Small Marine Life Powers the World's Oceans -Comparable to Wind & Tides

Underwater "We've been studying swimming animals for quite some time,""The perspective we usually take is that of how the ocean—by its currents, temperature, and chemistry—is affecting the animals. But there have been increasing suggestions that the inverse is also important—how the animals themselves, via swimming, might impact the ocean environment."

John Dabiri, Caltech assistant professor of aeronautics and bioengineering

Using a combination of theoretical modeling, energy calculations, and field observations, researchers from Caltech have for the first time described how some of the ocean's tiniest swimming animals can have a huge impact on large-scale ocean mixing.

Scientists have been debating about how marine life might play a role in larger-scale ocean mixing, the process by which various layers of water interact with one another to distribute heat, nutrients, and gasses throughout the oceans.

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Massive Gyres Offer New Insights into the Ocean's Influence on Marine Life & World's Climate

Oceanic_gyres_2 New studies of the Southern Ocean are revealing previously unknown features of giant spinning eddies
massive swirling structures – the largest are known as gyres - can be thousands of kilometers across and can extend down as deep as 500 meters or more, have a profound influence on marine life and on the world's climate.

"The water in the gyres does not mix well with the rest of the ocean, so for long periods these gyres can trap pollutants, nutrients, drifting plants and animals, and become physical barriers that divert even major ocean currents," says University of New South Wales mathematician and research team leader, Dr Gary Froyland.

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New Views on Ocean Currents

Midatlantic_ridgeTrivia buffs may know that the tallest mountain on earth is not Mount Everest, but in fact Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in the Hawaiian Islands that rises some 33,000 feet. Imagine all the currents of water that have to flow around Mauna Kea, or through any of the other thousands of undersea mountain ranges and their passes.

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First-Ever Classification of World’s Coastal Waters

Marine_life_1 A new study published in the journal BioScience provides a first-ever natural classification system of the world’s coastal waters that will help improve worldwide conversation and preservation of our marine habitats.

The system divides the planet’s coastal waters of the world into 12 realms (such as the Tropical Atlantic Ocean), 62 provinces (places like the Mediterranean Sea) and 232 eco-regions (smaller and more homogenous units such as the Northern Gulf of Mexico or the Marshall Islands).

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