Link #24: 2 In 3 Marine Species Are Still Unknown To Us

Chain of Facts - A Connection of Facts

Link #24: 2 In 3 Marine Species Are Still Unknown To Us

underwater scenery
underwater scenery by Rafael cc2.0

Brand new breakthroughs are being in relation to space technologies every year. We are getting closer and closer to our collective dreams of settling on another planet. However, while we may be expanding our space travel-related technologies, there are things on Earth itself that we’re completely ignorant of.

One of these is our oceans and the different types of organisms living in it. Did you know that about 70 percent of the planet Earth’s surface is covered with oceans?

What’s more is that of all the organisms living in our oceans, we have yet to introduce ourselves to 66 percent of them. That’s right folks – we don’t know 2 in 3 marine species living on our planet.

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What Does It Mean That We Don’t Know Two-Thirds Of Marine Species On Our Planet?

phytoplankton
Assorted diatoms as seen through a microscope. These specimens were living between crystals of annual sea ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Image digitized from original 35mm Ektachrome slide. These tiny phytoplankton are encased within a silicate cell wall.

According to marine researchers and scientists, there are approximately a million species living in the oceans. With so many different types of species, it’s surprising that we humans have only been able to catalogue about 226,000 of them. That is less than a third of the total number.

Researchers also suggest that the vast majority of species we don’t know include smaller organisms such as phytoplankton, molluscs, and crustaceans, amongst others. At the same time, there are a few larger species that we don’t know yet, such as sea snakes, whales, and even dolphins.


Why Don’t We Know 66 Percent Of Our Oceans’ Species?

underwater
Underwater by Jesse Wagstaff cc2.0

There are a number of reasons why we are still unaware of so many different species. The biggest reason, though, is the difficulty to get to them. Certain locations in our oceans are so deep that we don’t even have the technology to reach down to them! The pressure at such depths makes it impossible for humans to discover what happens there.

Consequently, the fact that these species are out of our sight is also one of the reasons we don’t know them yet. Our oceans are thriving with life. Consider the fact that a single swallow of ocean water contains 10 million viruses and 1 billion bacteria.

Then there is the motivation, or the lack of it. It’s not only that we’ve been unable to discover so much about our oceans but also that we’ve not really been interested in doing so till recently. More money has been put into space exploration than marine exploration in human history.


What Other Things Don’t We Know About Our Oceans?

NOAA_Ocean_Explorer_Okeanos
NOAA Ocean Explorer: Okeanos Explorer: Mid-Cayman Rise Expedition 2011.

You’d be surprised to know that when it comes to exploration, the vast majority of our oceans are hidden from us. It is not only the species living in them that we don’t know, but all of it. As a matter of fact, we’ve only explored about 5 percent of our planet’s oceans. In contrast, we’ve been to the moon, Mars, other planets, and even other planets’ moons.

There is a lot to discover inside our oceans. The largest mountain range on the planet is under water and stretches from the Atlantic to the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It’s as long as an unbelievable 56,000 kilometres.




Can you Guess the Next Link in the Chain?

What will be the next link in our Chain of Facts? Think you might know? Scroll down to add a comment below with your best guess.

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You can view the full list of links in the chain here.


Sources:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/two-thirds-of-world-s-marine-species-still-unidentified-study-says-1.1297850
http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/fun-surprising-facts-about-the-oceans.aspx#axzz3Kd4jLuuJ
http://news.discovery.com/animals/whales-dolphins/marine-species-unknown-121115.htm

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