Today’s Factismal: More than 90% of all life on Earth lives in the oceans.
Being an air-breathing, formerly brachiating land-dweller, I tend to focus on things that are like me: chimpanzees, cats, and even earthworms. But it turns out that things that are like me are very rare indeed in the grand scheme of life on Earth. Instead, most of the life on Earth dwells in the ocean; somewhere between 90% and 99.7% of all life on earth likes its environment to be very wet indeed.
Even more fascinating is that about 90% of that oceanic life is too small to be seen with the naked eye; it comes in the form of plankton: little critters that float around at the mercy of the tides and currents. That plankton forms the bulk of the oceanic food web and also releases most of the oxygen on Earth.
So on World Oceans Day, stop and spend a moment thinking about just how amazing life on Earth is – and how most of it lives in a place that we might like to visit but would never want to live. And if you’d like to do more than just think about ocean life, then why not join the Phytoplankton Monitoring Network at NOAA? They are trying to track outbreaks of red tide and other phytoplankton blooms and could use your help!