07 February 2011

Carnival of the Blue #45

The epipelagic: The sunlight zone

The surface of the ocean is the place that most of us are familiar with, since this is where the water meets the land. Humans have been driving stakes into the mud flats and beaches for generations.

The interactions of humans with the denizens of these shallow waters are not always... friendly. And well lit does not always mean “visible.” Heed well the tale of Ivan, he who stepped on a stonefish and live to tell thee the tale.

On rockier shores, we get tidal pools that house delightful animals like hermit crabs. There are more crabs than snails in some places, according to Wandering Weeta. This clearly warrants further investigation.

This top layer of the ocean is also where the fresh waters of the land mix with the salt waters of the seas. Some fish brave both environments. Salmon are born in the fresh waters of rivers and streams, the live their lives trying to find their way home again. This clearly warrant immortalization in poem.

The mangroves are often near all the interface of all three: the sea, the fresh waters, and the land. Fishpond Fever looks at the sediments and bacteria you’ll find down among the mangrove roots...

The mesopelagic: The twilight zone

Going deeper, light is slowly filtered out. But you can still make out human activity at some of these depths. Like, say, establishing an oil rig. Last year, of course, oil drilling led to an massive escape of oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Emily discusses a report about the BP oil accident and wants your take.

The bathypelagic: The midnight zone

This deeper layer probably makes up a large amount of the total volume of the world’s oceans. When Danielle Meitiv talks about how the ocean will absorb the carbon dioxide humans are putting into the atmosphere, this is probably where much of it will end up (even if we’re more focused on shallower waters where corals live). Danielle’s good news is that some chemistry might mitigate things.

Abyssopelagic: The abyss

Light doesn’t penetrate to the deep sea. The only light to be see are those of biolumiscent animals, and those we bring ourselves. It’s no wonder that Danielle calls the ocean deep the most mysterious ecosystem on earth. (Incidentally, she describes how not to preserve a giant isopod.)

Hadopelagic: The trenches

Finally, we have the deep ocean trenches. Sadly, there were no posts on the literal ocean trenches, so let me to play with the double meaning of “in the trenches”: not only can it mean being in the deep ocean, it can mean being in a difficult working environment.

When you’re being sexually harassed by a giant sea turtle during your working day, you might wish that you could escape from the workplace trenches to the actual trenches. Just for a little while.

As we ascend back to the surface, prepare for next month’s dip into the depths at Oceanographer’s Choice! And the Carnival is looking for hosts for the second half of the year.

Salmon picture by toddraden on Flickr; trench photo by drakegoodman on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.

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