Ancient Ocean (Tony)
Formation of the Ocean
At the beginning the formation of planet Earth, there were no water on Earth and the ground was covered with lava. However the ingredients to create water were there, deep beneath the surface of Earth. Around 4 billion years ago, volcanoes formed and started spewing out water vapour and other materials onto the earth’s surface and atmosphere. Scientists also believe that asteroids that crashed onto the surface of Earth were covered with ice.
As the planet cooled, clouds were formed from the water vapour. After the Earth's surface had cooled to a temperature below the boiling point of water, rain began to fall, and continued to fall for centuries. The rain filled up the lower lying landforms on the recently cooled planet, creating the first ocean. The rain contributed to half of the water on Earth, while asteroids with ice contributed the other half. The formation of water on Earth was during the Hadean eon.
Early Life on Earth
The processes that gave rise to life on Earth are not completely understood by Scientists, but it is believed to have formed around 3.5 billion years ago.
Bacteria is one of the earliest unicellular organisms on Earth, found virtually anywhere in nature. Many common bacteria have plasmids, which are self-replicating DNA molecules that form the early DNA structures of living organisms.
Lithotrophs are a diverse group of organisms that thrive off of inorganic substrate (minerals) produced by underground geothermal vents. Lithotrophic organisms either belong to the Bacteria kingdom or the Archaea Kingdom. An example of a Lithotrophic organism is the Giant Tube Worm.
Around 2450–2320 million years ago, photosynthesis was developed in unicellular organisms. These unicellular organisms started to move away from the deep underwater vents, to the surface of the ocean to convert sunlight into glucose. The side-effects of photosynthesis caused the oxygen to be produced within the Earth’s atmosphere, causing the sky to be blue.
Giant Tube Worms, which grew on the ocean floor and feeds off of inorganic substrate from geothermal vents.
The Cambrian Explosion is a revolutionary event on Earth beginning around 541 million years ago, during the Phanerozoic eon. Most animal phyla appeared during this period, which lasted for 20-25 million years. Fossils known as small shelly fauna have been discovered dating back to this time period. The small shelly fauna fossils are the ancestors of the Mollusca phylum (Snails, Clams, Squids).
Small Shelly Fauna Fossil Types
Trilobite fossils were also found to be dating back to the Cambrian period. They are the earliest known groups of Arthropods and flourished during the lower Phanerozoic eon. Trilobites had many lifestyles, some moved over the sea bed as predators, scavengers, or filter feeders, and some swam, feeding on plankton. Most lifestyles expected of modern marine arthropods are seen in trilobites, with the possible exception of parasitism.
Five Stages in the development of Sao hirsuta
Evolution of Whales (Tony)
The evolution of whales are a typical example proving Darwin’s theory of evolution. The ancestors of whales, such as Pakicetus, were typical land animals. They had long skulls and large carnivorous teeth. However, their skulls, particularly in the ear region, strongly resemble those of living whales and are unlike those of any other mammal.
After spending many years near water, the Pakicetus slowly evolved to adapt with shorter legs, hands and feet are enlarged like paddles, and its tail is longer and more muscular, too. These new animals are named Ambulocetus. They also evolved to be able to consume both saltwater and freshwater, which fits perfectly with the idea that these animals lived in estuaries or bays between freshwater and the open ocean.
Animals that evolved after the Ambulocetus are species such as the Kutchicetus.These animals evolved nostrils positioned further and further back along the snout. This trend has continued into living whales, which have a "blowhole" (nostrils) located on top of the head above the eyes.
Evolution of Whales
Polar Animals and Deep Sea Creatures (Kai Heng)
Polar animals are animals that live in extremely cold environments. They have special adaptations in order to survive in these harsh environment. Within the penguin's feathers, there is a layer of air which helps to insulate heat, keeping them warm
Penguins waiting for their feeding time.
Puffins look like penguins from afar, but they are smaller in size and they have the ability to fly. Like penguins, they hunt for food in the waters.All puffin species have predominantly black or black and white plumage, a stocky build, and large beaks. They shed the colourful outer parts of their bills after the breeding season, leaving a smaller and duller beak. Their short wings are adapted for swimming with a flying technique under water. In the air, they beat their wings rapidly (up to 400 times per minute) in swift flight, often flying low over the ocean's surface. There are 3 different species of puffins: Atlantic, Horned and Tufted puffins. They range from 13~15 inches.
A puffin swimming in the waters.
The polar bear is a carnivorous animal, it is adapted for cold climates with its layer of fat and black skin. The black skin is such that they can absorb more heat from the sun. The polar bear is a predator of the penguins. The polar bear is a marine mammal because it spends many months of the year at sea. However, it is the only living marine mammal with powerful, large limbs and feet that allow them to cover miles on foot and run on land. Unlike brown bears, polar bears are not territorial. Although stereotyped as being voraciously aggressive, they are normally cautious in confrontations, and often choose to escape rather than fight. Satiated polar bears rarely attack humans unless severely provoked.
Deep Sea Creatures
Deepsea creatures spend their life near the bottom of the ocean. As the visibility at that depth is almost zero, they have no use for sight. Hence they rely on other means to hunt for food. The fangtooth uses chemoreception in order to locate prey.
A picture of a fangtooth fish
The Goblin shark has flabby body and small fins, suggest that it is sluggish in nature. Its long and sharp snout resembles a sword. The goblin shark feeds mainly on teleost fishes such as rat tails and dragonfishes. It also consumes cephalopods and crustaceans, including decapods and isopods. Since it is not a fast swimmer, the goblin shark may be an ambush predator. Its low-density flesh and large oily liver make it neutrally buoyant, allowing it to drift towards its prey with minimal motions so as to avoid detection. Given the depths at which it lives, the goblin shark poses no danger to humans. A few specimens have been collected alive and brought to public aquariums, though they only survived a short time
Taiwanese Aquatic Animals and Corals (Moses)
This is a beluga whale. It uses echolocation to communicate to other whales and to also find prey.
Taiwanese Conservation Efforts
Rescued injured sea turtles are placed in temporary holding tanks for a short duration of time before they are placed into the bigger tanks to allow for the recovery process to take its course.
Corals are grown in small baskets in their infancy stages to allow for a higher chance of reaching maturity. Juvenile corals are then most likely placed back to the ocean in artificial reefs, or placed in the aquarium to ensure that the they do not run out of corals.
Although it can hardly be seen, two sharks are currently residing in this holding pond to allow them to safely mature. The sharks are currently 1.5m long and is expected to reach the maximum size within half a year.
The government has drawn up a phased water pollution prevention plan which fully utilizes existing manpower and financial resources. Under the new "flowing water management" and "industrial waste water management" strategies, county and city governments will be responsible for promoting river pollution cleanup measures; long-term general clean-up plans will apply to selected rivers, such as the Kaoping River and Tungkang River, and efforts will be made to boost improvement of industrial effluent and livestock effluent, with the establishment of dedicated zones to assist raisers of hogs and ducks to collectively improve their processing of waste water, with the aim of improving the water quality of Taiwan's rivers and ensuring the cleanliness, safety and continued availability of water resources.