Top 5 Facts of Aquatic Lives
Garbage patches are floating trash islands?
You've probably heard of garbage patches and imagined floating landfills. In fact, tiny microplastics account for the vast majority of debris in garbage patches (by quantity). Certain areas of the ocean's currents form a whirlpool, attracting microplastics as well as larger debris such as abandoned fishing nets. Instead of floating, debris is spread from the surface to the seafloor and dispersed over vast areas of the ocean. The currents are constantly shifting and relocating debris. As a result, cleaning up garbage patches is a difficult task.
Sharks are dangerous killers who hunt humans!
Sharks are portrayed in movies as ruthless man-eaters who hunt humans for sport or vengeance. Humans are not a natural part of any shark's diet. There are over 500 shark species, but the vast majority do not pose a threat to humans. Interactions with humans without provocation are extremely rare. In fact, a world without sharks poses a far greater threat. Removing apex predators from marine ecosystems, such as large sharks, has a negative impact on the food web, including the fish and shellfish we eat.
Because of melting icebergs, sea levels are rising
The water level in your glass rises when you add an ice cube. However, when that ice cube melts, there is no further change in the water level. The same thing happens when sea levels rise. Glaciers are large bodies of ice that exist on land. When the ice begins to melt and break apart, it enters the marine environment. Large chunks of land-based ice can melt and enter the ocean as liquid water, or large chunks can break away as icebergs. Sea level rises when these icebergs enter the water. One of the primary causes of global sea level rise is increased melting of land-based ice. However, once the ice is floating in the water, it does not change the sea level when it melts.
Whales squirt water from their blowholes
Many people believe whales expel water into the air because of the famous image of a spout of water rising as a whale surfaces. However, whales do not have water in their lungs. Blowholes function similarly to nostrils; the spray is simply them exhaling air. So, what is the source of the spray? Some of it could be water on the top of the whale's head when it surfaces, and some could be mucus, similar to when you blow your nose. The rest of the spray, however, is water vapor. The air inside the lungs of a whale is much warmer than the air outside. When this warm air is expelled, it condenses immediately into water vapor.
If you live inland, your choices have no impact on the ocean
Living far from the coast may obscure the effects of pollution, marine debris, and climate change. However, debris and pollution can enter the ocean from a long distance away via rivers and streams. In fact, cigarette butts are the most common type of marine debris. Storm drain water can also carry debris and chemical pollutants directly to the ocean.
The good news is that you can have a positive impact on the ocean regardless of where you live! You can prevent debris from entering the ocean by organizing local river cleanups, reducing your use of single-use plastics, and always disposing of trash properly. The proper handling of chemicals, such as motor oil, household cleaners, pesticides, and fertilizers, prevents harmful urban runoff.
Choosing sustainable seafood contributes to the preservation of healthy marine ecosystems. And anything you do to reduce your carbon footprint aids in mitigating the negative effects of climate change.
You can help our ocean no matter where you live!