The ocean is a huge body of saltwater that covers about 71 percent of Earth’s surface. The planet has one global ocean, though oceanographers and the countries of the world have traditionally divided it into four distinct regions: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic oceans. Beginning in the 20th century, some oceanographers labeled the seas around Antarctica the Southern Ocean.
THE OCEAN REMAINS A GREAT MYSTERY
An estimated 97 percent of the world’s water is found in the ocean. Because of this, the ocean has considerable impact on weather, temperature, and the food supply of humans and other organisms. Despite its size and impact on the lives of every organism on Earth, the ocean remains a great mystery.
More than 80 percent of the ocean has never been mapped, explored, or even seen by humans. A far greater percentage of the surfaces of the moon and the planet Mars has been mapped and studied than of our own ocean floor.
90 PERCENT OF THE OCEAN’S SPECIES CAN BE STILL UNDISCOVERED
It is unknown how many different species call the ocean their home. With many marine ecosystems suffering from rising sea temperatures, pollution, and other problems, some oceanographers believe the number of species is dropping.
It could be that more than 90 percent of the ocean’s species are still undiscovered, with some scientists estimating that there are anywhere between a few hundred thousand and a few million more to be discovered. Currently, scientists know of around 226,000 ocean species.
CORAL REEFS ARE RAINFORESTS OF THE SEAS
Often nicknamed the “rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. Scientists believe that more than a million species around the world live on coral reefs.
The protection of coral reefs is a high priority for many oceanographers and other marine conservationists. Further research and protection of coral reefs is important, in large part because the world has lost nearly 20 percent of its coral reefs, with many more reefs under threat today. Pollution and increasing ocean temperatures are two major causes of coral reef loss.
MARINE POLLUTION EVERYWHERE
Marine pollution is a growing problem in today’s world. Our ocean is being flooded with two main types of pollution: chemicals and trash. This trash poses dangers to both humans and animals. Fish become tangled and injured in the debris, and some animals mistake items like plastic bags for food and eat them. Small organisms feed on called microplastic and absorb the chemicals from the plastic into their tissues.
Plastics that do float also tend to collect in large patches in ocean gyres. The Pacific Garbage Patch is one example of such a collection, with plastics and microplastics floating on and below the surface of swirling ocean currents between California and Hawaii in an area of about 1.6 million square kilometers (617,763 square miles).
Sources: National Geographic - Oceans, Marine Pollution, Corals; Oceana, NOAA
LET'S FIGHT TO SAVE THE OCEANS
VAKOVAKO will soon fight to save the current shape and biodiversity of the oceans. 100 % of all donations given via our app to „OCEANS“ area will by transfered to related NGOs. Let’s help them expand their activities together.