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An Introduction To Marine Biology

Updated on October 4, 2014

An Attempt At Introducing The Course Of Study That Has Dominated My Life For The Last Five Years

Marine Biology is a fun and fascinating area of study - the ocean is an ever-expanding reservoir of knowledge, resources and jobs, in everything from deep sea exploration to fish populations, to hydrodynamics, to aquaculture.

Oh gods... I'm not sure how I'm ever going to finish this! I keep trying to introduce general concepts, then get carried away by intertidal zones, deep sea vents, upwelling, aquaculture, marine reserves, echinoderms, lecitrophy, upwelling, swimming modes... Please excuse the occasional forays into random details! I'm aiming to give and idea of what Marine Science - most specifically, Marine Biology - entails. This is a huge topic, and I'll try to both stay ON topic and give interesting examples.

A marine science degree is hard to categorise. "It's about the ocean". Oh great, thanks. That really narrows it down. But that's basically what it is.

A proper marine course of study involves multiple disciplines, which tend to be lumped together under the label of 'marine'. Most specialists - such as myself - also took a number of non-marine courses (mostly Biological sciences in my case). Degree structures vary between institutions - some may not even offer it, some may offer a full Marine Science degree. At my university, I took a Biology degree, specialising in marine science. this involved taking specific fishy-related biology papers, as well as some specific marine science papers. To really make use of your degree, though, you usually have to specialise a bit more - I'm currently finishing up a postgraduate diploma in Marine Science.

All the photos on this page are mine, taken over the years at various beaches and aquariums - often while on university field trips! (and you can find them all in my Zazzle store).

Do You Know Much About Marine Biology? - Or do you struggle to tell apart a sardine and a shark?

How would you rate yourself - educated or uncertain? (oh, and don't forget to keep reading - I do a lot more talking below!)

Random tropical fish
Random tropical fish

WARNING: Side Effects of Studying Marine Biology Include...

Excessive study of marine biology will result in some or all of the following dismaying symptoms

- increased awareness of overfishing when trying to buy fish for dinner and a tendency to come out with depressing "Well, actually..."s when people say 'I got this fish, THIS one's probably fine, isn't it?'

- a markedly decreased level of tolerance for climate change deniers, entrenched fishing industries, oil drilling, Creationists and people who take more than their quota when fishing. 'Game park' style marine reserves will make you start eyeing fishing rods as murder weapons.

Hermit crab hiding in shell
Hermit crab hiding in shell

- a tendency to excavate rockpools to admire the tidal zonation of small shells and indistinguishable seaweeds

- Worse, to casually refer to marine and intertidal species by their latin names while in company. "oh yes, look, a Pseudolisthes elongatus" you'll remark interestedly, as your companion shrieks at the scuttling shell.

(I wrote an entire assignment on this hermit crab once - it's a native New Zealand half or false crab, also known as a porcelain crab and evolved from lobsters. It lives under rocks in the intertidal, is often a lovely blue, and only has six legs, not eight).

Octopus looking back through the glass at Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium
Octopus looking back through the glass at Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium

- paranoia about referencing every single statement that you did not personally research, which will spill over into over areas of your life and make less demanding projects and assignments a lot more difficult

- a strong desire to learn to scuba dive, which is both very expensive, difficult to fit in, incredibly uncomfortable for the preparation and majority of the activity, and potentially dangerous. (But AWESOME when it's all working right). Incidentally, octopus eyes are a splendid example of parallel evolution of eyes - they are structured completely differently to ours, but work just as well.

Short-tailed stingray (part of - you can see the eyes, gills and part of the rippling wings). Approx. 1m across
Short-tailed stingray (part of - you can see the eyes, gills and part of the rippling wings). Approx. 1m across

- taking the stingray's side in the Stingray vs. Steve Irwin debate. Seriously, they're awesome, lovely creatures and you have to hover really close over them for them to attack. I've snorkelled over them dozens of times, and swum in 'Stingray Arch' in the Poor Knights marine reserve, with hundreds of them swimming around and below.

The short-tailed ones get really big - over a metre across - and very heavy. They can also live around twenty years.They keep some in a large shall water pool at the Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium in Auckland, and they actually climb their keepers after food! Eagle rays are a lot smaller - they swim differently and are sort of diamond shaped.

In New Zealand, we have a local subspecies of Orca that chases and eats stingrays - the only ones in the world to do so!

An Eagle Ray - taken through the bottom of the Glass Bottom boat, at Goat Island Marine Reserve, NZ
An Eagle Ray - taken through the bottom of the Glass Bottom boat, at Goat Island Marine Reserve, NZ

- cheerfully dissecting your whole grilled Snapper fishhead at dinner in a nice restaurant and trying to show interesting bits to the people next to you (forever to be referred to as the 'eye' incident. Did you know snapper eyes are all jellylike, but have a small round ball that's really bouncy, in the centre?)

- making a beeline for any aquariums in any cities you visit, and going into withdrawals without a sufficiently impressive one nearby. And to the detriment of any companions, the ability to spend hours and hours slowly examining all the tanks and their inhabitants.

Short-tailed stingray from the surface - they like resting in the warm waters near the beach
Short-tailed stingray from the surface - they like resting in the warm waters near the beach

Science And My Artwork

The effect of biological knowledge on science

Careful study of fish has had both an occasional fishy influence on my pictures and added more realistic touches to my fish and mermaids, even the movement of waves! Scuba diving improved my sense of what bubbles looked like as they rose and how fish swam.


New Zealand Seahorse, Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, Auckland
New Zealand Seahorse, Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium, Auckland

Marine Science Around The World

What can you expect to be studying at your university?

Marine science is a popular and fast-growing field around the world and more and more universities are offering courses for it. I'll just mention a few highlights that I know particularly well and try and give an overview of the globabl situation.

There are a few institutes in the USA (e.g. Florida), and Japan. Japan mostly focuses on 'whaling research'. These places mostly look at commercial applications - Aquaculture and fish stocks, for example. They often have major fisheries interests (especially in Japan) and defence (mostly in the USA), studying currents and sonar.

The UK has a lot of interest in marine studies, which is natural as they're an island with a lot of fisheries! Plymouth has a very well established marine research sector, and an absolutely amazing aquarium. It is part of the Plymouth Marine Science Partnership. My uncle is actually a Fisheries Officer in the area, and took me to see it! I also got to visit the Brixham fisheries offices, which has the most ships coming in, out of the entire country!


New Zealand has a strong interest in marine science, and has three or four Universities offering degrees. The University of Auckland, where I'm studying, as well as Otago and Victoria (based in the South Island and Wellington, respectively). Students from the latter two joined up with Auckland Uni for a new class, involving joint field courses, in 2010, which is how I know.

Small water snail
Small water snail

Marine Science In New Zealand

More environmental and more important!

New Zealand is a lot more focussed on sustainability and the environment - partly due to a lower level of paranoi...uh, I mean, emphasis on defence, and because of the high commercial importance of the 'clean green' image of New Zealand's fish. Fisheries are vital to New Zealand's economy - the fourth largest income earner.

New Zealand is in an odd position - it also has the fourth largest EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) in the world- which is a certain area of ocean that 'belongs' to New Zealand. New Zealand waters are a LOT bigger than New Zealand land area. Despite this, while 30% of land is in some kind of national park or reserve, less than 1% of New Zealand coastal waters are protected - the majority, about another 5% - is around the very far distant Kermadec Islands, which are entirely protected. New Zealand had the first marine reserve in the world, but unfortunately the lovely right wing National Government has placed a moratorium on marine reserves in the exclusive economic zone, has instructed the Department of Conservation to not apply for the marine reserves, and has declined recent marine reserve applications.

A small fish in the rockpools - one of my lecturers spends his non-teaching time studying New Zealand triplefins!
A small fish in the rockpools - one of my lecturers spends his non-teaching time studying New Zealand triplefins!

Another side effect is the association of certain species and topics with specific lecturers! Several of my lecturers were experts on a certain area of interest - herbivorous fishes' digestive processes, triplefins, echindoerms, algae, marine reserves, and sandhoppers!

Seaweed in a rock pool at Goat Island
Seaweed in a rock pool at Goat Island

Multiple Disciplines and Deep Sea Vents

Hydrothermal undersea vents are a good example of multidisciplinary marine science

Academic 'disciplines' are distinct subjects such as Geology, Biology, English, Maths, Physics, Geography, Chemistry and so forth. Anyone who studies marine science quickly finds that a knowledge of one area of science is not enough. For example, I had to learn about topics as wide ranging as Freeze Tolerance vs Freeze Avoidance bio chemical reactions, to Organic Aquaculture!

Deep sea vents are a great example. Created by plate tectonics (Geology), they vent unusual chemicals and gases (Chemistry) into the water around.They also tend to be hot, heating the water a certain amount (Physics). Water currents (Hydrodynamics) affect the local habitat (Community ecology) and disperse minerals and chemicals such as sulphur from the vent into the water. Around these vents, very unusual lifeforms make up very unique communities of new species (Taxonomy, Zoology) that depend on chemosynthetic bacteria (Biochemistry) to grow, rather than relying on energy from the sun, stored in the form of organic matter!

It's possible they represent an equivalent to the first life on earth (Abiogenesis), and may not even me related to existing known species (Genetics). They may be extremely rare (Conservation ecology) or possess secret miracle cures for cancer (Medicine, Biochemistry). Some of them seem capable of detecting light - highly unusual at a depth at which no natural light penetrates (Physics). Any reliable study of any of these species' lifestyles must almost inevitably result in a great many observations, such as how many vents actually have communities, and what concentration of highly poisonous hydrogen sulfide is too high to be safely used? And do the numbers result in any significant (Statistics) conclusions?

And of course, how were these vents discovered? A submersible vessel (Engineering), or robotic camera, trundling the ocean floor (Robotics)? How about maps, navigation, air supply, recordings? What effect will climate change have? Is the vent affecting the local plantlife (is there plantlife?) and mineral depositions?

IMAX: Volcanoes of the Deep Sea [Blu-ray]
IMAX: Volcanoes of the Deep Sea [Blu-ray]

The depths of the ocean remain one of the last great mysteries on Earth. Far below the waves is an incredible place teeming with life, but few people have seen it... until now. For the first time you can be there, 12,000 feet below the ocean's surface, inside an unparalleled undersea volcanic world filled with strange creatures and dramatic landscapes. You've never seen anything like this as brand-new lighting technology far superior to anything that's ever been used before illuminates this secret realm.Exhibited to great acclaim in IMAX and other giant-screen theaters around the world.

 

You could focus on a few of these areas, but you couldn't get any kind of complete picture. Most marine science outposts and expeditions have scientists of various specialties aboard - but you need to be aware of the existence of water currents and velocity, or the process of parallel evolution, in order to be able to recognise that the specifics should be passed to the expert.

Hermit crab in the aquarium
Hermit crab in the aquarium
Giant tropical purple anenome
Giant tropical purple anenome

Lies, Damned Lies And Statistics

The scientific name for biology is 'Mathematicus statisicalii'

They lied about the science. Only 24% of Marine Biology is Biology.

What's the rest, then? It's actually mostly maths. Every single assignment, after the first year, was 40% statistics. A statistics paper was mandatory for the Marine Science specialisation. This made me very sad, as I'd taken Calculus in my last year of school instead, thinking that would probably be the most useful!

Statistics for Terrified Biologists
Statistics for Terrified Biologists

The typical biology student is “hardwired” to be wary of any tasks involving the application of mathematics and statistical analyses, but the plain fact is much of biology requires interpretation of experimental data through the use of statistical methods.

This unique textbook aims to demystify statistical formulae for the average biology student. Written in a lively and engaging style, Statistics for Terrified Biologists draws on the author’s 30 years of lecturing experience. One of the foremost entomologists of his generation, van Emden has an extensive track record for successfully teaching statistical methods to even the most guarded of biology students.

For the first time basic methods are presented using straightforward, jargon-free language. Students are taught to use simple formulae accurately to interpret what is being measured with each test and statistic, while at the same time learning to recognize overall patterns and guiding principles. Complemented by simple illustrations and useful case studies, this is an ideal statistics resource tool for undergraduate biology and environmental science students who lack confidence in their mathematical abilities

 

You WILL Need A Good Stats Book - Although the internet can subsitute for late night panics!

Why? How? What? Huh?

Well, it turns out that when you go out and experiment, and the fish swims a certain speed, or pops out a certain number of eggs, or bites off a specific number of fingers, you need to be able to indicate if that's a normal response, a specific response to something like water temperature, or if the fish just really hates you. Or if it's because of that chicken sandwich you were just eating.

This means you have to repeat the experiment as many times as possible, so that there can be no possible confounding factors and lots and lots of lovely data to count. And once you have these numbers, you run one or more many fun*, exciting**, straightforward***, understandable**** and relevant***** statistical tests upon your helpless data until you can discern a definite pattern, or lack of one. The student T test is a common standby; Tukey's , Chi-Squared and ANOVAs are all arcane methods of torture and p values will become small rallying flags to wrest from the enemy data and wave high in your conclusion! The P value is less than [arbitrary percentage level]! The chances of this result being an outlier from the expected normal distribution are so minuscule that it is more likely that the original theory is wrong! My hypothesis is proven!

...wait. Actually.

NO.

You never get to say that you have proven your hypothesis. it is always that you have failed to disprove it.

To make matters worse, biologically significant is not the same as statistically significant. For example, toxins - in small amounts, they're deadly, in large amounts they can be completely harmless. Variations may be due to random chance and statistics, or they may actually be tied to some other factor.

* Lies

** Lies

*** More lies

**** More... you get the idea

***** Sometimes lies. Depends if you pick the right test. And statistics do not mean anything to a snail, so it may not actually tell you anything at all.

You need a good basic statistics book! You will continue to need it! Most of the tests you learn will only be used once a year or so, each assignment being slightly different, and by higher levels... well, you're supposed to know the stuff. Too bad you've never practiced it since that course two years before.

There are a lot of online sites where you can plug in your data and have it spit out the result, but you need to understand what it's asking for. And as sometimes they give conflicting results... well, you need to be able to figure out what was meant to happen.

Practical Statistics for Field Biology
Practical Statistics for Field Biology

This was recommended by my lecturers and I managed to get my hands on a copy in a book sale! It's more a guide to what and when,a and experimental design, than a manual of actual statistics, so you'll want this together with a basic statistics book.

Provides an excellent introductory text for students on the principles and methods of statistical analysis in the life sciences, helping them choose and analyse statistical tests for their own problems and present their findings.

 

Intertidal Zonation - Marine biology means a lot of field trips to the beach

How many intertidal zones can you spot? None? Better get digging for sandhoppers then!
How many intertidal zones can you spot? None? Better get digging for sandhoppers then!

The study of intertidal zonation begins in high school (or even primary school!) and continues all through University. The only difference is that in your first year, you're supposed to notice that it exists, and in the last year, you're meant to explain it! (Explain the specific case you looked at, not that zonation in general happens).

Most intertidal studies are done on rocky shores - the ones that are made of rocks and pebbles and interesting rockpools - for the simple fact that more actually happens, and they're easier to study. Sandy beaches tend to have very little going on that can be easily sampled - most of it is in the sand, and after you've dug more than a foot it starts to get silly!

Sandy beaches send to have a lot of shellfish, and a slow gradient of soggy, mud-like, waterlogged sand, up to moist, up to dry, with the only species being sandhoppers in the rotting tideline seaweeds.

Rocky shores have very marked patterns - or vertical 'zones' - of seaweeds and animal life. Mostly, you look at the different algae (usually divided by colour and species), and the sessile creatures such as barnacles, mussels and oysters, which tend to take over.

The upper limits of the species is usually decided by the environment - how long it's out of water, mostly, and how much of a pounding the waves will give it. The lower level is usually limited by competition from the species below.

Competition isn't the only factor - some species, for example, keep down rivals of others species or provide shelter. Different barnacles grow separately or in huge clumps and can tolerate different levels of exposure.

Airbreating Rock fish - large Acanthoclinus quadridactylus, Wellington intertidal
Airbreating Rock fish - large Acanthoclinus quadridactylus, Wellington intertidal

Study Your Greens, Reds And Browns: Algae - The joys and frustrations of seaweed

Some form of green algae on a rock during an intertidal study, Wellington 2010
Some form of green algae on a rock during an intertidal study, Wellington 2010
Bright green algae - very slippery when wet!
Bright green algae - very slippery when wet!

Seaweed is actually alga, not a plant. Microalgae are the very small kinds, that aren't usually visible, and macroalgae are the 'normal' seaweeds that you'll find washed up at the beach.

While some seaweeds are instantly identifiable, most are not - even with a field guide! It can be incredibly frustrating when you get something like the picture on the right, which we ended up calling 'bright green algae No. 1'!

Red, brown and green algaes aren't always red, brown or green - the names come from the pigments, not the expressed colour!

Some kind of huge whelk
Some kind of huge whelk

Problems With Marine Research

The ocean is the last great unknown - for good reason!

  • Accessibility
  • Equipment
  • Cost
  • Sheer size
  • Difficult physical environment

Marine Mammals

New Zealand Fur Seal - Auckland Zoo
New Zealand Fur Seal - Auckland Zoo

Mammals - cetaceans, seals and sealions, of which New Zealand has various examples - don't feature much. They're all protected, more or less, and are top predators, but aren't major areas of study.

We have looked at:

  • Diving adaptations (all adapted from existing anatomy, showing that they cam from land animals)
  • Whale song, as a side project in frequency measurement, from masters thesis data.
  • And I know that a couple of the people at the university are involved in identifying individual humpback whales and tracking their pods using tail and fins shapes, and DNA analysis.
  • Fur seals also like raiding aquaculture farms, which can be an issue for proposed farms.

New Zealand Freshwater Eel
New Zealand Freshwater Eel

These eels are really big! They can get well over a metre in length and would need to hands to circle them. They taste like chicken!

Like all eels, they travel from the rivers out to sea to spawn and then return as little elvers to grow up big and strong in the rivers. Recently, they've been investigated for Aquaculture, and I got to see some tanks full of variously sized wriggling eels.

Puffer fish and red snapper in a tank at Kelly Tarlton's
Puffer fish and red snapper in a tank at Kelly Tarlton's
A crayfish - about a foot long
A crayfish - about a foot long

Crayfish

The New Zealand Lobster

Local New Zealand crustacean that lives in rock crannies around the coast. No claws, but very spiky, and extremely popular targets for divers.

  • Night-time migrations
  • Marine reserves
  • Proposed oil drilling in the South Island
  • Fishing
  • Maturity and community dynamics

A rush of bubbles in a wave
A rush of bubbles in a wave

Water Movement Physics

  • Currents and water movement
  • Sound, otoliths
  • Light
  • Density
  • Fish body shapes - carangiiforms, anguilliforms and so forth

An Ambitious Project?

Distilling an entire degree into a single page is probably impossible!

  • Other things I want to cover....
  • Aquaculture - the good and the bad
  • Crayfish migration
  • Habitats
  • Practical issues with studying the ocean
  • Algae blooms
  • Deep-sea processes in general
  • Oil drilling
  • Climate change
  • Scuba diving
  • Examples of assignments I have done
  • Plastics
  • Overfishing

Fishhook
Fishhook | Source

© 2014 FlynntheCat1

Guestbook - Are you a big drop in a small ocean today?

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    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      This is very impressive. I didn't know that you were studying this. Great article!

    • profile image

      DavidMichaelRay 4 years ago

      The science of life is so huge -gotta have respect for anyone that can look at all of that endlessness and just jump in to figure out whichever tiny little parts they can to add to the whole of knowledge.

    • jennysue19 profile image

      jennysue19 4 years ago

      I think this is a super lens. Will be referencing from my 'Fishfight' lens which is about banning EU discards and sustainable fishing generally

    • Vilja profile image

      Vilja 5 years ago from Helsinki

      This has been really useful because I'm currently looking into going back to uni to study biology. I may be crazy. I don't know yet. But now I know I need a book on statistics.

    • efriedman profile image

      efriedman 5 years ago

      Marine biology is a fascinating topic. I will feature this lens on my lens about ocean robots (wave gliders and the PacX challenge)

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      The one thing I've always known about marine biologists is that the fabled Costanza always wanted to be one.

    • madoc profile image

      madoc 5 years ago

      Great stuff on statistics and interdisciplinarity. I hope your lens gets more people to opt for this fascinating subject. 25th anniversary of Society for Oceanography comes up in 2013, and the ten-year marine survey just completed discovered oodles of new species. Great time to get into this field!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      When I was in grad school, we referred to those statistics courses as "sadistics!" ;-) I certainly enjoy the science side of things much more than anything mathematical. Very informative lens. Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @sorana lm: i totally agree this world that we have underneath our world is very unique

    • JeremiahStanghini profile image

      JeremiahStanghini 6 years ago

      Nice! Marine Biology 101... Thanks Flynn!

      With Love and Gratitude,

      Jeremiah

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 6 years ago from Burbank, CA

      what a great lens!!! I want to get a reef aquarium so I can just sti and watch. I'm going to use only fragged corals and make sure I am not having a big impact on th environment. Also, I want to do Eternal Reefs when I die. Love the ocean!

    • MoonandMagic profile image

      MoonandMagic 6 years ago

      Great lens, I love seeing all the shapes and colours of marine life, this is a well written and info-loaded lens. Thanks

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      Marine biology is a HUGE subject. If I ever "dive in", I will take one small step at the time. Your lens is simply wonderful. I also really love your paintings.

    • Lady Gotrocks profile image

      Lady Gotrocks 6 years ago

      This is a really amazing lens! If I could I would bless it twice.

    • sorana lm profile image

      sorana lm 6 years ago

      It's a fascinating world down there. Nice lens and beautiful pics.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nicely done, Flynn! Your pictures are beautiful; I am in love with the seahorse. Being a natural-born equine lover, I just adored this little "horse." You have certainly presented a TON of useful information for marine biologists!

    • profile image

      dannystaple 6 years ago

      Wow - a lot of information, which I may have to read over. I've always found marine life fascinating in it's diversity. I am also a robotics hobbyist, so one of my own ambitions is to build an submersible ROV at some point.

    • profile image

      sustainableartist 6 years ago

      Great stuff! I got very interested in marine bio after reading End of the Line by Charles Clover. It's sad as hell, but an informative read. After that I took a marine bio class, gave up most sushi and become interested in anguilla anguilla, the European eel, which is critically endangered. Your pictures bring back the wonder of dipping that first toe into studies :)

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

      Fantastic lens and wonderful images.

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 6 years ago

      I try to be a small drop!

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 6 years ago from Central Florida

      You have amazing photos in this lens. It's lovely and filled with lots of good reading.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 6 years ago from New Zealand

      Very interesting lens. I used to volunteer a marine mammal rescue facility in the states. I love the sea and its creatures. I learned heaps from this lens. Biggest surprise for me, I had no idea that seaweed is actually alga, not a plant.

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 6 years ago

      If you ever come to San Francisco, I'd love to visit any of the local aquariums with you. I think I'd learn a lot.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      This is a great page on marine biology. If I could afford to, I'd go to school to be a marine biologist. I keep a few saltwater fish and grow several types of benthic detritivores, corals, assorted copepods, and cheatomorpha in their refugium and sell them. I was hooked when I saw my first piece of live rock and a tiny amphipod came scudding out of it!

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 6 years ago from Chicago area

      love sealife & this lens!

    • ToTheBrimm LM profile image

      ToTheBrimm LM 6 years ago

      Awesome photographs.

    • mysticmama lm profile image

      Bambi Watson 6 years ago

      Interesting stuff ~ Every time I hear "Marine Biologist" it reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where George pretends to be a Marine Biologist to impress an old college sweetheart & ends up pulling one of Krammer's golf balls out of a beached whale.

      ~ Blessed by a Squid Angel >*

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image

      Missmerfaery444 6 years ago

      Absolutely superb! Thoroughly interesting and beautifully illustrated. I have always been fascinated by marine life and so this was a great read for me, thank you!

    • kathysmith lm profile image

      kathysmith lm 6 years ago

      brilliant article & basics for the beginner like me on this topic which is so vital to our survival. I am a member of Earth Organization .org and will let them know of your page. They just finished a brief documentary on the Gulf of Mexico about bioremediation product to heal the area and help on the clean up naturally.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Very interesting lens. The marine biology is so important and yet is under attack from pollution, fishing and climate change. More people need to become aware of the problems. You are helping this. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • Jhangora LM profile image

      Jhangora LM 6 years ago

      Congrats on completing the Jenga Quest and creating a very informative lens.

    • malloryjane profile image

      malloryjane 6 years ago

      Really great lens! I visited NZ last year and was really impressed with the natural conservation levels, but can't believe how little of the ocean is protected! Hopefully that will change soon...

    • juliannegentile profile image

      Julianne Gentile 6 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio, US

      I really enjoyed this lens!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      This is fantastic! A great example of a fantastic unique lens!

    • giacombs-ramirez profile image

      gia combs-ramirez 6 years ago from Montana

      On the 15th lens of jenga, flynncat gave to me....a really long lens on marine biologyyyy.... :-)

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 6 years ago from Western Mass

      thanks for your insight, ftc.

    • MikeEssex profile image

      MikeEssex 6 years ago

      Wow that was a fantastic read. The best summary of the topic I've seen and told with real passion.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Wow! What a truly fabulous and entertaining lens! Masterfully written! I could just imagine you dissecting your dinner! LOL

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 6 years ago

      You are in a world that fascinates me. Your lists of hazards sounds similar to mine with a slightly different focus, me dogs, you marine animals. And I did my final paper in one of my later biology classes on Hydrothermal Vents! Thoroughly enjoyed your essay on Marine Biology, and really understand why you love it!

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      I second the WOW. Could this be the start of a series of lenses?

      Great work! And gorgeous pictures, too.

    • MagpieNest profile image

      MagpieNest 6 years ago

      Loved it. We visit aquariums regularly. It's a brilliant thing to do with babies and small children. They love the bright colors and the general weirdness.

    • jodijoyous profile image

      jodijoyous 6 years ago from New York

      WOW!!! I loved biology (and being a sailing nut, love the sea) in school - but the math, well the math (bleah). Maybe if I'd seen that statistics book for scared biologists...Another blessing for you.

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 6 years ago

      This is an amazing lens. I can just picture you trying to teach your dinner partners a bit of marine biology while using your red snapper as teaching tool. Great Jenga block.

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      WOW, am I impressed! I'm getting married at an Aquarium next summer, so this is a topic that is certainly dear to my heart.

      I think that my favorite thing I learned in the last year about marine biology (besides this lens, of course) was seeing the video of the octopus carrying coconut shell as instant shelters.

      I am proud to give this lens it's first blessing!