Private Scuba Divers › Sea Life Creatures Guide

Ocean Animals and Plants

Study the wondrous world of plants and animals that live in our seas and oceans and you'll understand why scuba divers and snorkelers enjoy serving as ambassadors for our 'Blue Planet'.

This section contains countless facts and information about ocean animals and plants, including articles about the importance of creating - and preserving - healthy ecosystems.

Private Scuba's A to Z Guide about Sea Life

For one reason or another, flora and fauna represent the very essence of life on Earth.

Plus, the animals and plants that live in the oceans create an amazing underwater environment of marine biodiversity.

It's a pelagic domain of exhilarating exploration and scientific discovery - despite being "hidden" from non-divers.

The best place to start is our marine animals database (an educational resource for beginners).

It's a comprehensive section that you can turn to any time you want to familiarise yourself with facts and information about common sea life creatures and their natural habitats.

We start by delving into the oceanic mysteries of animal ecology. Beyond that, we also highlight the real challenge of evolutionary relationships formulated within saltwater surroundings and underwater sanctuaries.

Go ahead and browse through our list of popular oceanic creatures as we describe (in great detail), their scientific names (marine taxonomy), their often quirky characteristics, awe-inspiring behaviour, and their frenzied feeding or predatory habits.

Note: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ is the most comprehensive information source about the global conservation status of animals, fungi, and plants.

What Do We Mean by Ocean Life?

There are several ways of referring to the topic. But, in marine life terminology, we refer to it as 'sea life' or 'ocean life animals'.

Hence, the factual information in this section refers most to the animals, plants, and other organisms that inhabit saltwater seas and oceans.

In fact, official documentation shows there are more than 200,000 different marine species. Even more surprising is that there may be another two million species that remain undocumented.

Sea Life Creatures and Ecosystems

The International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) is an initiative created to enable a greater scientific understanding of the services of the ocean.

Recent studies show that healthy sea life in the earth's oceans is in imminent risk of extinction and endangerment of many marine life animals (vertebrates and invertebrates).

The major threats include climate change and overfishing. We need to address the collapse of the world's natural coral reef formations and target the increase of so-called low oxygen 'dead zones'.

Sea Life Creatures and Animals Guide | Facts and InformationIPSO say this is the only way to reverse the decline and avoid disaster.

Our seas face a 'deadly' combination of high ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and low oxygen content (anoxia).

These disappointing factors previously contributed to mass extinctions of certain sea life animals.

In fact, overfishing accounts for something close to 60% of the "known" extinction of certain marine creatures and fishes.

Ocean experts suggest that the prospect of losing sea life species, and many entire marine coral reef ecosystems, is looking likely within a generation - unless we take immediate action!

The world's seas - and fish life within them - account for the main protein source for 20% of the population. Our seas and oceans also help to cycle oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. Coincidentally, CO2 also happens to be the main destructive greenhouse gas from general human activities.

Thousands of zooplankton species perform a crucial role in the food chain. They create a vital link between plants and animals in a range of diverse biospheres.

Pro Tip: Take a shortcut to marine vertebrates examples and the marine invertebrates list to find quick answers from our fish families facts database.

FAQ about Sea Life Animals

Is it Easy to Keep Fish as a Pet?

Click through to a section explaining the basics of fish keeping for beginners, with tips for troubleshooting problems with aquariums and community fish tanks.

There are many reasons to get a pet fish and take care of it at home. Keeping fish in a tank or in a garden pond can be therapeutic and fishkeeping as a hobby is easy to get started.

Where is Plankton and Why is it Important?

The diverse family of translucent and microscopic plankters create vital food pyramids in all freshwater and seawater environments.

This section explains the importance of planktonic organisms, especially phytoplankton and zooplankton, in marine ecosystems and oceanic food webs.

Why are Ocean Animals and Plants Important?

There are several ways that a healthy ocean, with vibrant and plentiful sea life living within it, can link to human activities. For example, clean oceans are 'super-highways' that help to provide:

  • A stable climate
  • Different sources of nutritious food.
  • Jobs and livelihoods (e.g. fishing, leisure, science, seafood, water-based activities).
  • Medicines
  • Mineral and renewable energy resources.

Note: Another section answers the question about 'what is coral made of (plant or animal)' and why reef formations can be vital for a healthy underwater environment.

Where Do We Find Most Sea Life?

Coastal habitats of continental shelves provide favourable habitats for the majority of oceanic livelihoods. That being said, the area only makes up around 7% of the total ocean area.

In general, open ocean habitats exist beyond the edge of a continental shelf (e.g. in the deep ocean) and often created by the species that live within them.

What Has the Greatest Impact on Marine Habitats?

In fact, human behaviour damages most plants and animals that inhabit saltwater seas or oceans. Typical examples of the daily threats from humans include:

  • Coastal erosion (including shoreline development)
  • Increasing ocean temperatures (acidification)
  • Loss of habitat
  • Marine debris
  • Ocean pollution (e.g. toxic spills)
  • Oxygen-depleted dead zones
  • Overfishing
  • The introduction of an 'invasive' species (e.g. lionfish)

Note: Most vulnerable areas consider the lionfish species (Scorpaenidae) as being invasive and particularly detrimental for the survival of many small reef fishes.

What are Some Funny Scientific Names for Fish Species?

The naming of fish species has always been a job best done by scientists. But, every once in a while they came up with a fish name that is weird, funny, and sometimes - rather rude.

This section contains a list of unusual and funny scientific names for fishes and the thought process behind these weird names for marine animals.

Do Underwater Vampires Really Exist?

A vampire is described as a fictitious (or mythical) creature that comes back to life and exists by drinking blood from other living species.

Bloodthirsty animals also live in the seas. This article contains fun facts and interesting information about vampires that live underwater and survive as real-life bloodsuckers.

How Much Sea Life Dies in a Year?

It is difficult to quantify this figure with total accuracy. Even so, estimates suggest that plastic pollution and marine debris causes the death of 100 million fish, aquatic mammals, and sea birds every year.

A healthy ocean ecosystem is one that exhibits enough organisation, vigour, and resilience that it not only exists, but it also displays a thriving natural system.

Pro Tip: The PADI Dive Against Debris® Diver course teaches you more about ocean plastic and how to organise trash cleanups to keep your local diving and snorkeling sites healthier.

Related Information and Help Guides

Note: The short video [6:41 seconds] presented by Incredible World contains footage about ten amazing sea creatures discovered in our oceans.

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