Monday, December 7, 2009

The Ocean Biome

Abe V Rotor

Atoll, acrylic painting AVR 1995

Coral Reef, detail of mural at SPUQC, AVR 2000

UST students in phycology, study of seaweeds, Bacnotan, La Union

Abe V Rotor

Scientists today believe that eighty percent of the world’s species of organisms are found in the sea. One can imagine the vastness of the oceans as their habitat – four kilometers deep on the average (12 km at the deepest, Mariana Trench and Philippine Deep), covering 78 percent of the surface of the earth. Young people create scenarios of Jules Verne’s, “Ten Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,” such as the diorama shown here, imagining man’s futuristic exploration in the deep led by Captain Nemo, the idealistic but ruthless scientist. Such scenarios are no longer fantasy today – they are scenes captured by the camera and other modern tools of research.

Latest development

An international team of scientists has discovered 17,000 species living in darkness some three miles beneath the surface of the world's oceans. Scientists believe there are thousands more species yet to be discovered. Among the bottom dwellers discovered are Enypnioastes - a species of transparent sea cucumber that feed on sediments on the ocean floor; Neocyema, rare fish, elongated and orange in color found in the Atlantic Ocean; Dumbo, a six-foot octopus; and Copepods, almost microscopic crustaceans sub-species of freshwater species. (Time, December 17-09)

Our concern on the ocean biome is not one of exploration alone, but conservation, for our oceans, limitless as they seem, are facing the same threats of pollution and other abuses man is inflicting on land and air. The sea is man’s last frontier. Let us give it a chance.~

Miniature diorama of a tropical coral reef, SPUQC Museum

Living with Nature 3, AVR

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