The Science of Marine Biology

The chapter begins with an introduction to Marine Biology describing its importance. Marine life contributes to human life in many ways. Some examples include medicine, tourism, and money. Marine biology is related to the study of Oceanography. The study of Marine Biology began in ancient times. As time progressed, scientists learned more about the ocean and life that existed in it. One major voyage noted in history is the Challenger Expedition. During this expedition the ocean’s sea floor was investigated. The ship named HMS Challenger sailed off in 1872 and collected an abundance of information on organisms and sea-floor life. The information was so great that it took nineteen years to publish the results. This expedition also created standards for the studying of the ocean. After this expedition, scientists began to collect and preserve live specimens form the ocean in laboratories. After the start of World War II, sound navigation ranging was developed. This is the process of listening to the sea by underwater echo. After World War II, the first scuba diving was conducted.

Today, marine biology is just as important as it was in the past. The growing field of technology has allowed new elements of the ocean to be found and researched. Satellites are used to track ocean currents. Remote Sensor applications are used, such as electronic buoys, which can track oil spills.

On page 198 the author discusses how the field of science has lead to the advances in Marine Biology. The set of procedures used by scientists to make discoveries is called the scientific method. Scientific conclusions are based on observations. Scientists use two different types of thinking. One type is called induction, meaning to arrive at conclusions by using separate observations. The other way is deduction is when scientists make predictions based on statements. These two ways of thinking lead scientists to developing a hypothesis. The hypothesis is then tested to be considered true or false. A hypothesis has to testable to be considered valid. If it is not testable, the hypothesis is invalid. The author gives an example. If a hypothesis states “somewhere in the ocean there are mermaids”, and there are no mermaids to be found then then the hypothesis is invalid. Sometimes scientists have to decide between options of two or more alternative hypotheses. Scientists use experiments to test and evaluate the different hypotheses. When scientists are testing the hypothesis there are many factors that can arise, which will affect the observations. The scientists refer to those factors as variables. To prevent a variable from having an affect on an experiment they keep the variable from changing or make sure that any changes made are performed on both groups.  This is called a controlled experiment. For example, if a scientist is testing how water temperature affects the growth of mussels, they would give all the mussels the same food and that would be considered the controlled experiment.

Throughout the chapter I found many pictures that caught my attention. The pictures included captions below them to further describe the purpose.  The map on page 200 Shows Ocean observing systems that are installed or planned to be installed around the world. There are articles inserted throughout the chapter for further reading on the topics discussed. Overall, the science of marine biology plays such an important role and is a growing area of research. It is important to understand how the research is conducted and the hypothesis, experiments, and conclusions are found.

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