A drop in the Ocean is teeming with life

Posted: 10/29/2011 in all marine news

Jamie Becker – 

There are countless stories in every drop of seawater. But with a cast of millions and more plotlines than a daytime soap opera, the stories can be a bit difficult to follow.

The stories, of course, depend on which particular drop you’re watching and what time you tune in, but in the sunlit waters of our ocean’s surface, about a million microscopic organisms are living their lives in every single drop.

They take in what they need to live, spit out what they don’t, reproduce, and die. They may get eaten, starve to death, or become infected by viruses and explode all over the place. Some battle each other for resources, while others work together and depend on each other.

Drops of seawater may be lacking in romance and gunfights, but they house a wealth of ongoing dramatic tales of microscopic life and survival.

A drop is quite small, and microorganisms are even smaller. Their invisible complex micro-stories might seem inconsequential. So why would anyone bother watching them ?

Three-quarters of our planet is covered with a layer of seawater that is more than two miles deep on average. That volume adds up to somewhere around a trillion trillion drops (or a septillion, if you prefer) and about 100,000 times as many microbes.

This hard-to-fathom abundance means that the lives of these small organisms have large-scale consequences for our planet. They play vital roles that help determine the productivity of marine fisheries and the amount of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Full story…

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