Swimming pool etiquette, often referred to as lap swimming etiquette, is better known as the set of rules that are laid down to ensure that the swimmers enjoy a smooth swimming experience. If you are beginner, it makes sense that you first familiarize yourself with the swimming etiquettes so that you do not interrupt the experience of others as well.
When you visit a swimming pool or closely study the behavior of the professional swimmers, you will realize that they follow certain rules, especially when they are sharing a lane. If you would like to be respected as a well behaved swimmer, make sure you too abide by these rules.
Thus, before you hit the swimming pool, it is essential that you become aware of the lap swimming etiquettes. In this article we have laid down a few swimming rules that will help you enjoy a comfortable and smooth swim.
To start with, it is important that you measure the speed of each of the lanes and join the one which you determine that the swimmers are swimming at your speed. This is important because if you are slow swimmer and you join a lane that has professional swimmers who swim really fast, this will distract them as they will be constantly swimming past you.
Similarly, if at any lane you are alone you may follow the middle line and swim. When there are two swimmers in the lane, it can be easily divided into halves, so that each swimmer has the liberty to swim in one half of the area. Furthermore, the swimmers may also use the circle technique. This is the case when there are over two swimmers in a lane. The circle format is mostly followed in the counterclockwise manner.
When you are joining a lane for the first time, you may enter the water slowly and wait at one side of the water during one lap, or until other swimmers have noticed that you have joined that lane. In case you are the second person to join the lane, you may discuss with the other partner to work out a pattern for you.
Upon joining a lane don’t dive right from the starting blocks as this may be distracting or frightening for existing swimmers that are currently focused on their laps and they have no idea as to what is going on. Usually, diving from the starting blocks should take place only under the supervision of an experienced coach or when there are no lap swimmers in the pool.
When you wish to go past a slow swimmer, make sure you tap him gently on the foot so that he/ she knows what you are up to. They will stop at the end of the lane, and give you pass so that you can go ahead of them. You are required to do the same, if someone taps on your feet and requests for a pass.
Finally, as we all know that swimming pools are great places to socialize with friends so if you happen to meet someone you know, don’t talk in between the lane as you would be distracting and disturbing others.
Come summertime your family would be craving to go for a summer retreat, but this season, why don’t you do something special? Your backyard was neglected throughout the winter days, so now it’s time to add some magic to it and transform it into an awesome vacation retreat. Does the idea of having a summer retreat right in your backyard sound interesting to you? Your family can join the fun and create an awesome summer backyard that will give you joy for years to come and trust me, the fruits of hard labor are really sweet to enjoy. Here are some great landscaping ideas that will help you infuse more fun to your backyard.
Landscaping Ideas to Create a Garden Escape
There are several types of traditional garden and landscaping styles that you may use as a model to recreate your backyard garden. You may also be creative and include your own special touch to the plethora of traditional styles to make it appear more urban design. One of the most important things about the landscape designing is that you must use what you have and work on it to create an aesthetic appeal. Some of the traditional styles that can add your personal touch to are as follows:
English garden style makes use of a wide range of perennials and shrubs in their design to complement the British architectural style of the homes. Some of the other traditional aspects that you may add to the garden are decorative elements such as a bird bath or an arbor.
Oriental landscape is another important style that you may use as a base for designing your backyard garden, and this design mainly uses evergreens, rocks, and water bodies to create that unique oriental look. This style is mostly popular in the Japanese Zen gardens and you may add your own personal styling to create a more unique design.
The woodland landscape is another interesting way of recreating your backyard, and it reflects a more natural landscape that includes faunas that grow in the wooded regions. This traditional design of the landscape has a less manicured appearance, and this comes as a good choice when you do not have much time to spend on maintenance work.
The butterfly gardens are also a great way of adding landscape beauty to the backyard, and for this you may add bird species or butterfly that are more common to your region to make the backyard look more welcoming. There are some specific of plants that works like a good food source for butterflies and birds, and they help in attracting these colorful species.
The Xeriscape gardens are another traditional landscape idea that you may use to transform your backyard and make a wonderful retreat right inside your own property. This style includes several low-water flowers and plants, and it also includes ideas to reduce the water evaporation.
When you have a landscape design that you are really happy with, you and your family will spend more time in the backyard and there will be no need to go out for a summer vacation.
If you are considering swimming and are looking for health benefits of swimming then you have come to the right place. Believe it or not, swimming is one of the best sports that not only rejuvenates the swimmer but also provides myriads of health benefits. This is the reason why the avid swimmers are some of the most active and healthy people on earth. If you are still looking for reasons before you can commit yourself to a regular swimming schedule then read on.
Swimming Ensures a Complete Body Workout
One of the biggest benefits of swimming is that it provides whole body workout. It engages your limbs perfectly and as a result each muscle in your body gets worked out. You can enhance this effect by using different types of strokes in the swimming workout as each of these strokes help you move your limbs in a particular direction. As the workout mobilizes your limbs with a plethora of movements, it also leads to joint flexibility.
Incredible Cardiovascular Exercise
Swimming not only acts as a complete body workout but also as an incredible cardiovascular exercise. This is a great endurance testing sport, and works like an outstanding cardiovascular exercise. These exercises help in lowering your blood pressure, enhancing your aerobic capacity, and strengthening the health of your heart.
Low Impact Exercise
Besides that, it also acts like an amazing low impact exercises for those who are not interested in cardiovascular exercises or intense workouts. At the time of swimming, water supports your body and as we know water has more density than air and this restricts the speed with which you can move inside it, hence these aspects make swimming one of the most low-impact exercises that can be practiced.
Lose or Control your Weight
Swimming has several other health benefits, and one of the biggest ones is that it acts like an endurance sport that allows you to lose or control your weight. This amazing sport helps you burn about 3 calories per mile. If you are looking to lose weight by swimming then you would need to swim at least twice or thrice a week, for nearly half an hour.
Alleviating Body Pain
Swimming is also helpful in alleviating body pain, as this awesome sport can provide relief from the different types of aches. Due to this, swimming is often prescribed by the doctors for patients who experience back problems and ache. The backstroke swimming pattern works like a great exercise option to relieve the stress and toughen your back.
Swimming is also good for the elderly people and those who are pregnant. Pregnant women are especially recommended to try swimming to ease their discomfort. The injured athletes may also try this awesome workout to feel energized and rejuvenated. Swimming is also recommended for individuals on a high blood pressure diet and the overweight people, not only for their wide ranging health benefits but also because swimming has numerous psychological benefits.
Reference: Psychological Benefits of Swimming
Many people engage in swimming as a pastime activity. In fact, during the summer season, a lot of people spent their free time either in beaches or in the pool swimming. However, swimming is a type of water based sport. There are professional swimmers that participate in different types of swimming competitions. FINA – Federation International de Natation – is the body that governs swimming sport and competition across the globe.
Sport of swimming did not just start today. It has gone through ages and its origin could be traced to the prehistoric times, as far back as the Stone Age. Certain Stone Age paintings which dated back to 7,000 years ago show that mankind has started swimming in that era. Besides the Stone Age paintings, there were also written records in 2000 BC about swimming. Some ancient history and religious books that have references of swimming include the Bible, Quran, Iliad, Gilgamesh, Odyssey, Beowulf and other sages. The first book in history that dwelt on swimming was written by a German Professor of languages, Nikolaus Wynmann in 1778. The book was titled The Swimmer of a Dialogue on the Art of Swimming.
However, swimming as a competitive sport began in the United States of America around the 19th century AD. During this time, a good number of the Americans were competing in swimming as a means of settling their differences in the frontier. Swimming as a competitive sport was popularized in the same century. Just as the case with other types of competitive sports, the essence of swimming competition is to outdo one’s follow competitors. Swimming competition also enables the competitors to improve on their swimming skills. Before a person engages in any swimming competition, the person will do a lot of training that will enable him or her to emerge victorious. Through these series of supervised training, the swimmer will acquire a lot of swimming skills.
Today, swimming is one of the competitive water sports done during the Summer Olympic Games. There are swimming events for both men and female swimmers. The Olympic swimming competition is done in a 50-meter pool and there are different types of swimming competition covering different distances that are done during the Olympics.
Besides swimming in the pool, there is also open water swimming. Open water swimming is a type of swimming competition done in open natural water such as the sea or the lake. Different distances are covered in these open water swimming events such as 5 km, 10 km and 25 km. Men and women can also participate in such events. However, this type event can be more challenging than swimming in the pool especially if one has to swim against the water current or in a tiding body of open water.
In the swimming events, there are different types of swimming strokes that can be used depending on the swimming event one is participating in. Some of the common types of swimming strokes include the dolphin kick, backstroke, butterfly style, breast-stroke and others.
Reference: Officials in Swimming Competition
Pollution is either land pollution, air pollution or water pollution. In any case, it is all harming the planet. While we may not think of all the different types of pollution out there, we need to educate ourselves so we can do something about it.
Human activity can change the temperature of fresh water bodies such as lakes or rivers. The most common form of thermal pollution is the use of water as a cooling agent in power plants.
Shipping is a major source of pollution and the dumping of waste from cruise liners and yachting. Super tanker transporting crude oil and other petrochemicals have regularly been in the news with terrible accidents causing wide-spread pollution at sea and at land. Oil slicks stay on the water for a long time and are lethal to wildlife, marine and on shore. The fisheries depending on healthy fish stocks in the affected coastal regions were never fully compensated for their loss.
Another form of water pollution arises from gold mining in the rainforest where high pressure water treatment washes clear the gold from within the soil but at the same time phosphates are released and pollute the rivers and lakes, causing harm to wildlife and indigenous populations.
Further harm is caused by afforestation of single specimen fir or pine trees which change the acidity of the soil around them. Rainwater washes this acidity into rivers and lakes, polluting the fresh water with higher acidity levels.
Inadequate treatment of sewage and storm water run-off can lead to major water pollution along coastlines and is the most common form of water pollution.
Health Risks through Pollution
Before the Olympics could take place in China, participating countries warned the Chinese government that they had to do something to reduce the air pollution and smog in Beijing. Drastic measures were needed before athletes from around the world could begin to train and compete in China. Ozone pollution can be responsible for respiratory diseases, throat inflammation, chest pains, cardiovascular disease and water pollution across the world is the cause of at least 14,000 fatalities every day of the year with poor drinking water conditions being the main factor.
In the former USSR the after effects of radioactive pollution from sites such as the ill-fated Chernobyl nuclear power station are still felt to this day and thousands of people suffer from radiation sickness and there are still many children with deformed limbs being born in the years since the nuclear disaster and an increased number of people suffer from a variety of cancerous problems.
The high number of children suffering from asthma in the UK has been linked to air pollution. Swimmers and beachgoers regularly suffer from skin rashes and eye irritation thanks to water pollution, mainly owing to sewage leaking or being allowed to enter the ocean’s water. Oil spills not only cause skin irritations to humans, they practically glue marine wildlife to the spot, clogging up feathers for waterfowl and leading to their eventual slow and painful death.
Soil pollution through heavy metal can kill and water from agricultural fields which were treated with man-made fertilisers will end up in our rivers, lakes and oceans, poisoning marine life, which will ultimately poison us as the last recipient in the food chain.
Pollution is a silent killer.
Water-scarce countries are proving to be hotbeds of technological innovation with Israel providing working proof of the old saying, necessity is the mother of all invention. It has been suggested, controversially, that part of the reason for tensions in this area of the world are partly due to water shortages and disagreements over who holds water rights. Given the scenario, companies have been galvanized by the Israeli government’s decision in 2006 to launch a programme to support water companies.
The result is a technology-led efficiency drive. One company, for example, features what it calls “biomass carriers” in their wastewater treatment plants. These small plastic structures with a large surface area give bacteria more space to grow and thus allow biological contaminants to be consumed more quickly. The result is that the treated water can be put back in to circulation quicker.
Other companies have focused on discovering leaks in water supply networks; up until recently, suppliers only really knew they had a leak when they could hear the noise of gushing water. Technology can now be used to sift through the flow data generated by sensors that many networks now have to look for anomalies. If it only takes a persistent 1% change in flow rate to indicate a possible leak, it’s clear why this kind of monitoring system is proving increasingly popular in those places with large, complex networks.
Some of the technology that is being developed in Israel also has a wider environmental application, in the form of reducing the amount of water required to treat wastewater. It’s estimated that 2% of the world’s power-generating capacity is used to treat wastewater; an idea being trialed is the use of special bacteria that can actually convert wastewater pools into a source of energy. If they work, treatment plants could become dual-purpose: water purification and electricity generation. It’s ambitious and only in its early stages, but it illustrates the potential of technology to achieve true environmental sustainability.
As with other examples of technological innovation, a set of conditions needs to coincide for takeoff to be achieved. In the case of Israel, there are plenty of skilled scientists, a firmly ingrained entrepreneurial culture, and an obvious shortage of fresh water.; ideal conditions for Israel to become the Silicon Valley of water technology. If the technology can be fine-tuned and become viable in the global market, it’s possible to see serious growth in this area of water resource management.
Water resource management requires a range of solutions from correct pricing to increased education on the subject, but the demand for the resource is a little like a runaway train. The best hope, perhaps, for reducing water stress and the likelihood of future flash-points is by closing the gap between demand and supply and technology can play a big part in helping the supply of water keep pace.
A sustainable development should make efficient use of available water resources. 97% of the world’s water is seawater, 2.7% is polar ice, leaving just 0.3% as water usable for consumption. In the developed world, demand for water has increased by more than 70% over the past forty years as labor saving devices such as washing machines, dishwashers and showers have become commonplace. As developing countries become more affluent, their citizens tend to want similar labor saving products. Across the globe, increased urbanization and the need for more agricultural land to feed a growing population have combined to severely damage natural habitats and disrupt natural water cycles. In many parts of the world, the water cycle is being further disrupted by climate change. In some instances, water resources have already become a cause of political tension between neighboring countries and such occurrences are likely to increase as water security becomes more of an issue.
In order to achieve the goal of reduced water usage, developers should specify products that use less water than the alternatives or which make use of recycled water. Examples of such products include:
- Toilets that use less water to flush
- Smaller bathtubs that need less water to fill
- Washing machines and dishwashers with high water efficiency ratings
- Drought resistant soft landscaping
Grey water (waste water from sinks, baths, and showers) can be recycled on-site to provide the water needed to flush toilets and wash clothes. Rainwater can also be harvested and used for similar purposes. In the future, technologies may improve to the point where black water (waste water from toilets) can also be recycled and safely used for similar purposes.
However, specifying such products will not be sufficient by itself to reduce water consumption. The residents of new developments need to be taught how to change their water usage habits. Examples of changes that they can make include:
- Fill a bowl with water when washing fruit or vegetables and use the waste water to water plants
- Not leaving the tap running when washing teeth
- Only running washing machines and dishwashers when there is a full load
- Taking showers instead of baths, and keeping shower times to a minimum
Many developers now provide residents with information on how to minimize water usage via leaflets, brochures, and meetings. Installing water meters helps to reduce consumption, as when residents are billed for the exact amount of the water they use, they tend to use less.
As well as ensuring that water usage is kept to a minimum, developers also need to minimize the vulnerability of the properties they build by not building in flood prone areas. As global warming progresses, many areas of the world face becoming more prone to flooding. Water will become a threat to residents’ well-being and can have disastrous effects to life and property. Good planning and urban design helps to mitigate the impacts of flooding, thus ensuring the safety and security of residents.
Fishermen that are trawling with nets invariably destroy large sections of habitat. They catch marine life in the process which is not destined for our dinner table. These hapless creatures are mangled, ripped to shreds by nets and thrown overboard when the catch is hauled on deck. The senseless large scale destruction by fishing methods used as well as fishing quota is threating every aspect of marine life, as is pollution.
It seems that some fisheries still experience severe learning difficulties when it comes to responsible, sustainable fishing practices.
Wherever we are in Britain, we’re never more than 70 miles from the sea. The UK shorelines and sea provide rich wildlife habitats to marine life of all sizes, from the larger sea mammals such as whales, seals and dolphins, to a plethora of sea birds and a multitude of fish. On a microscopic level there are single celled animals and plants, too. Kelp on the shore provides tiny creatures with shelter while kelp in the sea provides them with food and anchorage in the currents.
We enjoy going on seaside holidays where we snorkel or scuba dive in the sea, exploring the rich underwater flora and fauna of our own as well as other countries. The oceans are now so threatened by pollution and exploitation that many shorelines will soon be totally denuded of marine life. Calls for marine wildlife protection along the British shores have so far largely fallen on deaf governmental ears. Lobbyists from the greedy building industries speak louder than environmentalists it seems. Who cares about a divers’ paradise and wildlife habitats, if dredging brings such profits?
Unless we change our attitude to marine life in our oceans and start regarding it as a vital source of food, potential source for medicine and integral part to our overall richness of habitat, there is little hope that pollution and exploitation inflicted on our marine life is going to cease.
Humans are not the masters of the earth; they are merely its custodian. Bio diversity benefits us all, yet at the moment our future is as bleak as the remaining marine life in our oceans is becoming extinct at an alarming rate.
The deep sea is largely undiscovered owing to the extreme challenges involved in deep sea diving. Recent advances in technology have enabled us to send probes to ever greater depth and underwater cameras have shown us a world that is as rich in marine life as it is alien in their nature.
Even at depths of some 10,000 metres marine life is thriving in a permanently dark world. Using ultrasound to navigate or electrical currents coursing through their translucent bodies to make themselves look more formidable, deep sea marine life astonishes us with its diversity and scale. The greater the depth the larger the water pressure per inch of body, yet marine life of all shapes and sizes thrives at the bottom of deep sea trenches.
Isn’t it about time we realised what marine life really gives to us?
There are many forms of marine life that live in our oceans. The marine life in the bitterly cold Arctic Ocean can differ greatly from the marine life in the warmer Indian Ocean. However, they all help man to survive. Let’s explore the diversity of species we find across our planet.
Fish are a form of marine life which has undergone a different biological evolution from other large creatures. Their astonishing anatomy includes a two-chambered heart, a swim bladder, scales, fins, mouths containing sharp rows of teeth, flexible lips and eyes that can see in the dark, murky waters and at great depth. They breathe by extracting oxygen from the oceans’ water through their gills. Fish have fins which propel and stabilize them as they swim in the water. There are huge fish like hammerhead and tiger sharks and little ones like sardines and anchovy. There are marlin and barracuda as long as a boat.
During evolution a number of reptiles decided that living in the water was a good way to make a living, so today sea snakes, terrapins, sea turtles, marine iguanas and large salt water crocodiles are still part of marine life in our oceans. The majority of marine reptiles must return to land occasionally to breed and lay their eggs. This forces most marine reptiles, except for some sea snakes, to live close to shore. They love sheltered estuaries, islands, sand banks and shallow water.
Some species of sea birds love living inland, where our wastefulness provides them with plenty of food. Sea gulls can sometimes be found thousands of kilometres in land, where their squawking and aggressive nature can be regarded as a nuisance. Most sea birds, however, spend nearly all their lives out on the oceans, such as penguins, gannets, puffins, auks and the mighty albatross.
Marine life forms that developed into mammals can be divided into five main categories:
- Those called cetaceans have sea creatures as diverse as toothed whales (sperm whales, dolphins, porpoises) and what is referred to as baleen whales (grey whales, humpback whales, blue whales) in their midst.
- There are the delightful seals, walruses and sea lions which are referred to as pinnipeds.
- Everybody’s favourite, the sea otter, belongs to the family of mustelidae, which incorporates land creatures such as badgers and weasels.
- The marine life species called sirenians include manatees and the dugong.
- Although it spends a great deal of its life on land or on ice, the Polar Bear is often thought of as belonging to the group of marine mammals. Fishing and hunting for other sea mammals such as seal makes the Polar bear dependent on the sea.
Undiscovered Marine Life
In 1960 an American diving team recorded a white flatfish, a jellyfish and a shrimp in the Mariana Trench, which is near the Philippines. These marine life creatures were thriving at a depth of 10,924 m (35,838 ft).
We have only just begun to explore the diversity of our oceans. In recent years technological advances have made deep sea diving viable, although it still is easier to send a probe into space than to send a submarine down into the deep sea trenches.
The distribution of plant species, such as the vast amount of plankton in the ocean life cycle, or the sun’s energy levels or the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere thanks to mankind can have an effect on temperatures and the circulation patterns of the ocean-atmosphere interconnecting systems. Our oceans and our atmosphere are closely linked. In combination they are the most dynamic aspect of our climate system.
Major volcanic eruptions can have an effect our weather patterns. Ash and smoke clouds can cool down the temperature of the oceans by blocking out the sun rays. Clouds can also reduce the salt levels in our oceans by excessive rain fall. These dramatic events can have a major impact on our weather, oceanic life and therefore on us.
Changes in water temperature can have dramatic effects on all life, not just ocean life. With ice caps melting a cooling down of our oceans will have a major effect on the world’s climate.
The Circle of Life
Ocean life is a major food source to us, but may also be a source of energy in the near future. We fish for cod, prawns, shrimp, mackerel and sardines to name but a few. Some marine plants are being investigated by medical researchers, while other scientists are looking to plankton to become the next big thing in energy resources. Hydrology is an energy source waiting to be exploited.
Medical research into certain types of fish has discovered they can jump start their hearts, which is now becoming a major topic of study for the benefit of heart patients. Ocean life has so much to teach us, we are only at the beginning of discovering this vast resource, when it is already threatened by our greed and negligence.
The humble shrimp, which is a staple part of human diet in many parts of the world, has unwittingly caused major disruption in ocean life. Trawl nets used in shrimping have been identified as a major source of mortality in several species such as cetaceans and finfish. The by-catch is discarded, thrown overboard as dead or dying. The shrimp fisheries are responsible for needlessly destroying as much as 20 pounds of other ocean life for every pound of shrimp caught. Worldwide the shrimping industry is responsible for approximately 2% of the world’s overall catch of fish in weight, but shrimping alone is responsible for a staggering 30% of the world’s overall by-catch destruction of ocean life.
Having cheerfully destroyed most of the planet’s fish stocks of cod, mankind has now set its heart on destroying the mackerel, which is also a major food source to ocean life such as shearwater, dolphins, tuna, whales, orca, marlins, seagulls and types of sharks. While Iceland, the Faroes in Scotland and Norway debate over who should catch the largest fish quota, mackerel fish stock are drifting further and further north, with depleted generations struggling to recover.
Ocean life is infinitely precious and vulnerable. Some eco systems like the Arctic Ocean are delicate and slow to recover from damage or human disruption caused by energy source exploitation or over fishing. Oceans are the circle of life and their state of health affects us all.
When we think about the ocean, the marine life, and the coral reefs, we don’t think about the impact these have on our lives. We depend on the water and the marine life that the ocean produces to keep ourselves alive. But what if it all disappeared? How would we be affected if there were no more coral reefs?
We can’t fail to think about what would happen to our environment, especially in the air, if this happened. The carbon dioxide in the water will somehow find a way of getting into the atmosphere and if you think of the amount of carbon dioxide that we ourselves produce, you will just pray that no more is added into our atmosphere.
The next thing that would happen is that global warming will proceed at a faster rate than before. You know what follows after this: Melting of polar ice caps and destruction of habitats for animals which live in cold regions. There will be an increase in the level of water in the oceans and thus we should worry about floods destroying our property and maybe even lives. The very things that would have somehow eased the impact of the floods are gone too and thus there is nothing more to do than run away from our homes. Global warming will also increase the temperatures both in the air and in the oceans though it happens at a much slower rate in the seas and oceans. This will keep on making the conditions unfavorable for coral reefs since they thrive well in cool waters.
No one would feel the pinch more than the scientists. They still haven’t uncovered all the secrets hidden in the oceans and so far what they have found has kept them interested more and more. They are particularly interested in the ocean because it is sort of a living laboratory to them. Medicines have been manufactured from some of the things that are found in the oceans. Coral reefs themselves are among the things that scientists find important to them in the field of medicine. When you lose a bone and you wish to get a “replacement”, the solution lies in the skeletons obtained from coral reefs because of their richness in calcium and you can bet you will never find someone to give you their bone no matter what. We still say that a whale is the biggest mammal on earth but we really aren’t sure about that because the percentage of our ocean that has been explored is still so little! Without the coral reefs and other primary producers, we might never know the answer.
Your eyes are now open to some of the possible things that might happen if coral reefs were gone. Back to reality now, scientists are scared about their disappearance and indeed they are disappearing. The water in the ocean keeps on getting warmer due to global warming and the horror might just come true. You can’t give an excuse like “I’m no one, there’s nothing I can do” because there is something that you can do no matter how far you are from an ocean. By reducing global warming, you are doing something noble.
From some of the biggest animals that we have here on earth to the tinniest organisms that we know of, which one will you decide to eradicate if given the chance? If you choose the big animals, then you should know that you are on the right track. Coral reefs fit in that category we call “primary producers” and without them we are as good as gone since our lives are held in one long chain so that if somewhere along the chain there is a missing link, everything is as good as gone.
Primary producers are those tiny organisms (especially those found in the seas and oceans) that make it their obligation to ensure that marine life will not someday disappear without warning. Without them, even the biggest animals in the oceans wouldn’t survive because they depend on these small organisms and it so happens that coral reefs are some of the primary producers. So, if you put it in another way, it would sound like this: “Kill them and get killed too”.
Due to our selfish nature as human beings, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that without us, there is no need for oceans and marine life and coral reefs that is why we must relate coral reefs to our very own pockets and to our survival too. Coral reefs are a tourism attraction and they earn any country some good amount of foreign income. This would be an alternative advantage if their biological importance wasn’t that important to you. While they may help your pocket feel a little heavier, they are also important in helping you get out of a hospital bed. You guessed it right! Coral reefs are used for medical research and so far a major breakthrough in the treatment of HIV infections can be linked back to coral reefs.
Pharmaceutical companies also found it useful because they may be used to manufacture medicines that can take care of cancer and other diseases. That is still not enough! The skeletons from coral reefs are used as bone substitutes in reconstructive bone surgery and you can be pretty sure that no human being can be willing to give you their bone for your sake. Scientists aren’t willing to stop at that and are still looking for more from them.
After all that, now you have a brief idea of why coral reefs are an important part of our lives. From filling our pockets (you don’t always see it) to sustaining marine life they still don’t know what their importance and continue living without receiving much credit. Your life is also entangled somewhere in them and thus you need to be an eco boy or eco girl to ensure that more people know of their importance too. It’s true that you may not see the need now but there is a time we all will but hopefully it won’t be too late.
The effect dredging for gravel has had on our shorelines is already being felt by fisheries all over the UK. If you’re wondering, why seafood is so expensive, then take a look at the building industry. Delicate shore habitats for shellfish are being destroyed every day and successions of governments drag their heels to protect the coastlines. Many animals living in our oceans stay close to the coast, because they are scavengers and there used to be rich pickings close to land, where dead creatures and plant life were washed up at the beach. Animals use shallow waters for breeding and spawning and rearing their young.
Cockles and oysters were once plentiful along the British shoreline, but today some species are no longer so plentiful and others have begun to disappear. Marine biologist study with the aid of GPS and other underwater technology how currents, tides and other factors affect marine life. Dredging up sand to create a white beach where there was none before can have a major impact on marine life and can utterly destroy a careful natural balance. The destruction of habitat has had a huge impact on fisheries, causing great unemployment.
Cod fish stocks collapsed in the 1990s and since then they haven’t really recovered. Now the humble mackerel is under threat from over-fishing. Our oceans were once plentiful when humans practiced sustainable fishing but drift net fishing on a massive scale has wiped out so many species, particularly by-catch from shrimping is responsible for mass extinction. Our oceans are at breaking point and without them we might as well forget life on earth.
Supermarkets are still not doing enough to ensure correct labelling tells consumers how, where and under what conditions fish was produced. Cans of tuna might carry a sticker telling us that no dolphins were harmed in the fishing process, but they neglect to tell us that every year thousands of rays are wiped out cruelly with the methods used to fish for tuna.
As consumers we do have the power to say what we want to see on supermarket shelves. Not buying fish at all is one way to get the message through. Lobbying for sustainable fishing methods to be used is another, as is consumer insistence on improved food labelling.
Marine creatures in our oceans are threatened by pollution, but the larger ones are also killed or injured by irresponsible tourism. Accidents and collisions with motor boats often kill young manatees, which are slow moving and incurably curious.
The oceans’ currents transport heat around the globe and this has a major impact on our weather. Horizontal currents moving north to south across the Earth will transfer either warmed or cold water for several thousand miles. Evaporation can either cool down or warm up the air. The waters from the tropical and subtropical parts of the Atlantic Ocean are carried by the Gulf Stream current to Western Europe, where it is directly responsible for inducing a milder climate.
Some 3.4 billion people are directly threatened by the quality of the water on our planet. Although the collating of water in dams and reservoirs may be an obvious choice to control the use of this precious resource, this is not only a costly solution for any government; it is also a solution that works only in the short run and at a huge cost to nature. Already China has shown what a terrible mistake it is to build dams without heeding the consequences to wildlife and local communities who depended on a sustainable way of life for thousands of years.
US researchers warn that developing countries should not follow this devastating route. Instead, they recommend investment in water management strategies. Many initiatives across the world have already yielded results, showing that a combination of infrastructure with environmentally friendly choices such as protection of wetlands, estuaries and flood plains works really well in improving water quality as a whole and safeguarding future supply.
Naturally there are powerful lobbyists from the engineering and construction sectors, who would rather see more billions of dollars being poured into the construction of canals, dams, pipelines and dams.
Ignoring completely that a huge proportion of the world’s population cannot afford these type of projects – usually reserved for corrupt dictators in developing countries abusing gigantic country loans for these prestige projects – and Western countries can no longer afford the type of development money they used to hand out in the 1970s and 1980s. Even in the richer Western world the building of dams and reservoirs is only benefitting a relatively small number of people and water quality as a whole is as much under threat as is the resource of water, after these dams and reservoirs were built.
Running out of Money
With the current economic crisis depleting government coffers even further, it is to be hoped that this new austerity will induce a more sensible and therefore environmentally sound approach to the water situation around the world. Improving water quality for developing countries as well as protecting our most valuable resource for the future of the planet is paramount.
It seems that improving our water quality will also include a rethink how we build our cities in the future. Using permeable pavements, incorporating green roofs and water metres as a matter of course, encouraging householders to recycle water and to catch rain water in cisterns are as much part of future water management as are treatment of sewage and prevention of oil exploration and mining disasters. We have run out money to deal with large scale clean-up operations at our coasts thanks to the recklessness and greed of others.
The lack of governmental funds must ultimately lead to smaller scale, sustainable projects. Strangely, the way in which charities help to introduce water management strategies in developing countries may give us a clue how we should all approach this issue. Small projects in local communities work – everyone can be held accountable and everyone is involved. In the Western world we are often so utterly removed from the way things are grown, produced, worked and maintained, we have completely lost touch with what matters.
The water quality of our rivers and oceans matters to such an extent that our very existence on this planet is threatened, if we cannot get a grip on our water pollution, usage and waste. Water quality matters to us all, everywhere.
Charities now concentrate on smaller scale projects involving whole communities. This seems to have far greater impact and perhaps should tell us that we need to look at water management from a different angle. What works for one community may not work for another. Building huge dams, canals and reservoirs cannot be the answer. There must be other ways to help control the pollution in our water while reducing the unnecessary consumption of the precious natural resource.
Finding ways to filter water in a cost effective and simple way is a priority, since charities struggle to find the money to maintain water quality at the same level as before. With traditional water filters only lasting about a year and replacements being expensive in terms of actually transporting them to the often remote locations, better ways must be found to improve water quality as well as accessibility. It seems therefore more sensible to give out research grants for the benefit of mankind than hand out trillions of dollars for the construction of just one dam benefitting just one country.
Water Quality of our Oceans
Promoting sustainable, low impact tourism around the world is a start in the right direction. Many countries depend almost entirely on tourism but the very way in which tourism impacts on the water quality in particular and the environment in general often condemns whole areas to devastation and threatens local people’s livelihood. Where reefs are now being protected and wildlife habitats are being built into the tourist programme, a new lease of life has been given to small communities depending on foreign monies.
If we continue to over-fish and destroy marine creatures on such a large scale, we will not only have destroyed our food source, we will have given plankton carte blanche to spread and spread and spread. Eventually turning into an unhealthy bacterial soup, our oceans will choke on plant life no longer kept in check by hungry fish and other marine life.
Water Temperature Matters
Our climate around the world depends on a delicate balance of warmed up and cooled seawater circulating with the oceans’ currents around the globe. Any disturbance owing to global warming and melting ice caps will have a major impact on our climate and the quality of our water. Melting ice will change the level of salinity in our oceans, adding further to changes in temperature of the currents. Over long periods this will lead to climate change, in the short term to extreme weather patterns.
Improving Water Quality Starts at Home
We are all responsible for the improvement of our water quality. Reducing the amount of water treatments needed in the first place while cutting down on waste water and polluting agent’s starts at home, as does recycling.
If you are building a new house, think of ways of improving water recycling and reducing waste. If you can, ask for a water metre to be installed in your home, it will not only save you money in the long run, but will help to reduce water wastage. Increasing the insulation in our home will help to cut down fuel consumption and results in less global warming. Everyone can do something to improve the water quality and prevent water pollution.
Some of the most notorious sharks are the Great White and the tiger shark. While they seem quite similar, they are also different. Like the great white shark, the tiger shark generally has 3000 teeth in its mouth at a time. They tend to lose teeth often, though, because of the tough skin and struggling of some of their prey. Their teeth do grow back, and the average tiger shark will have 25,000 teeth in its lifetime.
Although tiger sharks do not attack humans as often as great white sharks, they are not quite as merciful. Whereas a great white shark will generally swim away if it realizes you are not a seal, a tiger shark will not give up on its prey once it has decided, unless forced away. Again, however, the tiger shark will only strike a human if it feels threatened or mistakes it for another type of food.
The bull shark is another shark on the species list that is considered dangerous to humans. Although it does not kill as often as a great white shark, the bull shark is still considered the most dangerous. It is the smallest of the three sharks, usually averaging around 7 feet long, 11 at the longest. Unlike the great white and tiger sharks, bull sharks tend to spend most of their time in shallower water hunting their prey. This makes them far more likely to stumble upon humans. More likely than them finding humans, however, are humans finding them. Bull sharks are incredibly territorial, and will defend their “land” vigorously.
Many attacks that were once credited to great white sharks were reexamined, and found to be the work of bull sharks. This aggressiveness often starts before the sharks are even born. In their mother’s womb, developing bull sharks will occasionally cannibalizing their siblings for invading their space. Another unique attribute about the bull shark is that it has to ability to survive in fresh water for quite some time. This allows them to travel up river, and sometimes find their way to village shores, becoming a danger to those that live there.
Although there are nearly 400 species of shark in the world, and perhaps many more waiting to be discovered, the bull shark, tiger shark, and great white shark are the only that are considered to be dangerous. They do not hunt humans, and only attack out of confusion, fear, or defense. The real threat is us, as humans, who vocalize our invalid fears by attacking creates that are simply acting as they were created to act.
Sharks are hunters, and that will never change. Instead of fearing and attacking them for that, we need to respect it. Sharks will never change; the change is left up to us. If we take all the safety precautions we can before venturing in to known shark territory, the chances of being attacked are so slim, it is near impossible.
The “terrors” of the depths are nothing more than another misunderstood creature that calls this planet home. While they are dangerous, they are certainly not killers. However, humans have turned this planet into a dangerous deathtrap for all living things. With global warming and the greenhouse effect, many of these large sharks will be quickly diminishing due to lack of food. If our environment is not cared for now, in the future of these majestic creatures in the ocean will disappear forever.
Pinnipeds, which roughly mean fin-footed mammals, are a fairly common marine species. They are creatures are best known for their short flippers, which end with webbed fingers and toes, which are often clawed. Unlike the aforementioned sirenians, pinnipeds are carnivores, meaning they feed upon other animals. They are covered in a thick layer of blubber, and often a thin layer of hair, which allows them to hunt for food within icy waters.
Based on the description above, you’ve likely come up with a fairly educated guess as to what mammals fall in to this category. If you guessed seals, sea lions, or walruses, you were spot on. All of these animals are often very “herd” oriented. They move, hunt, and bask in groups. This likely explains why so few of their species has wound up on the endangered species list.
Mustelidae are the next species on our list. The majority of this category does not live in water. Weasels take up the vast majority of the species within the Mustelidae family, but there is one subfamily that is not land based. This is the sea otter. Sea otters are carnivorous, feeding on fish, clams, and urchins. Most of their food is tucked away within a hard, protective shell. Sea otters, however, are quite clever. They have learned to take rocks and bash them against a clam’s shell until it breaks, revealing the meat inside. Sea otters were once abundant, but were heavily hunted for their fur for a span of nearly two years. Because of this, they are now very close to finding their way on to the endangered species list.
The last category on this list is a tad surprising, and up for debate by many. Scientists have classified them as a marine animal, however, due to their heavy dependence on the sea. They spend much of their time in the icy arctic waters, hunting fish, seals, and penguins. As their icy home shrinks more and more as our climate increases, they become increasingly more dependent on the ocean for survival.
The ocean houses a vast majority of sea life, and those mentioned here only cover a small portion of the grand scheme. However, without them, the ocean would be quite different. And, unfortunately, this is becoming more and more of a possibility because whales are hunted for their blubber, polar bears lose land, manatees die off, and sea otters are killed for their pelts. If we want to preserve the ocean’s mammals, the time to act is now, before it is too late. The environment is so important to all life, regardless if it is life on land or in the oceans. We need to conserve our resources and do what we can to reverse the damage that has been done. Efforts to help the sea creatures have helped, but it takes more than one person. As we all share this planet, we all must work together to conserve it.
There is a breed of shark, known commonly as the whale shark and scientifically as rhincodon typus, which takes up more than its fair share of ocean space. This creature is the largest living species of fish, because whales do not fall in to that category. These slow-moving sharks have been recorded at lengths of up to 41 feet and tend to weigh in at nearly 80,000 pounds. Sharks tend to have a nasty reputation worldwide as man-hunting killing machines. While this is incorrect of any shark, this especially rings true for the largest shark of all, the whale shark.
Despite it being a shark, and despite its massive size, the whale shark tends to be a very docile creature. Like the blue whale, the whale shark feeds almost entirely on krill and algae. These are not aggressive creates, and SCUBA divers have often photographed each other swimming alongside and touching this gentle giant. Although this species has not quite made it on to the endangered species yet, it is getting close. It is threatened, and their numbers are thinning.
The giant squid is a creature of legend. For hundreds of years, it has found its place amidst tales of terror in the rough seas. And, like nearly every tale, there is a hint of truth within the exaggeration. Only recently was the giant squid caught, on film, alive. Because these creatures are deep sea dwellers, it took hundreds of years for live proof. Every once in a rare while, a massive tentacle would wash ashore, taunting researchers.
But in 2004, scientists successfully got footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat. There is proof of this creature at up to 46 feet in length, although scientists believe that that could easily grow up to nearly 70 feet long. The giant squid has 8 long arms, as well as two much longer tentacles. All of these are equipped with hundreds of powerful suction cups, many of which are lined with sharp and rigid spines. These spines help protect them from their natural predator, the massive sperm whale. They have the strength to tear at the whale’s thick hide, often injuring them enough so that they are able to escape.
Giant squid feed on deep sea fish by capturing them with their powerful and dangerous tentacles. They have a powerful beak, which they open to reveal what is known as a radula. A radula is a tongue with many small and sharp teeth. This tears apart at their meal, making it easy to digest.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the tales that squids would attack and destroy pirate-era sea vessels. Although no solid proof exists of squids this size, often known as kraken, there have been findings that are difficult to ignore. A still unidentified piece of a carcass washed ashore many years ago. Its skin is very similar to that of a squid, although it is many times larger than anything ever scientifically documented.
The world’s ocean is filled with a vast variety of creatures, from the tiniest of krill to the massive blue whale. They are, however, in danger. It is up to us to ensure that these creatures survive for future generations.
As the black sludge spreads over the surface of the water and slowly drifts downward, undersea plant life suffers. When it covers the surface, the plants are cut off from the sunlight they need to grow and thrive. As it drifts downwards, the oil coats the plants, insuring that even once the surface is clear, they will still be denied the much needed sunlight. Animals that feed upon undersea plant life, such as shrimp, then face the same risk as all other forms of life that ingest the oil.
When the oil spill first began, fishermen all went out to see, throwing down large fishing nets, capturing all the fish and shrimp they could before they were affected. This was done for the simple convenience of having seafood available at restaurants. However, this action, too, had effects on the underwater environment. Many undersea plants were uprooted, and many “homes” were destroyed in this hasty action. Paying no heed to what else might be caught up in the net, many sea turtles and dolphins met their end when they couldn’t escape.
For many of the captured fish and shrimp, it was already too late. This is why the prices of these animals, in the form of food, have drastically increased at many restaurants around the world. Fresh, healthy seafood can still prove difficult to find in the Gulf of Mexico, even now.
Many beaches in Florida that once attracted tourists are now riddled with oil and tar, making them both unappealing and unhealthy. As the beach draw disappears to tourists, many choose to go elsewhere. This, in turn, hurts the once profitable small tourist towns that dot coastlines near the Gulf of Mexico. Even now, the carcasses of various forms of sea life were ashore, victims of the oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers.
The cost to undersea life is much more drastic than the costs we have had to make, as land dwelling humans. While we have lost money, a particular source of food, and money, many animals have lost their lives. Since the oil spill, it is believed that near 6,000 birds have died. Almost 100 dolphin carcasses have been found, and three whale bodies that can be linked directly to the oil spill have been discovered. Nearly 550 sea turtles have been found dead, pushing some of the species to the endangered species list. The price we have had to pay is small in comparison to theirs.
Our environment is durable, however. Although it will take time, it will recover from this disaster. The best we can do is to do all we can insure that causes this much harm does not happen again. Many of the marine animals that call the ocean home would not be able to survive another tragedy of that magnitude. As self-made and self-proclaimed rulers of this earth, we have a responsibility to all other forms of life that inhabit it.
The largest animal that has ever been recorded to exist, the Blue Whale, is a part of the mysticeti family. The goliath aquatic creature can grow over 108 feet in length, and weigh in at over 200 short tons. That is over 400,000 pounds! A calve alone is over 23 feet at birth. Despite its huge size, however, the blue whale feeds on krill, which are a tiny form of zooplankton. They can eat up to 40 million of these miniscule creatures each and every day. These whales used to be abundant worldwide, but where greatly hunted for their blubber. Just before they were wiped from existence entirely, they were placed under protection. Now, although their numbers are increasing, they are still considered a threatened species.
Sperm whales fall in to the odontoceti category, meaning that they have teeth for hunting food. Although they are not as large as the blue whale, and adult sperm whale can still grow up to a staggering 67 feet long and weigh up to 63 short tons. The sperm whale has the largest brain of any animal, extinct or alive today. On average, their brain weighs 18 pounds. Our brain, on the other hand, only weighs, at most, three pounds. This large whale is the only known natural predator of the only recently scientifically documented giant squid. It will occasionally dive to great depths to find these squid, and use their powerful jaws to make a meal out of the dangerous creatures.
Did you know that humpback whales sing? Perhaps “sing” isn’t the right word, but they are certainly the most vocal of all of the whale species. They are also the most abundant, and are nowhere near the endangered species list, unlike many other whales. Humpbacks grow up to a maximum of 59 feet and tend to weigh about 78,000 pounds. They fall in to the mysticeti category, like blue whales. These whales are most famous for what is commonly referred to as their singing, as mentioned above. They can produce a multitude of sounds that hit different amplitudes and frequencies. Although these songs have been known to last for a full 24 hours, the average song is around 15 minutes. The sound is made by forcing air through their naval categories, as humpback whales do not have vocal cords. The exact purpose of the singing remains unknown.
The whales mentioned above are only three of the many species of whale in the world’s oceans. However, pollution and illegal whaling is assuring us of a future with fewer and fewer whales. These graceful giants are facing the effects of our pollution; and with global warming many of them run the risk of losing the migrating patterns. Without them, they will be unable to safely reproduce, bringing an abrupt end to an otherwise proud race.
These gentle creatures make up the delicate balance in the ocean. Every creature is in the ocean for a reason, and due to pollution and global warming, the whales are starting to die. Without the creatures of the oceans our planet is in danger.