Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Discover the Biological Sciences

The introductory information for this site has been contributed as a joint assignment by students in Bio. Sci. 10.

Marine Biology

By: David Zakrzewski


Marine Biology is the scientific study of life in the worlds oceans and other marine or brackish bodies of water.  Marine biology is a vast field of study because over 70% of the world is covered with water.  Because the the size of the environment their is a large variation in the life to be found.  From studying the microscopic life to studying the larges animals on the planet. Marine biology classifies species based on their environment not their taxonomy
Because of the size of the ecosystem their is many things to learn from marine biology.  You could study microscopic life which still has a lot to be discovered in the marine ecosystem.  Plants and algae which provides us with 90% of the oxygen we breath.  Phycology is the sub-discipline of botany, the study of algae.  Marine invertebrates which is a large potion of the life in the sea. Sea worms shellfish, squid, octopus, jellyfish, and sponges are some of the invertebrates in the sea.  The study of fish is a large branch of marine biology called Ichthyology.  Ichthyology which has been around for a long time which started out of mans basic need feed, clothe, and equip themselves.  Reptiles are another life to be explored covering sea turtles, marine iguanas, sea snakes, and salt water crocodiles.  You could also study sea birds like penguins and albatross.  You could also study marine mammals and their five main types, Cetaceans (whales), Sirenians (manatees), Pinnipeds (seals), Mustelidae (sea otters), and Ursidae (polar bears).
Some of the oceanic habitats are coral reefs, deep sea trenches, open oceans, intertidal, and shore.  Coral reefs are a very dens and diverse habitat.  In 1998 El Nino caused a "once and a thousand years" bleaching event.  Large chunks of reefs across the world died because the seas surface temperature rose above normal. Deep sea trenches are an interesting ecosystem not very hospitable by our standards.  With high pressure to the lack of light life still find a way to carry on.  Some life has adapted to be able to create their own light. Lots of new life forms are being discovered in the trenches.  The open ocean is just the term huge expanse of the ocean.  Usually it is not occupied by much life its mostly occupied by large species.  the intertidal zones are close to the shore where a lot of ocean life does most of their business.

To me it is interesting that they classify by the life's environment.   So you end up with groups which are really different other than the fact they live in the same ecosystem.  Also I find this field so interesting because their is so much left to discover. 
Their are so many practical application for the information.  Things like studying marine biomolecules for medical uses.  Studying the oceans temperature and its changes because it has a large effect on the worlds temperature.   Ocean current can significantly influence the climate of the coastal areas.  Bacteria found in sponges for new pharmaceuticals.

-marine biology

(return to the "Discover the Biological Sciences" main index page)

W3C Logo: Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional W3C Logo: Valid CSS