Marine Animals: What Animals Live in the Deep Sea & Co.?

With deep and high seas, shallow seas and coastlines, the World Ocean provides the perfect habitat for many unusual and wonderful animals. Find out here what animals live at sea, why marine life is endangered and how we can help marine animals.

How many marine animals in the world?

In our oceans are today About 240,000 animal species Known, the total species is estimated at more than 2.2 million species – from giant blue whales to small plankton. [1, 2] The most biodiverse regions around Japan and Australia are home to tens of thousands of different animal species. Nearly 91 percent of marine animal species remain unexplored, and more species are being discovered every day. [3] The researchers also hypothesize that several billion previously undiscovered microbes live in the sea. [4]

animals of the sea

With overfishing, pollution and a climate crisis threatening the ocean as a habitat, it is likely that many animal species will become extinct before they can be discovered. As of 2021, 184 deep-sea animal species have been included in the Red List. [4] The biodiversity of the seas is greatly diminished due to human influence – for example, in the Mediterranean, only three percent of animal species are fish. [5]

What animals live in the sea?

All life is believed to have originated in the sea and the first terrestrial vertebrates invaded the mainland about 360 million years ago. Today there are also animals in the sea whose ancestors were land animals, such as whales. They are descended from animals with hooves. [6] Among other things, the following animals live in our oceans:

  • Crustaceans (19 percent).
  • mollusks (17 percent).
  • fish (12 percent)
  • Protozoa (10 percent)
  • worms
  • sponge
  • Cnidarians (such as jellyfish and corals)
  • Spiny animals (such as starfish and sea cucumbers)
  • bryozoan
  • Jacket
  • Mammals
  • reptiles [7]
sea ​​creatures drawing

Marine mammals such as whales and seals and other vertebrates such as turtles make up only a small percentage of marine fauna – but they are also essential to the ecosystem. Whales supply the sea with nutrients through their secretions, which promotes the growth of phytoplankton. Fish and krill feed, among other things, on phytoplankton, which in turn serve as food for whales. [8]

What animals live in the high seas?

The high seas are parts of the sea that are not considered coastal, inland, or archipelago waters and that do not belong to any country. The open sea is meant. The height of the sea is divided into different levels. Many well-known animals such as whales, sharks, rays, tuna, sunfish, orcas and other species of dolphins and jellyfish live in the near surface layer. Much of the dark deep seas with their enormous diversity of species are also part of the high seas. [9]

Although about two-thirds of the world’s oceans are open sea, only one percent of the high seas is protected. [8, 10] Countless animals fall victim to cruel fishing and are sometimes hunted to the brink of extinction. Even in protected areas, marine animal life is threatened by pollution and litter in the oceans as well as climate catastrophe and the attendant rise in water temperature.

What animals live in the deep sea?

From the depth of the sea about 200 meters one talks about the depths of the sea. Despite the harsh conditions prevailing there, such as darkness, cold and high water pressure, the biodiversity of the deep sea is fertile. [5] Since there are no plants in the deep sea, animals feed on other sea creatures, drowning out organic matter or bacteria. [11]

Since many of the animals of the deep sea remain unknown and humans tend to fear dark and large teeth, the animals that live there are often referred to as strange and frightening creatures, or “ocean terrors.” They are also given names such as vampire squid or ghost fish. They have perfectly adapted their appearance and behavior to the unusual conditions of the deep sea through specialization – such as the lantern fish, which uses bacteria to generate light to attract prey, or the ghost fish, which can absorb even the lightest rays of light thanks to its transparent head. [12]

To date, only a small part of the deep sea has been explored, and only relatively few animal species have been known. for example:

  • deep sea frog
  • puffer fish
  • fish dragon
  • sea ​​Wolf
  • Elf Shark
  • ghost fish
  • Vampire squid
  • lantern fish
  • deep sea demon
  • deep sea crab
  • Giant isosceles

What are the big animals found in the sea?

The largest animals on Earth live in the sea. In 2015, researchers discovered in a study that the blue whale is not the largest animal in the world, as previously assumed, but the yellow-haired jellyfish. [13] The following sizes of marine animals have been determined:

Yellow-haired jellyfish: 36.6 meters

Blue whale: 33 metres

Sperm whale: 24 meters

Whale shark: 20 meters

Basking shark: 12.27 meters

Giant squid: 12 meters

Owerfish: 8 meters

Great White Shark: 7 meters

Giant manta ray: 7 meters (wingspan)

Southern elephant seal: 6.5 meters

What threatens marine animals?

As in every ecosystem, every animal in the sea has its own important and indispensable task for the oceans. But the biodiversity of the seas is threatened as never before. Human intervention such as fishing and the capture of wild animals in zoos and marine aquariums, as well as the climate crisis and environmental pollution, mean that more and more marine animals are threatened and pushed to the brink of extinction. For example, whales have been protected by bans on hunting for decades, almost exterminated – yet thousands of whales are killed every year in Japan, Norway and the Faroe Islands. Excessive and ruthless fishing ensures that fishing grounds are nearly emptied again and again and that millions of bony fish and hundreds of thousands of sharks, dolphins, whales, turtles, birds and seals die by so-called “bycatch”. [14]

Fish hanging in the fishing net

Besides fishing, ocean pollution is one of the biggest threats to marine life. Animals mistake food waste and eat it, causing many animals to suffocate from waste or starve with full stomachs. Today, when a dead whale washes up ashore, it is treated as hazardous waste due to the amount of venom in its body. [8] Fishing is responsible for a large portion of the plastic in the sea. [15]

Order real marine protection zones with us!

We must protect marine creatures by creating true marine reserves in which all types of fishing are prohibited. Help the animals and sign our petition to the Federal Ministry of Environment to claim marine protection areas in the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

  • sources

    [1] WORMS (2021): Number of Marine Species, https://www.marinespecies.org/intresent/wiki/Number_of_marine_species, (Accessed 02-01-2022)

    [2] Statista (23.03.2011): Biodiversity: the estimated number of species in the world’s oceans, https://de.statista.com/statistics/data/studie/1192093/umfrage/estimated-species-diversity-in-den-oceanes/, (Accessed 01.02.2022)

    [3] Mora, C. et al (2011-08-23): How many species are there on land and in the ocean? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3160336/, (Accessed 02-01-2011).2022).

    [4] Queen’s University Belfast (10.12.2021): Nearly two-thirds of species in deep-sea hydrothermal vents are at risk of extinction, https://www.qub.ac.uk/News/Allnews/Almosttwo-thirdsofspeciesatdeep-seahydrothermalventsareatriskofextinction.html, (Accessed 02/01/2022).

    [5] Spiegel (04.10.2010): Researchers’ Amazing Marine Animal Inventory, https://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/volkszaehlung-der-ozeane-meerestier-inventur-verbluefft-forscher-a-721157.html, (accessed to it on 01.02.2022)

    [6] Lambert et al (04/22/2019: An amphibian whale from the middle Eocene of Peru reveals an early dispersal in the South Pacific of four-legged whales, https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822 (19) 30220-9, (Accessed 02-01-2022)

    [7] Marine Life Census (08/03/2010): What lives in the sea? The Marine Life Census publishes the Historic Names Call for species in 25 major world regions, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100802173704.htm, (accessed 01.02.2022)

    [8] Our Planet: How We Protect the High Seas, https://www.ourplanet.com/de/video/how-to-save-our-high-seas/, (Accessed 02/01/2022)

    [9] Labor Journal (October 28, 2019): Research in a Legal Void, https://www.laborjournal.de/editorials/1870.php, (accessed February 1, 2022)

    [10] Our Planet: Hochsee, https://www.ourplanet.com/de/explore/high-seas/, (accessed 02/01/2022)

    [11] WWF (03/31/2021): Fascinating Life in the Deep Sea – Natural Wonders, https://www.wwf.de/themen-projekte/meere-kuesten/meeresraumzerstoerung/tiefseebergbau/faszinndes-leben-in-der- Tiffy (visited on 01.02.2022)

    [12] Tierchenwelt: 6 Reptiles That Live in the Deep Sea, https://www.tierchenwelt.de/specials/tierleben/507-tiere-tiefsee.html, (accessed February 1, 2022)

    [13] McClain, Craig R. et al. (01/13/2015): Scaling of Ocean Giants: Patterns of Intraspecific Size Variation in Marine Megafauna, https://peerj.com/articles/715/, (Accessed 02-2022- 01)

    [14] WWF (2019): Unwanted by-catch, https://www.wwf.de/themen-projekte/meere-kuesten/fischerei/unwanlter-beifang, (accessed February 1, 2022)

    [15] Lebreton et al (2018-03-22): Evidence that the Greater Pacific Garbage Patch is accumulating plastic rapidly, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22939-w, (Accessed 2022- 02 -01)

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