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Marine Ecology

Marine Ecology, a sub-discipline of Ecology, is an integrative science focused on research on and assessment of the biotic and abiotic components and processes of Earth's marine and oceanic environments. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that oceans comprise an astonishing 70 percent of the Earth's surface.


This environmental medium is supplemented by estuaries and coastal areas, and such other brackish bodies of water as the Great Lakes. Marine environments and their ecology are, therefore, critical for life, human habitation, and food and other natural resources. Also, basic and applied marine ecological research address human activity that affects ocean ecosystem composition, structure and function.

  • European otter Featured Article European otter European otter

    The European otter (Lutra lutra) is a broadly distributed marine mammal found in both marine and freshwater systems over considerable portions of Europe, Asia and North Africa;... More »

  • Atlantic hydrothermal vent life Featured News Article Atlantic hydrothermal vent life Atlantic hydrothermal vent life

    Explorers on NOAA expedition discover chemosynthetic shrimp, tubeworms together for first time at hydrothermal vent, also first live vent tubeworms seen in Atlantic waters... More »

  • Overfishing Featured Article Overfishing Overfishing

    Overfishing is the human act of extracting aquatic (that is, marine and freshwater) fauna from natural water bodies at a rate greater than the reproductive and recruitment... More »

  • Abyssal zone Featured Article Abyssal zone Abyssal zone

    The Abyssal zone (from the 4o C isotherm at 2000 to 3000 meters in depth down to about 6000 meters) is a term in oceanography which originally (before the mid-1800s) meant the... More »

  • South African fur seal Featured Article South African fur seal South African fur seal

    The South African fur seal (also Also known as the Cape fur seal, Australian Fur Seal; scientific name: Arctocephalus pusillus) is one of 16 species of marine mammals in the... More »

  • Catching a Coral Killer Featured News Article Catching a Coral Killer Catching a Coral Killer

    First ever case of human-caused marine disease. Catching a Coral Killer Coral reefs play an important role in marine ecosystems, so it's concerning to scientists,... More »

  • Porkfish Featured Article Porkfish Porkfish

    The porkfish (scientific name: Anisotremus virginicus) is a member of the grunt family (Family Haemulidae) that lives on coral reefs in the Western Atlantic Ocean and... More »

  • Wrasses Featured Article Wrasses Wrasses

    Wrasses (the family Labridae) are the most abundant and conspicuous fishes on tropical reefs around the world. Wrasses also comprise an important element of the coldwater fish... More »

Recently Updated
Orca Last Updated on 2014-04-16 15:11:43 Orcinus orca, or simply orca, is in fact the largest of the dolphins within the order of cetaceans. This species of marine mammal, also commonly known as the killer whale, is easily identified by its black and white coloration; the underside is white with white patches behind the eyes and a greyish white area called a saddle-patch behind the dorsal fin. The shape of the saddle is unique in each animal, and can help to identify individuals. The dorsal fin is also used to recognize individuals. Male orcas have the tallest dorsal fin known in the animal kingdom, measuring up to six feet high in mature males.  Females have shorter, more curved dorsal fins.  Conservation Status:  Data Deficient Scientific Classification Kingdom: Anamalia (Animals) Phylum:--- Chordata Class:------ Mammalia... More »
Spinner dolphin Last Updated on 2014-04-13 11:53:51 The Spinner dolphin (Stenella longirostris), a marine mammal in the family of oceanic dolphins,  gets their name from the spinning behavior they show when they leap out of the water. This cetacean species lives in schools showing a dominance hierarchy and displays complex interactions among individuals. S. longirostris also engages in intricate echolocation underwater acoustics. Spinner dolphins attract tourists for dolphin watching. The species is of special interest for scientific investigation because of its remarkable capacity to learn.   Conservation Status: Data Deficient Scientific Classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum:--- Chordata Class:------ Mamalia Order:-------- Cetacea Family:-------- Delphinidae Genus:--------- Stenella Species:--------Stenella longirostris... More »
Pan-tropical spotted dolphin Last Updated on 2014-04-12 15:29:32 The Pantropical spotted dolphin (Scientific name: Stenella attenuata) is a marine mammal within the family of ocanic dolphins, part of the order of cetaceans, that is found in all the world's oceans between about 40°N and 40°S. The gregarious Pantropical spotted dolphin forms schools that can range in size from less than one hundred to thousands of individuals. The pantropical spotted dolphin is well known for its tendency to associate with schools of tuna in this region. While this may be due to an overlap in diet, other reasons for this association have also been suggested, such as increased protection from predators, as there is safety in numbers. As a result of this association, Pantropical spotted dolphin have been frequently killed in as a bycatch in the fishing of yellowfin tuna with purse-seine nets. The pantropical spotted dolphin is a fast swimmer that... More »
Coral reef fish feeding behavior in the Caribbean Last Updated on 2014-04-02 14:51:20 Fishes living in the Caribbean Sea rely on a variety of food sources including plants, plankton, invertebrates, and other fishes. Fishes can feed either on the reef or off of the reef in the sandy bottoms or sea grass beds. Fishes can feed either diurnally (during the day) or nocturnally (at night). Their diet and mode of feeding strongly influences their morphology. Moreover, their foraging strategy should affect their susceptibility to predators and thus influence their anti-predator mechanisms. Only 10 – 25% of species on a Caribbean reef fishes are herbivores. Although there are relatively few herbivorous fish species, these species tend to have relatively large population sizes such that the total biomass of herbivores is high. Herbivorous fishes are most common in shallow water which is not surprising because light levels are higher in shallow water which promotes... More »
Emperor penguin Last Updated on 2014-01-16 15:03:05 The Emperor penguin (scientific name: Aptenodytes forsteri G. R. Gray, 1844) is one of seventeen species of flightless birds in the family of penguins, and with the King penguin forms the genus Aptenodytes or "Great penguins".     Conservation Status   Scientific Classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum:--- Chordata Class:------ Aves (Birds) Order:-------- Sphenisciformes Family:-------- Spheniscidae (Penguins) Genus:---------  Aptenodytes  (Great Penguins) Species:--------- Aptenodytes forsteri G. R. Gray, 1844 Like all penguins, the Emperor penguin is characterized by its erect posture, stiff wings, excellent swimming ability, awkward movement out of water, and coloring. The black back and white front, make penguins difficult to... More »