Get to Know Our Planet: Part 2 - The Ocean

In celebration of Earth Day 2021, let's take a closer look at what makes our planet truly spectacular! Unique eco-systems are home to equally unique animals. It is our responsibility to do our part to keep our planet safe and healthy so all species can survive. Learning about the planet is a great first step in understanding how we are all connected. In this three-part series we will look at the desert, rainforest and ocean and some animals that call these ecosystems home. Come along for the journey you are sure to be surprised and delighted discovering these creatures!

The ocean, also known as the sea or the world ocean, is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth. These five oceans are, in descending order by area the: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern (Antarctic), and Arctic Oceans. Many types of sea and plant live thrive in the ocean. Here we will explore a few species that live in the mysterious ocean!

It probably comes as no surprise that fish live in the ocean. Fish are defined as aquatic animals that possess gills but do not have limbs with digits. The gills of a fish work similarly to our lungs and allow it to breathe underwater. Just as our lungs exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide, the fish's gills perform a similar function, which allow them to take oxygen from water. The world's oceans are home to over 20,000 species of fish! Many types of fish can be found including bluefish, cod, flounder, striped bass, sea trout, tuna, halibut, rockfish and yellowtail. Fun fact! Did you know an eel is an example of a jawless fish? Dwarf goby are the tiniest species of fish at 9mm long and the ocean sunfish can be as huge as 5000 pounds!

Turtles are incredible animals that have evolved over millions of years! They are among the oldest and most primitive groups of reptiles. Turtles are cold-blooded and inhabit both freshwater and seawater habitats. Sea turtles live most of their life in water and possess flippers instead of feet, which they use to move through the water smoothly. A turtle's shell is kind of like an external rib cage and protects it. It is made up of about 60 bones that are covered by plates called scutes. Fun fact! Scutes are made of keratin, the same material that makes up human fingernails. Unlike male sea turtles, which never leave the sea, the female species lays her eggs on land. Dry sandy beachy are ideal for the female turtle - who will bury the eggs into the sand. Remarkably, the female turtle lays about 100 eggs!

Although sharks are also a type of fish, they deserve special attention in this article. Sharks have inhabited the ocean waters for millions of years and played a critical role in maintaining a healthy ocean through predation. There are over 500 species of sharks in the world ocean with varying characteristics including size and shape. The size ranges from 6.7 inches in length to 40 feet in length. Sharks are found in all the world oceans and commonly inhabit depth of 6,600 feet. Some of the well-known species include basking shark, blue shark, bull shark, tiger shark, hammerhead shark, white shark, and the Zebra shark. Their bodies are covered by dermal denticles that offer protection to the skin and improving fluid dynamics.

We hope you have enjoyed this Part Two of our Earth Day - 3 part series. Part 3 explores our rainforests and the creatures that live there and Part 1 (if you missed it!) investigates the desert and the animals that call it home. Let's work together to take care of our planet for generations to come! Share what you've learned with us @terrabybattat and for more fun animal facts.