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.
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...
Marine microbesLast Updated on 2016-01-01 20:01:01
Marine microbes is a term that encompasses all microscopic organisms generally found in saltwater. Most micro-organisms are acellular and fall into the major categories of viruses, prokaryotes (bacteria), and protists, groups which differ considerably in biological characteristics. While representatives of these groups are found in virtually everywhere in marine waters, and they play nearly every ecological role imaginable, their most important function is that they form the base of the food chain in marine ecosystems.
Well-known to us as disease-causing agents, viruses are deceivingly simple organisms, little more than some nucleic acid within a protein container. They are 'parasitic particles' most about 40 nanometers in characteristic size. Viruses attach themselves to a living cell and inject a dose of nucleic acid into the cell; the injected nucleic acid... More »
Adriatic SeaLast Updated on 2015-09-29 15:00:08The Adriatic Sea is a branch of the Mediterranean Sea lying between 2 (50,590 miles2). The Adriatic has a maximum depth of 1233 metres (m) and an average depth of 252 m; although north of a line from Zadar, Croatia to Pescara, Italy, it is less than 100 m deep. The northern end of the sea is the Gulf of Venice and its southern limit is the Strait of Ontranto.
By European standards, the Adriatic is both warm (surface water temperature ranges from 8-13oC in winter to 22-25oC in summer) and low in turbidity; correspondingly, this sea is a popular tourist destination.
Map of the Adriatic Sea basin. Source: Norman Einstein/Wikimeia Commons
True-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image from May 18, 2002. Source: NASA
The Adriatic coastline is heavily indented and includes many islands. As a result the coastline is... More »
Spratly IslandsLast Updated on 2015-06-01 15:45:31The Spratly Islands consist of more than 150 small islands or reefs scattered over a sea area of nearly 360,000 square kilometres in the South China Sea, about two-thirds of the way from southern Vietnam to the southern Philippines. The closest countries to the Spratly Islands are Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.
Abundant in marine biodiversity, the Spratly Islands lie in rich fishing grounds and potential gas and oil deposits. (See Energy profile of South China Sea)
These islands are strategically located near several primary strategic shipping lanes in the central South China Sea.
There are no indigenous inhabitants. But there are scattered garrisons occupied by military personnel of several claimant states, notably the Philippines.
They are claimed in their entirety by Taiwan, Vietnam and China, while portions are claimed by Malaysia and... More »
Alcids in marine ecosystemsLast Updated on 2015-04-11 18:42:04
Alcidae is the name for a family of marine birds that includes murres, razorbills, dovekies, puffins, guillemots, auklets, and murrelets. They are commonly referred to as alcids or auks. These birds of the open ocean spend most of their lives at sea, coming to shore only to breed. Most alcids are colonial breeders, nesting in dense colonies on mainland cliffs or offshore islands, where they are inaccessible to terrestrial predators. They are long-lived and socially monogamous, often returning to the same nesting site to mate with the same partner, year after year. Females lay a single egg (or two eggs in a few species), and both parents contribute to egg incubation, chick brooding, and feeding the nestling(s) until they are ready to leave the nest for the sea.
Three distinct chick-rearing strategies exist among the alcids. Chicks of most species remain at the nest site and... More »
Marine biodiversity and food securityLast Updated on 2015-02-28 19:05:44
Harvesting of wild fish and shellfish from the oceans provides food to the earth’s population, particularly in the developing world, and is a major contributor to the world economy. In the USA alone, fishing supports an industry worth nearly $50 billion annually. Although fishing commenced very early in human history, it was during the 20th century that its reach and impact spread around the globe and into deep waters, first with the advent of motorized vessels near the turn of the century, and later as a result of widespread availability of cheap oil, refrigeration, and increasingly effective technology. These developments made fishing an intensive global industry, particularly after Word War II. Modern fisheries, including both landings and by-catch, currently consume 24-35% of global marine primary production in the continental shelf and major upwelling areas,... More »
Drag and drop the content to change the order of featured content. The top nine will be displayed.