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MARINE SCIENCE - THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE SCIENCE

Marine Science - The People Behind The Science
 
 Author(s)                

Katherine Cullen
 Publisher
Chelsea House Publishers
 Date
2006
 Pages
174
 Format
pdf
 Size
7.7 Mb

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   Water covers more than 71 percent of the surface of the Earth, giving it the nickname "the blue planet." More than 90 percent of the Earth's living space is in the ocean, and until 500 million years ago, all life-forms existed there. The health of the planet and its inhabitants depends on the cycling of water and the minerals and nutrients it carries. For millions of years, the oceans have influenced climate and weather patterns. Human's relationship with die sea began in ancient times as he depended on it for food, livelihood, and enjoyment, but lack of technology limited the ability of people to explore the oceans scientifically until recendy. In addition to numerous economically valuable resources acquired from the seas, scientists have found insight into the origin of life, model organisms for studying reproduction and development, and geological processes at work shaping the Earth. Early marine studies involved pulling nets through the water behind a boat or dragging buckets of mud from the seafloor to the surface. Introduced in the early 1700s, the diving bell, a large container that was open at the bottom and filled with air supplied from leather tubes, allowed men to work in shallow water for short periods of time. A century later, diving suits that were connected via hoses to an air supply aboard a ship increased the mobility of a submerged person. In the 1940s, the introduction of scuba gear freed divers from the restrictions of any cable, allowing horizontal and vertical movement within a safe range of depths. Because water pressure on the body increases with depth, divers whose bodies were not protected in an enclosed, pressure -controlled environment could only descend about 100 feet (30 m). When submersible vehicles, such as the bathysphere and bathyscaph, allowed men to dive much deeper, explorers were amazed at the previously unseen colorful scenery and abundance of interesting organisms. Today, from the safety of a research vessel, scientists skillfully maneuver remote-controlled robots that have real-time video capabilities for recording observations and coordinated mechanical arms for recovering samples from the bottom of the ocean floor. Sonar reveals information about the seabed, and photographs taken from satellites in space expose marine geological formations. The marine sciences include all of the sciences as thev relate to the sea. For example, marine biology is the study of organisms that live in the sea; a marine biologist might examine the distribution of populations in different zones due to different temperatures or light requirements. A chemist might study the composition of seawater with respect to its salinity and dissolved gases. A construction company might hire a marine geologist to locate sand and gravel aggregates for use in building roads. The tidal motions or the strength and direction of currents would be of interest to a physicist. Because the oceans greatly impact the climate and weather, meteorologists must study oceanography, the science encompassing the physical geography of the oceans and seas, in order to understand atmospheric circulation patterns and predict effects of phenomena such as El Nino...
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