 0.7°C since pre-industrial times is disrupting life in the oceans, from the tropics to the poles.

Marine problems

Oil spills
A staggering amount of waste - much of which has only existed for the past 60 years or so - enters the oceans each year.

Over 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities.
From plastic bags to pesticides - most of the waste we produce on land eventually reaches the oceans, either through deliberate dumping or from run-off through drains and rivers. This includes:

Distribution factors

       An active research topic in marine biology is to discover and map the life cycles of various species and where they spend their time. Marine biologists study how the ocean currents, tides and many other oceanic factors affect ocean life forms, including their growth, distribution and well-being. This has only recently become technically feasible with advances in GPS and newer underwater visual devices.

Seamounts

       Marine life also flourishes around seamounts that rise from the depths, where fish and other sea life congregate to spawn and feed.

Trenches

       The deepest recorded oceanic trenches measure to date is the Mariana Trench, near the Philippines, in the Pacific Ocean at 10,924 m (35,838 ft). At such depths, water pressure is extreme and there is no sunlight, but some life still exists. A white flatfish, a shrimp and a jellyfish were seen by the American crew of the bathyscaphe Trieste when it dove to the bottom in 1960.

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