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Marine Life

Marine Life / What is Marine Biology? »

Marine life is the essence of MarineBio, so in this section we explore the science, biology, taxonomy, morphology, behavior, and ecological relationships of marine life that inhabits our ocean.


Ocean Requiem from Howard Hall | Watch more in the Marine Life Video Library »

Marine life database
Marine Species Database

- Search/browse our growing database of endangered, threatened, and the most common marine species...

Marine Biology is...
What is Marine Biology?

- Marine biology is the study of life in the oceans and other saltwater environments such as estuaries and wetlands. All plant and animal life forms are included from the microscopic picoplankton all the way to the majestic blue whale, the largest creature in the sea—and for that matter in the world...

Captain James Cook
A History of the Study of Marine Biology

- It wasn't until the writings of Aristotle from 384-322 BC that specific references to marine life were recorded. Aristotle identified a variety of species including crustaceans, echinoderms, mollusks, and fish...

Marine Taxonomy
The Naming of Life: Marine Taxonomy

- Marine taxonomy and the science of naming life and evolutionary relationships...

Forests of the Sea
Forests of the Sea: Phytoplankton and Marine plants

- Phytoplankton, Diatoms, Dinoflagellates, Algae, Seagrasses, and Kelp Beds: Forests of the Sea...

Zooplankton
Zooplankton

- Taxonomy, Nanoplanktonic Flagellates, Cnidarians, Rotifera, Chaetognatha, Marine Gastropods, Polychaeta, Copepods, Cladocerans, Krill, Insect Larvae, Tunicates...

Marine Invertebrates
Marine Invertebrates
: Sponges, Cnidarians, Worms, Lophophorates, Molluscs, Arthropods, Echinoderms, and Hemichordates are all animals that lack backbones and are known as invertebrates. Over 98% of species are invertebrates. Some invertebrate phyla have only one species, while others, like Arthropoda, include more than 83% of all described animal species with over a million species!

Coral Reefs
Coral Reefs

- Importance, variety and conservation issues...

Octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, and nautiloids
Octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, and nautiloids

- Cephalopod species at MarineBio.org...

Support the MarineBio Conservation SocietyIn the works:

  • Arthropods (horseshoe crabs, sea spiders, lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and barnacles),
  • Cnidarians (sea anemones, corals, sea pens, jellyfish, box jellies, and hydrozoans),
  • Echinoderms (starfish, brittle stars, sea urchins, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, crinoids, and sea daisies),
  • Hemichordates (acorn worms and Pterobranchia),
  • Lophophorates (brachiopods, bryozoans, and horseshoe worms),
  • Mollusks (bivalves, gastropods, cephalopods),
  • Sponges (calcareous, glass, demosponges), and
  • Worms (roundworms, ribbonworms, flatworms, spiny-headed, segmented, arrow, jaw, horsehair, phallus, and peanut worms).

Marine Vertebrates
Marine Vertebrates

- Marine vertebrates, classified under the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata and Subphylum Vertebrata, are among the most structurally complex organisms. The seven main superclasses and classes in Vertebrata are: Agnatha, Amphibia, Aves, Chondrichthyes (“Condr-ICK-thees”), Mammalia, Osteichthyes (“Ostee-ICK-thees”), and Reptilia.

Marine Birds
Marine Birds

- Penguins, puffins, pelicans, boobies, flamingo, etc.

Marine Fishes
Marine Fishes

- Jacks, cod, sailfish, scorpionfish, tuna, marlin, parrotfish, angelfish, barracuda, sea horses, eels, etc.

Marine Reptiles
Marine Reptiles

- Sea turtles, the marine iguana, saltwater crocodile, and sea snakes.

Sharks and Rays
Sharks & Rays

- Basking sharks, blue and bull sharks, the goblin sharks, great whites, hammerheads, lemon sharks, mantas and stingrays, nurse sharks, oceanic whitetips, tiger sharks, salmon sharks, threshers, whale sharks, wobbegongs, etc.

Marine Mammals
Marine Mammals

- For generations, whales and other marine mammals have intrigued humans. 2,400 years ago, Aristotle recognized that whales are mammals, not fish, because they nurse their young and breathe air like other mammals. There are numerous myths and legends surrounding marine mammals. The Greeks believed that killing a dolphin was as bad as murdering a human.

Seals & Sea Lions, Polar Bears, Sea Otters...
Seals & Sea Lions, Polar Bears, Sea Otters...

- Fur seals, sea lions, seals, polar bears, walruses and sea otters.

Whales and Dolphins (Cetaceans)
Whales & Dolphins (Cetaceans)

- Find out about 16 species of rare beaked whales, 28 species of dolphins, 6 species of porpoises, 6 species of baleen whales, the dwarf and pgymy sperm whales, 4 right whales, the gray whale, 6 river dolphins, the narwhal, beluga, and sperm whales.

Dolphins
Dolphins

- They're the acrobats and court jesters of the sea, troops of aerial spinners and wave dancers. Their long sleek bodies jet high into the air as they perform a grand ballet with tails propelling them as they skim each wave against the continuous horizon. Mesmerizing to watch, dolphins have been gliding, flipping and dancing into our hearts for centuries.

Structures and Adaptations to Marine Living
The Structures & Adaptations to Marine Living

- Here we look at the development and uses of marine body types, common characteristics like fins, scales and shells. We'll see how "different" marine life really is...

Grazers and Predators
The Grazers & Predators

- Let's look at the different roles of marine life. We're familiar with grazers and predators on land, how do they behave in the sea..?

Marine Life Cycles
Marine Life Cycles
- We have fission, budding, eggs that hatch internally, eggs that hatch externally, live births, some start as plankton (zooplankton), some are born in fresh water, some are born on land...

Symbionts, Parasites, Hosts and Cooperation
Symbionts, Parasites, Hosts & Cooperation

- Every form of interaction between different species is seen in the sea. Some creatures depend on each other for food, protection or a just a safe place to lay eggs. A parasite isn't always bad... see examples of cooperation that we humans could learn from...

Marine Ecology
Marine Ecology

- Marine life habitats, populations and interactions among organisms and their environment...

Trophic Structure
Trophic Structure

- All organisms in an ecosystem can be placed in trophic levels depending what energy source they rely upon and how they provide energy for other organisms in their food web...

Biotic Structure
Biotic Structure

- The way organisms interact within ecosystems. Food webs vs food chains, trophic levels, symbiosis, predators...

Ecological Regulation
Ecological Regulation

- Complex webs of factors that fit together to form balanced life systems capable of withstanding most changes...

Marine life photos
Marine Life Photo Galleries

- Browse photos of marine life from some of the world's best photographers and MarineBio staff from around the world...

Marine life videos
Marine Life Video Library

- Watch hours of videos from MarineBio Expeditions and across the Web of marine life and related movies, documentaries and even lectures...

Ecological Regulation
Marine Life Forums

- Join discussions involving the latest research & news, marine conservation, marine animals & plants, and more...

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