People Violate the Basic Law of the Sea

On November 19, 1969, the CCS Hudson jumped into the cold waters of Halifax Harbor in Nova Scotia and emerged into the open ocean. The research vessel begins with what many of the marine scientists on board Considered the last large, indescribable ocean voyage: The first complete voyage to America. The ship is bound for Rio de Janeiro, where it will take several scientists before passing through Cape Horn — the southernmost part of America — and then heading north through the Pacific to cross the icy Northern Passage back to Halifax Harbor. .

By the way, the Hudson always stop so that its scientists can collect samples and measure. One of the scientists, Ray Sheldon, rode on Hudson Located in Valparaíso in Chile. A marine ecologist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Canada, Sheldon was amazed at the microscopic plankton that seems to be present everywhere in the ocean: How far and wide are these tiny organisms? To find out, Sheldon and his companions hauled buckets of seawater all the way to Hudson‘s laboratory and used a plankton-counting machine to total the size and number of creatures they found.

Life at sea, some discovered, followed a simple mathematical rule: The abundance of an organism is closely related to its body size. In other words, the smaller the organism, the more you will find in the ocean. For example, krill is a billion times smaller than tuna, but it is also a billion times more abundant.

What’s even more shocking is how precise this rule seems to play out. When Sheldon and his colleagues organized their plankton samples by number of sizes, they found that each size bracket had exactly the same mass of the creatures. In a bucket of seawater, one-third of the weight of plankton is between 1 and 10 micrometers, another third is between 10 and 100 micrometers, and the last third is between at 100 micrometers and 1 millimeter. Each time they increased in a group size, the number of individuals in that group decreased by a factor of 10. The total mass remained the same, while the size of the populations changed.

Sheldon thinks this rule could govern all marine life, from the smallest bacteria to the largest number of whales. This assumption came true. The Sheldon spectrum, as is well known, is observed in plankton, fish, and in freshwater ecosystems, as well. (In fact, a The Russian zoologist observed same pattern on the ground three decades before Sheldon, but what he discovered was often unnoticed). “This kind of proposition that no size is better than any other size,” said Eric Galbraith, a professor of earth and planetary science at McGill University in Montreal. “Everyone has the same size cells. And basically, for a cell, it doesn’t matter what size your body is, you’re just going to do the same thing.

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