4. Ocean Made Earth Habitable
It is because of the ocean that we are able to live on our planet. Without water, the planet as we know it would not exist.
The ocean is so important to us because it provides us with resources that we could not live without, resources like food, travel, energy, and most importantly: OXYGEN
Oxygen is the element that we breathe in to make our bodies function. It is found in the air all around us and over 50% of the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean. Just like on land, there are plants all over the ocean that take in carbon dioxide and the sun's energy and turn it into food and oxygen. This process is called Photosynthesis. It is because of photosynthesis that we have oxygen.
Organisms that produce oxygen come in many shapes, sizes, and types. One of the most common forms of a photosynthetic organism in the ocean is Seaweed!
Seaweed is not a plant at all! It is a microalgae. It does not have roots but instead attaches itself to rocks or other substrates to prevent from floating away. It is not a weed either but it is a very important piece of any ecosystem. Seaweed can serve many purposes, such as food and habitat to other organisms.
One example is a Kelp Forest, found on the west coast of North America. Sea otters in particular love kelp because they can find all of their delicious food like sea urchins near it. They can use kelp for camouflage. The mothers will also tie up their pups in the kelp so the babies do not float away while the mother searches for food. You can earn a badge by completing The Amazing Sea Otter Assignment!
Another type of photosynthetic organism is Seagrass. Seagrasses are very similar to plants that you find on land. They have roots that bury into the ocean floor which provide nutrients to the grass, along with the sun's energy. Seagrasses also provide an excellent habitat for organisms. Eelgrass is an excellent example of this, forming the base for an important ecosystem in the lowest area of the intertidal zone. Can you spot the sea star in this photo?
It is thanks to these photosynthetic organisms that life is able to be sustained on earth. The ocean also provides food, habitat, nutrients, and many other resources which makes it essential to our survival. This is why it is so important to take care of the ocean, without it we would not have life on earth.
After you have completed the The Amazing Sea Otter Assignment, you can take your new understanding of how the ocean supports life on earth and complete the principle quiz HERE. When you have completed the quiz you may move on to the next section Diversity in the Ocean.
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