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
Daugava River Last Updated on 2015-01-12 07:37:16 The Daugava River drains portions of the countries of Latvia, Belarus and Russia, prior to discharging to the Gulf of Riga. Also known as the West Dvina River, this watercourse is the fourth largest river discharging to the Baltic Sea catchment. This 1005 kilometer long river has suffered environmental damage from agricultural runoff and from hydroelectric dam construction, with major impacts dealt in the Soviet era of collective farming. In ancient history the Daugava estuary was a locus of prehistoric settlement, and later marked one of the eastern limits of the voyages of the Vikings. The lower Daugava valley (nearest the Gulf of Riga) was formed in relatively recent times, as glacial meltwater formed incision on the relatively level terrain near the Baltic Sea coast; these events occurred in the early Holocene, approximately 11,000 years before present. The relatively soft upper... More »
Marine biodiversity Last Updated on 2014-12-15 19:53:24 Biodiversity is now commonly defined as the variety of life in genes, species and habitats. According to the definition of the Convention on Biological Diversity, biodiversity is the variability among living organisms from all sources, including inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. The three domains of life, bacteria, archaea and eukarya are present in the marine environment. In addition there are viruses. About 230,000 species of marine plants and animals have been scientifically described and a few thousand bacteria and archaea. This known biodiversity only represents a small fraction of the number of species existing, except for the macrophytes and seagrasses which are living in coastal environments and, in general, for the pelagic... More »
Overfishing Last Updated on 2014-12-07 17:22:32 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 functions can replace that extraction. While there is some evidence that localized overfishing may have occurred in prehistoric eras, the bulk of overfishing has taken place in the last 150 years as the human population has expanded greatly and fishing technologies have enabled harvesting of many species at rates not imagined in earlier times. For over a century man's role in the depletion of certain regional fisheries has been noted. A functional definition of overfishing is sometimes given as the reduction in catch per unit effort by fishermen. Typically the concept of overfishing is linked to an individual aquatic species, and this issue is most often discussed within a specific marine or lacustrine province... More »
Biome Last Updated on 2014-11-30 22:01:13 Biomes organize the biological communities of the earth based on similarities in the dominant vegetation, climate, geographic location, and other characteristics. Aspects of the physical environment such as precipitation, temperature, and water depth, have a strong influence on the traits of species living in that natural environment, and thus biological communities experiencing similar environmental conditions often contain species that have evolved similar characteristics. There is no single classification of biomes that is agreed upon by all scientists because different scientists wish to emphasize different characteristics by their definition. Historically however, biomes have been identified and mapped based on general differences in vegetation type associated with regional variations in climate and terrain. Terrestrial biomes characterize ecosystems on land, and are usually... More »
Aquatic plants Last Updated on 2014-11-09 18:55:53 Aquatic plants grow in shallow to deep water zones. The three main types of aquatic plants are (1) single-celled phytoplankton, (2) periphyton (algae growing attached to substrates) and (3) multicellular macrophytes. Phytoplankton includes several groups of algae (e.g., green algae, golden brown algae, euglenophytes, dinoflagelates, and diatoms) and one group of photosynthetic bacteria (Cyanobacteria). Planktonic algae may be either benthic (attached to a substrate) or planktonic (floating in the water column). There are large numbers of phytoplankton (> 400 species) in many bodies of freshwater; phytoplankton are most common in habitats with high nutrient levels. Periphyton may grow attached to other plants (ephytic periphyton) or on rocks and other substrate (epibenthic periphyton). Typically, periphyton is made up of a diatoms, a variety of filamentous algae... More »