Many people don’t realize how many marine habitats exist and their incredible importance for biodiversity (the variety of life on Earth) and humans. Coral reefs, kelp forests and seagrass beds are just a few of the crucial habitats found below the ocean’s surface. They support marine life, sustain sources of food for people, sequester carbon and produce oxygen. An estimated 8.7 million species exist on Earth, although that number may be significantly higher. Of that total, scientists estimate at least one-quarter are found in the world’s oceans. However, we know relatively little about the oceans, and the actual number of marine species may surprise us all.
Photo and haiku: Samantha Oester