Thursday, 31 July 2008

DID you know - Under the water...

Each year, three times as much rubbish is dumped into the world's oceans as the weight of fish caught.

Fish supply the greatest percentage of the world's protein consumed by humans and most of the world's major fisheries are being fished at levels above their maximum sustainable yield; some regions are severely overfished.

The swordfish and marlin are the fastest fish in the ocean reaching speeds up to 121 kph in quick bursts; the Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) may reach sustained speeds up to 90 kph.

The Blue whale is the largest animal on our planet ever (exceeding the size of the greatest known dinosaurs) and has a heart is the size of a Volkswagen.

One study of a deep-sea community revealed 898 species from more than 100 families and a dozen phyla in an area about half the size of a tennis court. More than half of these were new to science.

Life began in the seas 3.1 billion to 3.4 billion years ago. Land dwellers appeared 400 million years ago, relatively recently in geologic time.

Because the architecture and chemistry of coral is so similar to human bone, coral has been used to replace bone grafts in helping human bone to heal quickly and cleanly.

The sea level has risen with an average of 10-25 cm over the past 100 years and scientists expect this rate to increase. Sea levels will continue rising even if the climate has stabilized, because the ocean reacts slowly to changes. 10,000 years ago the ocean level was about 110 m lower than it is now. If all the world's ice melted, the oceans would rise 66 m.

The top ten feet of the ocean hold as much heat as the entire atmosphere.

The lowest known point on Earth, called the Challenger Deep, is 11,034 m deep, in the Marianas Trench in the western Pacific. To get an idea of how deep that is, if you could take Mt. Everest and place it at the bottom of the trench there would still be over a mile of ocean above it. The Dead Sea is the Earth's lowest land point with an elevation of 396 m below sea level.

The speed of sound in water is 1,435 m/sec - nearly five times faster than the speed of sound in air.

The highest tides in the world are at the Bay of Fundy, which separates New Brunswick from Nova Scotia. At some times of the year the difference between high and low tide is 16.3 m, taller than a three-story building.

The oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface and contain 97% of the Earth's water.

An estimated 80% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface and the oceans contain 99% of the living space on the planet. Less than 10% of that space has been explored by humans. 85% of the area and 90% of the volume constitute the dark, cold environment we call the deep sea. The average depth of the ocean is 3,795 m. The average height of the land is 840 m.

Sharks attack some 50-75 people each year worldwide, with perhaps 8-12 fatalities, according to data compiled in the International Shark Attack File (ISAF). Although shark attacks get a lot of attention, this is far less than the number of people killed each year by elephants, bees, crocodiles, lightning or many other natural dangers. On the other side of the ledger, we kill somewhere between 20-100 million sharks every year through fishing activities.

(Thanks to MarineBio)

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