Are stingrays related to sharks?

English: Various types shown. Taken at Mote Ma...

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Stingrays and sharks are very closely related. They belong to a group of fishes called the elasmobranchs. All elasmobranchs have 1) skeletons made of cartilage (the flexible material that makes up the tip of our nose and ears) and 2) 5-7 gill slits. Elasmobrachs includes sharks, rays, and skates.

It’s not entirely incorrect to think of stingrays as flattened sharks. On the inside, they’re just about the same. There are some animals that blur the lines between the two. Angel sharks and wobbegongs are flat, but they’re not rays. Then there are sawfish (which are rays) and sawsharks (which are sharks). Sharkrays are just plain confused. As a general rule, if the gill slits are on the bottom, it’s a ray. If they’re on the side, it’s a shark.

Jim Wharton
Vice President, Education Division, Director, Center for School and Public Programs, Mote Marine Laboratory

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Where are the highest tides found?

The highest tides are found at the Bay of Fundy (Atlantic Ocean) off the coast of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in Canada, as well as Maine in the United States.

The tides are typically 5 to 10 times higher than other coasts!

Why is being near saltwater good for your health?

I can not believe I am answering this question since I am not a doctor or a beautician on any level.

However, I will happily give you my opinion as a person that has grown up near the ocean. Salt water is amazing for skin – it really moisturizes and tones. That being said, my theory is that once the skin is feeling healthy and strong – circulation increases and eases joint pain and other muscle tensions.

How does coral bleaching result?

Coral bleaching is due to the fact that the algae part of the coral reef ecosystem can no longer photosynthesize properly – therfore, losing the “reef” structure and the corals remain white – since the zooxannthellea are not around (that’s the algae – and responsible for the color of the coral). This occurs due to a lack of sunlight – mostly from a build up of substances (usually, man made – on the surface of the ocean).

What is the second largest reef in the world?

Interesting question.

The top three largest coral reef ecosystems in the world are:

1) Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia

2) Belize Barrier Reef

3) Florida Keys Reef Ecosystem

A coral reef ecosystem relies on teamwork between the coral animal (a type of cnidarians) and an algae called zooxannthellea.

Why does it feel like the ocean is pulling on you when your just standing in the water?

The “pull” of the water that you feel as you stand in the shallows near the shoreline is just moving water rubbing against your skin. So, why is the water moving out to sea near the beach? Several different forces push – or pull – an excess of water up onto the beach, and then it must run back downhill to where it comes to rest at sea level. The flood tides lift water up over the elevated beach and then it ebbs back down and out to sea (the force is lunar gravitation, lifting the water up). Storms beyond the horizon set the water oscillating up and down, sending long waves called “swells” up onto the beach (the force is high barometric pressure pushing the water down, or low barometric pressure pulling the water up). Shorter, choppy waves are pushed toward the beach by the wind (the force is moving air , with friction on the ocean surface moving the water). These swells and waves turn into “breakers” as they reach
the shallows. The breaking waves push water up onto the sand, and as it runs back downhill to rejoin the great ocean basin, you feels it pulling you out to sea.

This post was answered Dr. J.G. McCully, author of Beyond the Moon: A Conversational, Common Sense Guide to Understanding the Tides.

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Do lobsters mate for life?

The male lobster is apparently quite the Casanova. Studies have shown that female lobsters tend to patiently wait in line outside of a male lobster’s den waiting for their turn to mate. One could say lobsters are apparently the ocean’s version of a rock star.

The males really do have all the right moves – for the brief time they do spend together, it is actually rather romantic…

Here is the scenario:

You see all lobsters have to molt (release their shells and grow a new one to be comfortable). Females can only mate right after molting. So, when she is ready to get comfortable in her new shell, the female releases a pheromone (a scent saying she is ready to get comfortable) into the male’s den.

The male then comes outside and the two of them have a boxing match with their claws. The female lets him win and places her claws on his head. Then they move into the den and – in a few hours or a few days – she molts. Then it is time to mate. After that she hangs out until her new shell is strong enough to protect herself – at which point she is ready to go and never looks back.

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Will I really swallow anything living if I gulp saltwater?

You just ingested a plethora of bacteria, exponentially less than that in terms of phytoplankton and then even fewer of zooplankton. Totaling several hundreds of millions of organisms – yup, that were living. Gulp. You will survive though. Just don’t make a habit out of it.

Also, it should be mentioned that there are a substantial amount of ions and elements in saltwater which make it unsuitable to drink on a daily basis. But, accidentally, once in a while after you have been knocked over by a wave – you’ll survive.

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What makes the swirly tracks at the ocean edge?

What I think you are referring to is the trail of a moon snail, or sometimes called a sand snail. This univalve animal has a cinnamon bun swirled shell. The shell is extremely thick to protect itself from the ocean and other animals that may try to eat it.

If you try to pick it up – the animal will resist because of its suction like muscled foot planted in the sand. The snail has that muscled foot which makes it glide quickly through the sand. If you do pick it up and feel resistance – it is ok, the animal will “close its door” – or operculum – and hold in water and nutrients. And, of course, you will put it back right where you found it? Now, it you see some colored legs poking out – that’s a hermit crab. They may pinch – so put it back – quickly. Hermit crabs make their homes out of shells that are no longer homes to other animals…

Lastly, this is type of snail is the one that has the radula which drills into clam shells.

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How much salt is in the ocean?

salt-773845The amount of salt in the ocean, known as ‘salinity’, is a measure of the of the amount of salt dissolved in 1000 grams of water. The amount is expressed as parts per thousands (ppt).

Refractometers are a tool used to measure the amount of salinity in the ocean. The salinity in the ocean is approximately 32 to 35 ppt. Freshwater has a salinity of zero. The estuaries fluctuate their salinity level depending upon the tides. But, it’s always below the open ocean. The poles have a lower salinity because the cold water does not evaporate as fast.

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