Dive deep into the world's oceans for an underwater exploration of the planet's marine environment. From the Arctic to the Antarctic this environmental guide is a voyage of discovery that takes in oceanic flora and fauna, and includes a health check of the world's oceans.
Fauna of the Oceans Blue
From tiny parasitic organisms to colossal marine mammals, the world's oceans are home to a rich diversity of life. Plankton and tiny creatures provide life sustaining nutrition to fish. These smaller fish provide food for larger aquatic life. The chain continues to the largest mammals of all, the blue whale. Astounding worlds lies throughout the oceans, all in a delicate natural balance. Discover the remarkable fauna of the world's oceans through the articles below.
Studying the Ocean Floor
As technologies develop and become more sophisticated we are able to explore the ocean floor and its features in greater detail than ever before. You can even be a maritime adventurer and get a close-up view of the sea world from the comfort of your own home; it's all just a simple mouse click away.
Topography of the Ocean Floor
There is a perception amongst some that the ocean floor is flat and uninteresting. But nothing could be further from the truth as there is a vast array of geological features such as hills, mountains and valleys. There are also plateaus, shelves and slopes, hydrothermal vents, whale falls, cold seeps and sea floor cracks. And there is much that still has to be explored.
Surface currents and deep water currents are the result of winds and solar heating in the environment around the ocean. Gravity and the Coriolis force defines the direction of these currents as they flow across the ocean surface or sweep through the water beneath the surface layer.
Most currents are rotating, existing between continents. They create the movement of food sources as well as providing fresh water movement for aquatic life. The currents that exist on the surface of the ocean are known as gyres. Throughout the northern hemisphere, these gyres move in a clockwise direction, juxtaposed to the gyres in the southern hemisphere that rotate in a counterclockwise movement. Find out more in the articles below.
How the Ocean Affects Weather
The oceans and the weather are inextricably linked as the two are in continuous contact. They share energy, gases and water and much of what happens at sea affects the weather we experience right here on land.
The more we know about ocean currents and what goes on at sea, the more we will understand about the Earth’s weather patterns.
The Health and Future of the Oceans
The future of the oceans and the marine life they contain is uncertain at this time. Global warming, human activities that are leading to pollution problems, over-fishing, and oil spills have left the ecosystems of our world's oceans out of balance. Some ocean creatures have adapted to these crippled ecosystems, while others are dwindling away in population.
As polar bears face major problems caused by melting ice, birds and oceanic life are having to adjust to more difficult living conditions. Man is causing an unbalance in the food chain by killing off creatures that feed other marine life, thus causing more damage further up the chain.
To study the world's oceans in their entirety involves looking at how man is destroying this life-giving environment. The articles below discuss the overwhelming amount of environmental damage we have created, and are continuing to create.
- Photo: "Landing Maldives 6883" by © Nevit Dilmen. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Landing_Maldives_6883.jpg#/media/File:Landing_Maldives_6883.jpg