The fish, anemones, sea cucumbers and sea fans that populate the coral reefs all work together in symbiosis. Mangroves not only act as nurseries for commercially important marine species, they also act as a filtering system for coastal water. Sea grass beds, mangroves and coral reefs are crucial to providing protection against shoreline erosion and flooding.

The sandy shores are home to fiddler crabs and burrowing worms, as well as a feeding ground for birds. Without coral reefs and estuaries, our oceans would lose many, many organisms that are important to both humans and other marine life.

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2. Natural resources:

The ocean floor habitat is not as well known as coral reefs or coastal areas, but it is very important to all the organisms that live on the bottom (benthic organisms), as well as commercially important. The continental shelves and ocean floor are home to many important minerals, including oil and natural gas. Natural gas and oil play a major role in meeting energy needs.

3. Climate and weather:

Did you know warm ocean waters provide the energy to fuel storm systems that provide fresh water vital to land-dwelling organisms? The oceans interact with and affect global weather and climate. As the air passes over warm waters, it rises due to warming. As it cools, condensation of the water creates rainfall. If the air passes over cooler waters, it cools and sinks. Air moves from high to low pressure areas.

4. Transportation:

Not only are oceans important to sustain life, but also for moving materials that we use. Without commercial ships and barges, transportation of goods from place to place would be much more difficult and expensive. Cities which have good natural harbours always had an advantage, and even today are some of the largest cities in the world.

5. Importance of ocean in the water cycle:

The ocean plays an important role in the water cycle. The ocean holds about 97 per cent of the total water on the Earth. About 78 per cent of the global precipitation and 86 per cent of global evaporation takes place over the ocean.

6. Economy:

The ocean is also vital to our economy. More than 66 per cent of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometres of the coastline. Many of the foods and products that we eat, or use as medicine contain ingredients from the sea. Carrageenan, a compound found in red algae, is used in peanut butter and toothpaste.

Compounds from ocean sponges and cartilage from sharks are being used in medication to help fight the battle against cancer. Great care is being taken in the research of marine-based drugs to prevent the depletion of important natural marine resources.

Furthermore, research is being conducted to synthesize artificial forms of marine compounds. Marine based drugs are vital because many infectious organisms have developed strains resistant to soil- and plant-based drugs.

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