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sea creatures

Foraminifera: The tiny and mighty

This post is reproduced from a 2014 cruise blog:   Contrary to popular belief, euphemisms, idioms and trite sayings often have little relevance to real life. Foraminifera on the other hand, lend credibility to the notion that big things do indeed come in small packages. Foraminifera are small, single-celled marine plankton; more specifically known as Protists. Continue reading →

Polar marine biology

This week the course focused on marine life. How diverse, abundant and adaptable it is. However, there is one region where life has to deal with extra challenges. A changing light system, from 24 hours of sunlight to complete darkness for months, harsh sub-zero conditions and changes to the composition of seawater from the freezing and thawing of ice. This is of course the Polar Regions (Arctic in the north and the Antarctic in the south). Continue reading →

Vent Dominators

In this blog post, I will show you some examples of the creatures that dominate the communities at hydrothermal vents around the world.  I recommend following this link to an interactive map of vent sites around the world whilst reading this blog post, so you can navigate around each vent ‘province’ and learn more about the vents at which these animals thrive!  There is also a Google Earth file to download, if you’d like to interactively view the vent locations within this program. Continue reading →

Red-Seeing Fish, Blue-Seeing Fish: Deep-Sea Vision Evolves

Talking about glowing sharks, here it is a very cool text published in the live science blog. "Fearsome-looking creatures that live in the near-dark to pitch-black waters of the deep sea, dragon fish wouldn't seem to have much need for eyes, let alone the ability to see color. However, some dragon fish have rapidly evolved from blue-light sensitivity to red-light sensitivity, and then back to blue again. Continue reading →

Emma Cavan: How did I become involved in Ocean Sciences?

I am currently doing a PhD in the ocean carbon cycle however my aspirations at 16 were somewhat different! I grew up in a house of medics and this limited my career pathway knowledge and hence I applied for degrees in medicine. I was quickly rejected from most of the universities I applied to and to this day I am incredibly grateful! It was clear medicine wasn’t something I was passionate about but I knew I didn’t want an office job and so biology seemed the obvious choice. Continue reading →

Which came first in whales: extreme breath-hold diving or large body size?

While preparing some size-comparisons of marine life for Week 3 of our free Massive Open Online Course on "Exploring Our Oceans", I was particularly struck by how whales are astounding animals. An adult blue whale can have a body mass of ~150 tonnes. That's around twice the body mass estimated for the largest known dinosaur ever to walk the Earth, and equivalent to the body mass of around 2000 people (i.e. the population of a village, perhaps). Continue reading →

We want your links!

Dear MOOCers This weeks activity has been to share your info graphics with us relating the amount of salt in the sea, to another known volume, and we have had some amazing creations, I have particularly enjoyed the "7 Billion Elephants" analogy, and the excellent image relating how much sea water would be needed to obtain Juan Mata's weight in salt! One of the highlights of facilitating on this course has been the interaction between students, facilitators and educators, and a lot of... Continue reading →

The ocean and transport

Dear All We have considered the role of heat and salt in ocean transport, and we have discussed how much water there is, and why it is important for our global climate, in addition to this weeks topic addressing some of the diversity, and size of populations within the ocean. We will soon be taking another direction on the course, looking at how we interact with the deep ocean, and the potential economic benefits of exploiting the mineral wealth held there. Continue reading →