What’s your pick of the most important thing that swims in the ocean?
Is it the giant Blue Whale, the largest beast that has ever lived on our blue planet, dwarfing even the largest of prehistoric dinosaurs?
Or perhaps one of the countless fish we enjoy eating?
How about the jellyfish, a favourite exotic creature that puts us into a state of awe in the undersea windows of local tourist aquarium?
Mine is the copepod! If he’s in the photo above he’s so tiny he’s stuck between the teeth of the human standing in front of the Blue Whales nose. Actually he is surely stuck between the teeth/baleen of that blue whale and he is just about the only thing that Blue whale eats.
And no I don’t mean Sheldon James Plankton, Jr., or more commonly Plankton, the fictional character and main antagonist of the Nickelodeon animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants.
While Mr. Plankton is a copepod his behaviour is a more than a bit out of the species character. And that cyclopean face,who couldn’t love em.
Want to learn more about the copepod, you really should! Here’s a link to the Smithsonian copepod page.
Trouble in copepod paradise
There is a great tragedy happening on our blue planet, the ocean pastures of the copepods are dying fast. Our prodigious CO2, nearly a trillion tonnes already emitted and much more on its way as we blindly gorge our way through the world’s fossil fuel reservoirs is the problem. CO2 feeds plants on land which seems all good, right? Wrong! CO2 feeding plants on land is helping the grass grow to be lush and cover the land, but more grass growing means less dust blowing. And dust blowing in the wind is what has sustained the life of ocean pastures and the super abundance of copepods for millions of years. Those ocean pastures have dwindled to a shadow of their pre-fossil fuel age abundance and with them my favorite ocean life!
There is lots to read about the plight of ocean pastures on this blog and plenty about how we can restore those vital pastures that fill the 71% of this blue planet that are the oceans of our common home.