Marine life is a vast resource, providing food, medicine, and raw materials, in addition to helping to support recreation and tourism all over the world. At a fundamental level, marine life helps determine the very nature of our planet. Marine organisms contribute significantly to the oxygen cycle, and are involved in the regulation of the earth's climate. Shorelines are in part shaped and protected by marine life, and some marine organisms even help create new land.
A large amount of all life on Earth exists in the oceans. Exactly how large the proportion is still unknown. While the oceans comprise about 71% of the Earth's surface, due to their depth they encompass about 300 times the habitable volume of the terrestrial habitats on Earth.
Many species are economically important to humans, including the food fishes. It is also becoming understood that the well-being of marine organisms and other organisms are linked in very fundamental ways. Human understanding is growing of the relationship between life in the sea and important cycles such as that of matter (such as the carbon cycle) and of air (such as Earth's respiration, and movement of energy through ecosystems). Large areas beneath the ocean surface still remain effectively unexplored.
|content prepaerd by the team, art work by chandana.|