The open ocean. Seems a bit boring, huh? Just miles upon kilometres of... blue. But this environment is crucial- it provides everything from food, to helps our economy, and affects our weather.
let's dive in.
the importance of the open ocean
Many marine fisheries are in the open ocean (called the high seas) where many "big" species such as tuna, swordfish, mahi mahi, herring, sardine, anchovies and more can be caught in high numbers. The open ocean is not only the provider of nourishment but also allows for transportation routes that we take advantage of- in fact, about 90% of trade between countries is via ship.
Oil spills and overfishing are some of the biggest threats here.
Take a deep breath... and another. Ahhh. Oxygen! While the rainforest provides 28% of Earth’s oxygen, marine plants actually provide 70% of Earth’s oxygen. There is one phytoplankton called PHOCLOROCOCCUS that Dr. Sylvia Earle believes provides oxygen for 1 in every 5 breaths we take!
The ocean can also absorb vast amounts of the greenhouse-warming gas carbon dioxide (CO2), and thus has helped to buffer human-caused global warming and climate change.
It should be obvious that the ocean helps control the water cycle. In the open ocean, water will evaporate from the ocean surface and rise into the atmosphere to form clouds and rain.
That ocean surface also absorbs over half the heat reaching the Earth from the sun, and distributes it through ocean currents around the world... that's right. The ocean helps determine the climate of all continents!