Did you know that the ocean ecosystem is very vulnerable to external influences? It is endangered due to environmental pollution.
Amazing facts about the ocean ecosystem
- Marine ecosystems include not only oceans, but also coastlines, tidal basins, estuaries, barrier islands, mangrove forests, and salt marshes. As oceans cover about 70% of our planet’s surface (nearly 140 million square miles), this ecosystem is the largest in the world.
- The ecosystem of the ocean has the greatest biodiversity. We still don’t know everything about Earth, but about 94% of all known species live in oceans and seas. Moreover, scientists believe that there may be up to a million other species in the oceans that have not yet been discovered.
- It is a common belief that trees and other plants produce almost all oxygen and purify the air. However, recent studies have shown that phytoplankton and algae probably produce even more oxygen than forests. Phytoplankton is tiny plants that live in the upper layers of the ocean and use photosynthesis to survive, just like land plants and seaweed.
- The world’s oceans are divided into 66 large marine ecosystems. They are defined as coastal areas where primary productivity is generally higher than in open ocean areas. Each of these ecosystems is unique.
- The oceans of the Earth consist of many different oceanic life forms, each of which plays its own unique role in the overall state of the oceans. There are more than 200 thousand species on our planet, and they range from microscopic microbes to large mammals such as whales or dolphins.
Facts about the ocean pollution
- Environmental pollution causes enormous damage to the ocean ecosystem. From 8 to 14 million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean waters every year.
- It is estimated that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic waste in our oceans. 269.000 tons are floating, and 4 billion microfibres per square kilometer (0.38 square mile) are under the surface. 70% of our garbage ends up in the ocean ecosystem, 15% pops up and 15% ends up on our beaches.
- The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating pile of anthropogenic garbage in the North Pacific Ocean. Its size varies from 0.41 % to 0.81 % of the total area of the Pacific Ocean (up to 580.000 square miles, or 1.5 million square kilometers). That’s 5 times more than the whole area of Germany. By the way, there are 4 other giant garbage patches.
- By 2050, ocean plastic will outweigh all of the ocean’s fish. Well, unless humanity does something about the pollution of the oceans because nowadays we dump so much plastic in the ocean every year so it weighs comparable to 100 thousand blue whales. Every year.
- More plastic in the ocean comes from Indonesia and India than anywhere else. Together, they contribute more plastic to the world’s coastal environment than the next seven countries combined, including the United States, which ranks third on the list.
Random cool facts
- The Great Barrier Reef is a part of the ocean ecosystem, and that’s the largest object of natural origin on Earth. Its length is ~1400 miles (2900 km), and it is composed of 700 islands and 2900 reefs. Global climate change endangers the Great Barrier Reef. If the average water temperature in this part of the ocean rises by just one degree, the coral reefs will die.
- The ocean ecosystem is divided into three zones, or layers, depending on how much sunlight they receive. The upper layer is called the euphotic zone, which receives a lot of sunlight. It starts at the surface of the ocean and descends an average of about 230 feet. The second layer is the dysphotic zone, which receives some sunlight, but not enough for the plants to survive. The third layer is the aphotic zone, which does not receive light at all. The aphotic zone is not only completely dark, but also extremely cold, and few marine animals can survive here.
- The ocean is home to a wide variety of animals, including fish, shellfish, dolphins, seals, walruses, whales, crustaceans, bacteria, sea anemones, and many others. Most marine animals live in the two upper layers of the ocean alone, where they have access to plants and other ocean animals to feed.
- The longest mountain range on Earth, the Mid-ocean ridge, is almost completely under the ocean and stretches for a distance of 40k miles (65k kilometers). This mountain chain is less explored than the surface of Venus and Mars.
- Less than 5% of the planet’s oceans have been explored. As researchers strive to discover more, we are constantly getting to know our oceans better, but they still keep lots of secrets.