Millions of animal and plant species live in the world’s waters, with perhaps millions more still to be discovered. They are finely balanced ecosystems, and their proper functioning is critical to the survival of all species on the planet. Many people consider marine life to be distinct from land life, although the two are significantly more intertwined than we might believe. People’s actions and decisions have a significant impact on the health of our aquatic friends. Also, check out the best marine company in Malaysia.
What is marine life?
All animals, plants, and creatures that live in Earth’s salty seas and oceans are referred to as marine life. The healthy functioning of these remarkable, sophisticated ecosystems is dependent on all organisms, from the tiny plankton to the greatest whale.
Coral reef ecosystems
Coral reefs are rich in variety and colour, and they are home to millions of marine species all over the world. They act as a natural barrier against the ocean’s strength, safeguarding coastal populations from extreme weather occurrences like tsunamis. They are incredibly essential as food chains because they provide a habitat for marine creatures to survive, feed, rear their young, and prosper.
Unfortunately, they are also extremely vulnerable to sea-level rise, which is a direct outcome of climate change. Due to a nine-month marine heatwave in 2016, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef lost 30% of its coral reef, the biggest reef loss ever recorded. Reef fishing has also resulted in the extinction of animals, as food networks are disrupted and predators are unable to survive.
There are dozens of distinct species of ocean fish, but as we allow commercial fishing fleets to fish our oceans, their populations are steadily dwindling. Atlantic cod, for example, can live for up to 25 years, but their numbers have plummeted to dangerously low levels.
Marine mammals are bigger aquatic creatures that dwell underwater but require air to breathe. These marine mammals continue to perish unnecessarily around the world as a result of habitat degradation, being captured and killed by fishing fleets (“fishing bycatch”), hunting, and noise pollution.
Seabirds play an important part in marine ecosystems, but their numbers have declined by 70% since the middle of the twentieth century, with environmentalists claiming that the fishing industry is driving them to extinction. Pollution and habitat damage are also factors.
Why is marine life important?
The seas supply half of the world’s oxygen and play a key role in maintaining the health of our planet’s environment. Our weather systems are controlled by ocean currents, for example, and if they are disrupted, the extreme weather consequences would be terrible. The oceans can only provide these functions by maintaining perfectly regulated ecosystems made up of food chains and biological systems. Human population puts us at danger of losing essential ecosystem services that we rely on to survive.
Coral reefs are one example. When we fish near coral reefs, their delicate ecosystems are disrupted and often die. Coral reefs provide critical services such as erosion and weather protection, biochemical regulation, and enjoyment. This is only one of the many reasons why protecting the oceans is so important for our own health.