Tuesday, October 05, 2010

interconnected web of the sea

Underwated life is much more connected than previously understood, according to a decade-long study just released. The Census of Marine Life found that ocean creatures are tightly inter-related.

According to a Yahoo News story, a tiny shrimp-like being, Ceratonotus steiningeri, "has several spikes and claws and looks intimidating — if it weren't a mere two-hundredths of an inch long. Five years ago this critter had never been seen before...Then, off the Atlantic coast of Africa as part of the census, it was found at a depth of more than three miles below the surface." More astonishing--it is also found in the central Pacific, 8,000 miles away.

Sea creatures routinely roam wide territories. One 33-pound tuna crossed the Pacific Ocean three times in 600 days. Another species of tuna migrates 3700 miles, from North America to Europe. Some whales complete a 5,000 mile excursion north and south.

Besides laterally, ocean creatures mix between the shallows and the depths. Some species travel thousands of feet up and down. Some elephant seals can dive 1.5 miles below the surface.

Finally, just as humans and other primates share as much as 95% of their DNA, most sea life shares a similar proportion of genetic material: 85-98%, according to current estimates.

via The Daily Beast


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