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Marine Life 101: What is Marine Biology, Basics of Oceanic Life

Learn about marine biology, what marine biology is and the basics of oceanic life. Learn what distinguishes oceanic life from terrestrial life.
  1. Glossary - Marine Life and Marine Biology Terms (143)

What is Marine Biology?
Marine biology is the scientific study of plants and animals that live in salt water. When many people think about a marine biologist, they picture a dolphin trainer. But marine biology is so much more. Learn about the field of marine biology, a marine biologist's tools and the importance of studying the oceans and their marine life and habitats.

Characteristics of Marine Life
There are thousands of species of marine life, from tiny zooplankton to enormous whales. Each is adapted to the specific habitat it occupies. Throughout the oceans, marine organisms must deal with several things that terrestrial life do not, including regulation of salt, obtaining oxygen, and adapting to water pressure. Learn about ways marine...

The Ocean
Facts about the ocean, major oceans of the world, and what the ocean is like as a marine life habitat.

The Oceans
There are 5 major oceans in the world. Here you'll find a list of the oceans of the world, along with where the oceans are found and how big they are.

How Do Marine Animals Sleep?
Sleeping in the ocean is definitely different than sleeping on land. As we learn more about sleep in marine life, we're learning that marine animals don't have the same requirements for long periods of undisturbed sleep that we do. Here you can learn more about how different types of marine animals sleep.

Whale Migration
There are over 80 species of whales, and each has their own movement patterns, but in general, whales migrate toward the colder poles in the summer and toward the more tropical waters of the equator in the winter. This pattern allows whales to take advantage of the productive feeding grounds in colder waters in the summer, and then when productivity lowers, to migrate to warmer waters and give bi…

Human Uses For Marine Algae (Seaweeds)

Marine algae, commonly called seaweeds, is important for food and shelter in the ocean. Algae also does photosynthesis like our land plants, which provides oxygen for both the ocean and the rest of the Earth.

There are also a myriad of human uses for algae, which include food, medicinal and agricultural. Learn more about the plants in the ocean here.

What Is a Cartilaginous Fish?
What is a cartilaginous fish? Learn about cartilaginous fish - the group of fish that includes elasmobranchs: sharks, rays and skates.

What Is a Bony Fish?
Learn about bony fish - what is a bony fish? What are the characteristics of bony fish? You can also learn some examples of bony fish species.

What Is the Largest Fish?
What is the largest fish? Learn about the largest fish in the world.

Whale, Dolphin or Porpoise - Characteristics of Different Types of Cetaceans
Is it a whale, dolphin or porpoise? These terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference.

What is the Difference Between Seals and Sea Lions?
Seals, sea lions and walruses are all in the order Carnivora and suborder Pinnipedia,and are called pinnipeds. There are three families of pinnipeds, the Phocidae (earless or true seals); the Otariidae (eared seals), and the Odobenidae (walrus.) This article focuses on the difference between the earless seals and the eared seals, or sea lions.

What Are the Differences Between Baleen and Toothed Whales?
There are over 80 recognized species of whales, dolphins and porpoises, or cetaceans, and these species are divided into two main groups: the baleen whales and the toothed whales. While they are all considered whales, there are some important differences between the baleen whales and toothed whales.

What Is the Largest Jellyfish?
What is the largest jellyfish? Learn about the largest jellyfish, where it is found, and whether it is dangerous to humans.

Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus) Migration
Shark scientists have questioned basking shark migration for decades. An an article in 1954 proposed that basking sharks hibernated on the ocean bottom during the winter, as shark sightings were scarce once cold weather hit. Tagging studies on sharks have revealed new information on at least one population of basking sharks.

Killer Whale (Orca) Dorsal Fin Collapse
Learn why a killer whale - orca's - dorsal fin collapses, or flops over, when it is in captivity.

Definition of dorsal.

Why Is the Sea Salty?
Learn about why the sea is salty and where salt in the ocean comes from.

Why Is the Sea Blue?
Why is the sea blue? Learn about the color of the ocean, and why it looks green, blue, or even red or brown.

The Ocean
Information about the ocean, including questions and answers about the ocean.

How Salty is the Ocean?
The ocean is made up of fresh water and minerals called "salts." Learn how salty the ocean is.

Do Whales Drink Seawater?
We need to drink lots of water each day. Do whales? Learn more here.

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