ocean waves

5 amazing (and one terrifying) facts about the ocean

Jun 8, 2019 - 3min read

It’s World Oceans Day on Saturday 8th June, a global celebration of our seven seas and their importance to our planet. And most importantly, a moment in time to highlight why drastic change is required to protect them.

Since it was set up by The Ocean Project in 2002, people have been attending events, raising awareness or simply taking the time to cherish the deep blue, we wanted to celebrate this day with five timely facts about our oceans, and one that will shake you to your core...

Over 70% of the Earth’s oxygen comes from the sea

Protecting natural plants and habitats is critical to maintaining the earth’s oxygen levels and keeping the air clean, but did you know that most of those plants are actually under the sea? Between 70 - 80% of the oxygen which keeps us alive comes from aquatic plants such as phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton. Some scientists believe that phytoplankton levels have declined by 40% since the 1950s due to the oceans getting hotter, increased levels of pollution and habitat destruction.

Around 94% of all earthly life lives in the ocean

It might be hard to believe, but land-based life forms make up just 6% of all life on earth, many of which have not yet been discovered.  Aquatic life includes almost 200,000 different viruses, vampiric squids, the infamous ‘blobfish’ and tonnes of other amazing life forms. Our oceans are like another planet entirely, containing a teeming ecosystem of life that sustains us on dry land.

Humans have explored less than 5% of the world’s oceans

Crushing water pressure, invisible threats and the little fact that we can’t breathe underwater makes it quite hard to explore the depths of the ocean: in fact, we have more maps of Mars than we do of our own seas!  With so much left to be explored, it’s not surprising that we only know a fraction of the total life living in the sea. Most aquatic life forms have yet to be discovered, so there are things living in the ocean that you and I couldn’t even imagine. Think about that next time you scoff at a Loch Ness Monster sighting!

The largest mountain chain is under the sea

Did you know the ocean has its own mountains? The Mid-Ocean Ridge is 65,000 kilometres long and is almost entirely underwater. The ocean also has its own lakes and rivers: when salt water and hydrogen combine, it becomes denser than the surrounding water and can turn into a lake or river running under the sea.

The ocean makes up 70% of the Earth

Did you know that almost three quarters of the earth's surface is made up of oceans? This may explain why there are more historical artefacts, including statues, shipwrecks and even cities, under the sea than in all the world's museums put together. We really do live on a blue planet…

And finally… urgent action is required.

8 million tonnes of plastic are thrown into the ocean every year

Plastic littering the ocean isn’t just ugly: it’s dangerous. Plastic contains toxins which can pass into the bloodstream and can interfere with reproduction, metabolism, liver and kidney function, so it’s worrying that one in three fish that end up in the supermarket have plastic inside them.

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