Let’s Learn!

Don’t get scared by the title I promise this will be a fun learning experience! If you know me in person, you know that I love to learn (I have a double degree in marine science and biology). I came across this article from BuzzFeed titled “16 Things No One Knows About The Ocean” and it caught my attention. I was questioning these statements because honestly I didn’t believe that with the technology we have these days there is no way we didn’t know some of the accusations BuzzFeed was stating.  So the inner nerd in me wanted to know more. I absolutely believe that there is so much more out there that we do not know. If you didn’t know the ocean covers over 70% of the Earth and we have only explored less than 5 percent of it. I am not saying all of the 16 things BuzzFeed said were false, I am just saying don’t believe everything you read and do your own research. Let’s take a look…

  1. About two-thirds of all marine life remain unidentified.

We have actually identified over 250,000 marine species. BuzzFeed said that two-thirds remain unidentified however that is suggesting that we know how much marine life there is (which we don’t). See what I am getting at… Scientists believe that there are over one million species we still haven’t identified so technically BuzzFeed isn’t wrong there is just more to the story.

   2. No one knows what made this sound.



*Image is BuzzFeed.com, no copyright intended*

Surprise we actually do know what made this sound. It was an icequake which is ice breaking up and cracking. Its a common sound in the southern ocean. Now wasn’t that easy.

3. There are probably halibut bigger than this, which broke world records at 515 pounds.



*Image is BuzzFeed.com, no copyright intended*

This is definitely the biggest Atlantic halibut on record and there are probably more somewhere out there but if we keep fishing the way we are they aren’t going to be around much longer. Halibut can live for over 50 years but females grow much slower than males which makes they vulnerable for overfishing. Newsflash, Atlantic halibut are already endangered so I don’t really understand why this guy isn’t getting in trouble for catching it.

4. We might not have identified eight whale and dolphin species.

The only things we don’t know about cetaceans (whales/dolphins) are why whales sing, how whales sing, what species produces 52 Hertz song (could be a hybrid), what whales hear and what they cannot. I think the author of this article is stretching and didn’t have anything else to put in to make it 16 facts. FUN FACTS: Scientists just discovered that dolphins can remember other dolphins for decades and they have names for each other.

5. About 90% of the ocean is unmapped.

We have mapped it using satellite data, we just haven’t using certain resolutions.

6. Because 95% of it we haven’t explored, meaning there COULD be mermaids.

Now I want to believe in mermaids as much as the next person, however it is just not possible. I’M SORRY. We would have fossil records, evidence, something to show that they are real. When scientists say unexplored they mean unseen by human eyes which means we still know something about it like temperature, salinity, currents, environment, etc.

7. Mysterious rivers and lakes exist underwater, with creatures found nowhere else.

This one is TRUE. We do not know about these lakes and rivers. We know that they exist due to pockets of water having a different chemical design than the surrounding water.

8. There are likely more new deep-sea shark species than even this fishing expedition turned up with last year.


*Image is BuzzFeed.com, no copyright intended*

There have been a new shark species, skate, or ray that has been discovered at least every two weeks for the past decade. We just discovered a new species of hammerhead shark off the coast of South Carolina. This is just stating the obvious.

9. How much fish would a fishery fish if a fishery could fish deep-sea marine habitats?

It’s not that we lack data on deep sea fisheries effects, we don’t know how long it’ll take to recover or if they can.

10. Somebody just south of New Zealand caught this 39-foot-long Colossal Squid, but we don’t know a lot about it.



*Image is BuzzFeed.com, no copyright intended*

Colossal squid have been around since 1925 when two tentacles were found in the stomach of a sperm whale. The squid make up 77% of the sperm whales diet. They can reach 40 feet long and weigh half a ton. They live in the deepest, darkest parts of the sea. So we do have some information on them.

11. In the Triassic period, the Kraken may have eaten bus-sized Ichthyosaurs.

This one is just wrong. There is no evidence whatsoever that a Kraken existed in the Triassic period.

12. We know about seven underwater waterfalls, but there could be more.

We do know this. Underwater waterfalls are called cascades and have been known about for years. They form when waters different densities meet.

13. It’s also unclear how many valuable minerals are hiding out in the water.

It’s true that it’s unclear how many minerals there are, they actually do not come from the water. They come from the sea floor.

14. Off the coast of Cuba, some researchers discovered a possible lost city..?



*Image is BuzzFeed.com, no copyright intended*

This was taken by a Canadian company that took sonar images off the sea floor in Cuba. Dr. Robert Ballard a professor of oceanography said that it was 2,000 ft down and humans couldn’t live there. It is super unusual but nature is a crazy thing that can create structures.

15. And no one’s entirely sure what this rock structure is doing here.



This image comes from the Baltic Sea. This is what a researcher at Woods Holes Oceanographic Institute said.

First, he says, if you look carefully, you can see a reflection of the circular formation on the right side of the image. Since side-scan sonar is taken with two instruments that bounce acoustic waves in opposite directions from the boat, a feature on one side shouldn’t affect the image on the other side. “This means you’ve got ‘cross-talk,’ in which one channel is electrically contaminating the other,” Singh says. In other words, the sonar instruments aren’t wired properly. Strike one, he says.

Strike two: The black horizontal lines going through the image show that sonar signals are dropping out (that is, the instruments aren’t detecting them), further calling the measurements into question, Singh says. Finally, he says, the edges of the image, just beyond the circular formation, are gray, meaning the sonar couldn’t tell what was there. That shows the sonar isn’t calibrated well enough to trust, Singh says. “That’s strike three.”

So believe what you want.

16. But the biggest unknown is how to go about studying the ocean, when most of it doesn’t really want to be found.

I’m pretty sure the ocean doesn’t want or not want anything. Marine biologists have been studying the ocean for centuries. New technology has allowed us to learn more and more every year. It’s a little insulting to scientists to say everything about the unknown when we have discovered so much already.

There is a bonus message at the bottom and I really liked that it said respect the sea but then it says “because we don’t know what’s in it”. We should respect it because we know a lot about it. Only 10% of the ocean is protected and over 50% of the oxygen in the water is produced by tiny organisms. We need to ocean to live!

BuzzFeed isn’t a credible source but the article has been shared over 3,000 times. That’s a ton of people being misinformed. I hope this didn’t bore you to much and you enjoyed my first post.

Sources: Discover magazine, BuzzFeed, and NOAA. No copyright intended.

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