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Gwen Noda

Know Your Ocean | Science and Technology | Ocean Today - 0 views

    Even though the ocean covers seventy percent of the Earth's surface, people tend to know more information about land than the sea. As a result, our understanding of the ocean is often incomplete or full of misconceptions. How well do you know the ocean?

    You may think Earth has five separate oceans. They're clearly labeled on our maps. But, in actuality, these are all connected, and part of one global ocean system.

    Ever wonder why the ocean is blue? You may have heard its because the water reflects the color of the sky. Not quite. Sunlight contains all the colors of the rainbow. When it hits the ocean, it gets scattered by the water molecules. Blue light is scattered the most, which is why the ocean appears blue. Even more interesting is that floating plants and sediments in the water can cause light to bounce in such a way for the ocean to appear green, yellow, and even red!

    Another idea some people have is that the sea floor is flat. Actually, just like land, the sea floor has canyons, plains, and mountain ranges. And many of these features are even bigger than those found on land.

    You may also think that our ocean's saltwater is just a mix of water and table salt. Not so. Seawater's "salt" is actually made of dissolved minerals from surface runoff. That is, excess water from rain and melting snow flowing over land and into the sea. This is why the ocean doesn't have the same level of salinity everywhere. Salinity varies by location and season.

    Finally, you may have heard that melting sea ice will cause sea levels to rise. In reality, sea ice is just frozen seawater, and because it routinely freezes and melts, its volume is already accounted for in the ocean. Sea levels can rise, however, from ice that melts off land and into the ocean.

    Understanding basic facts about the ocean is important since it affects everything from our atmosphere to our ecosystems. By knowing your ocean, you are better prepared to help protect it.
Gwen Noda

The Ten Best Ocean Stories of 2012 | Surprising Science - 0 views

    December 18, 2012
    The Ten Best Ocean Stories of 2012
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    Two market squids mating

    2012 was a big year for squid science. Photo Credit: © Brian Skerry,

    Despite covering 70 percent of the earth's surface, the ocean doesn't often make it into the news. But when it does, it makes quite a splash (so to speak). Here are the top ten ocean stories we couldn't stop talking about this year, in no particular order. Add your own in the comments!

    2012: The Year of the Squid From the giant squid's giant eyes (the better to see predatory sperm whales, my dear), to the vampire squid's eerie diet of remains and feces, the strange adaptations and behavior of these cephalopods amazed us all year. Scientists found a deep-sea squid that dismembers its own glowing arm to distract predators and make a daring escape. But fascinating findings weren't relegated to the deep: at the surface, some squids will rocket themselves above the waves to fly long distances at top speeds.

    James Cameron Explores the Deep Sea Filmmaker James Cameron has never shied away from marine movie plots (See: Titanic, The Abyss), but this year he showed he was truly fearless, becoming the first person to hit the deepest point on the seafloor (35,804 feet) in a solo submarine. While he only managed to bring up a single mud sample from the deepest region, he found thriving biodiversity in the other deep-sea areas his expedition explored, including giant versions of organisms found in shallow water.
    Schooling sardines form a "bait ball."

    Small fish, such as these schooling sardines, received well-deserved attention for being an important part of the food chain in 2012. Photo Credit: © Erwin Poliakoff, Flickr

    Small Fish Make a Big Impact Forage fish-small, schooling fish that are gulped down by predators-should be left in the ocean for larger fish, marin
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