Life on Earth

A chocolate chip seastar
A chocolate chip seastar

Geologist Don Eicher, in his publication Geologic Time (1976), created a time model in which the 4.6 billion years of Earth’s history are compressed into a single year as an alternative means of conceptualizing life history:

“On that basis, the oldest rocks known date from mid-March. Living things first appeared in the sea in May. Land plants and animals emerged in late November and the richly vegetated swamps that formed the Pennsylvania coal deposits flourished for four days in early December. Dinosaurs became dominant in mid-December, but disappeared on the twenty-sixth, at about the time that the Rocky Mountains first uplifted. Manlike creatures first appeared sometime during the evening of the thirty-first, and Columbus discovered America about three seconds before midnight.”

Marine biodiversity and biomass is several orders of magnitude greater than that of terrestrial organisms. And 97% of all animals worldwide are invertebrates. To be a diver in Romblon, you must also appreciate these microfauna:

This blue tunicate is actually more closely related to humans than the seastar shown above!
This blue tunicate is actually more closely related to humans than the seastar shown above!
This tiny shrimp can be found hiding within an anemone.
This tiny shrimp can be found hiding within an anemone.

Recently, a seahorse species thought to only inhabit waters near Indonesia and never before seen in the Philippines was found here in Romblon. This guy is about the size of a pinkie fingernail!

Weedy pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi) photo by Lenny Kim
Weedy pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi) photo by Lenny Kim

“In the face of environmental change, the loss of genetic diversity weakens a population’s ability to adapt; the loss of species diversity weakens a community’s ability to adapt; the loss of functional diversity weakens an ecosystem’s ability to adapt; and the loss of ecological diversity weakens the whole biosphere’s ability to adapt.”

Our actions impact our oceans and the state of the ocean, impacts us.

Sources:
Thorne-Miller, B. & Catena, J. Living Ocean Understanding and Protecting Marine Biodiversity. The Oceanic Society of Friends of Earth, U.S. Island Press. Washington, D.C. with a Foreward by Sylvia Earle.

Geologic Time Scale: http://home.planet.nl/~krame493/tijdschaal_eng.html

Seahorse Discovery: http://business.inquirer.net/179222/rare-seahorses-spotted-for-first-time-in-ph

iSeahorse Project: http://iseahorse.org/?q=explore&type=user&user=kati-romblon

Lastly a cool video:
Male Seahorse giving birth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsHCqrrU-Gk

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One thought on “Life on Earth”

  1. WOW! how crazy is that video!?!?! Dave and I watched it and we were just floored. kudos to daddy seahorses – they kick ass. also very cool perspective on how insignificant humans are in the grand scheme of the world.
    Great post, SJ!
    looking forward to checking out the other posts I missed while away last month!!

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