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The Ocean Environment as a Food Resource

The ocean covers approximately 70% of Earth's surface, which means it is the largest environment for living things on Earth. There are five major ocean habitats: tropical or reef habitat, temperate waters, open ocean, the deep sea, and polar regions. Most sea life lives in the top 150 meters (500 feet) of the ocean. From the warm, sunlit waters of coral reefs to the dark, cold waters of the deep sea, the ocean teems with life.

The ocean is an important source of food and other resources. Since well before recorded history, humans have used the sea as a source of food. While only 5% of the protein consumed by world populations comes from the sea, it is still an important contribution to the diet of millions of the world's inhabitants. In 1996, Americans ate an average of 15 pounds of seafood per person.

The images are made from all data collected by SeaWiFS in northern hemisphere summer and winter 2001. Ocean areas rich in phytoplankton are in yellow and green. Fish tend to be plentiful in these regions. The color bar gives the chlorophyl concentration of the surface waters. The greater the chlorophyll concentration, the more phytoplankton in the water. Images are from NASA's SeaWiFS Project. (http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEAWIFS.html) The images are made from all data collected by SeaWiFS in northern hemisphere summer and winter 2001. Ocean areas rich in phytoplankton are in yellow and green. Fish tend to be plentiful in these regions. The color bar gives the chlorophyl concentration of the surface waters. The greater the chlorophyll concentration, the more phytoplankton in the water. Images are from NASA's SeaWiFS Project. (http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEAWIFS.html)

Fisheries biology is the study of fish in their natural environment and their utilization for the needs of humans. Fisheries biologists are concerned with maintaining the supply of fish or marine life which humans need. Many factors are involved, but the primary concern is usually with the marine organism itself.

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