📹 Oceans are not deserts

When looking at the ocean from a boat or the shore, it is remarkably easy to think that one is viewing a lifeless desert. All you can see is a blank, empty expanse of water with no visible life, excluding the occasional seagull. If you stick your head underwater, all you see is murky water, sand, and rocks. But if you were to declare that the ocean is empty, you would be completely wrong.

There is a spectacular amount of life in the ocean and it exists everywhere. From the beach, to the shallow water off-shore, to the open ocean, and even the deep sea floor, bountiful amounts of life exists in all of these environments. However, because we humans do not live or spend considerable amounts of time in the ocean, we have a misinformed perspective about how much ocean life exists. Simply put, our eyes do a bad job at informing us of what exists underwater.

The video below provides an interesting example of how scientists locate and study life underwater, specifically in the mesopelagic zone which is nearly devoid of light. What strikes me as remarkable are the miles-long clouds of sea life that can be seen with sonar. If you were on a boat at the surface, you would see absolutely nothing. But hundreds of feet below exist clouds of marine life containing hundreds of thousands of organisms.

Topping off this incredible example of natural wonder is the fact that these clouds of organisms are intelligent and highly specialized. They aren’t just dumb clouds of animals floating about randomly. Instead, the organisms that live in the mesopelagic are highly organized and behave in specific manners. All of these ideas make my brain very excited.