Atlas of Oceans: A Fascinating Hidden World
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Seventy per cent of our planet's surface is covered with water, but most conventional atlases focus on the other thirty per cent. This fascinating and beautifully presented survey of the world's oceans and what lives within them is published in association with the Census on Marine Life, a decade-long scientific initiative between researchers from over 80 countries to assessing and explaining the rich diversity and abundance of undersea life. Every aspect of the oceans is explored, from the seabed, continental shelves, currents, water circulation and waves, to all the wildlife that calls these places home. Each ocean (the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Southern, Arctic, the Seas of Europe, the Eurasian Inland Seas and the South China Sea) is examined in great detail, revealing its characteristics, underwater topography, principal species and particular features, including the effects of habitat erosion. Topics covered include: - Coastlines, beaches, estuaries, salt marshes - the clash of man and wildlife - Temperate waters - plankton, seaweed forests and the Newfoundland Great Banks - Tropical waters - coral reefs, mangrove swamps and seagrass meadows - Polar waters - floating ice, migrations, life beneath the ice - The open ocean - currents, CO2 storage capacity, global warming and acidification - The ocean deeps - the mysterious twilight world and the least explored of all environments
Earth began remarkably early in its history. The oldest fossilized remnants of life may be microscopic matlike wrinkles in rocks that date back 3.46 billion years, and were probably created by colonies of the blue-green algae cyanobacteria. The conventional theory is that these proliferated through the oceans wherever there was light in the oceans, using the light’s effect on a green pigment called chlorophyll to break up carbon dioxide into carbon and oxygen. The carbon they used for their own
gentle snow of organic material – dead plants and animals, bits of shells – that falls from above, though this provides vital nutrition for the organisms that do live here, far from sunlight. Metal potatoes Vast areas of the seafloor are littered with knobbly metallic lumps known as manganese nodules, mostly about the size of potatoes. They vary in their makeup but the most interesting ones are manganese, with a little nickel, cobalt, and copper. Sliced in half they reveal onion layers that
research is beginning to show that even these hugely varying estimates could be completely wrong. At a time when scientists and environmentalists are campaigning vigorously against the loss of biodiversity, it seems important to know just how diverse the ocean is. That is why the vague answers to the UNEP’s programme triggered the great Census of Marine Life, which began in 2000. It is not yet certain how many creatures the Census will log, and it is almost certain that they will only log a
two boats in pair-trawling, catch up not just the fish they intend to take but also toothed whales as they home in on the schools of fish gathered by the nets. In theory, fishermen are supposed to release any mammals caught accidentally, but most drown long before they are brought to the surface. Dolphins and porpoises are especially frequent victims, but even sperm whales can be entangled. Some estimates suggest at least 300,000 dolphins, porpoises, and whales are killed in this way each year.
Boundary Front is especially important because this is where deep waters well up from the abyss almost to the surface, bringing up nutrients and generating a lot of plankton growth in spring. Beneath this whole system, though, there are complex flows of deep water. The thin layer of Antarctic surface water, for instance, sinks under the warmer water along the Polar Front and spreads northward deeper down. Under the Antarctic Ice Shelf, particularly in the Weddell and Ross seas, the water is