7 Things I Learned From The First Episode Of 'The Blue Planet'

7 Things I Learned From The First Episode Of 'The Blue Planet'

Yes, it's on Netflix.

Space, time, human and animal behavior, the purpose of life-- an infinite amount of things in this world pose questions for people every day.

Oceans are no exception.

In a recent Netflix binge, I stumbled upon the documentary, The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Oceans. When this series came out in 2001, only one percent of the oceans had been explored. It's insane to think about how much information was provided in just eight episodes. One can only imagine how much more has been discovered now that five percent has been explored.

Whether a dive into the pitch-black abyss terrifies you or not, I highly recommend checking out this series. Here are seven fascinating things I learned in just the first episode.

1. The Arribada is the marine equivalent to the tortoise and the hare.

When the moon is in it's first and third quarters, tides are calmest. This gives sea turtles a nightly nesting opportunity. Numbers have fluctuated and even diminished over the years, but over the course of a week, some colonies can have nearly 400,000 females (around 5,000 per hour) laying eggs along a beach! It can get crowded quickly, so many turtles must climb over one another in search of a spot to dig.

When tides rise by morning, nests filled with eggs can be exposed to predators like vultures and other beach dwellers in search of a meal. Hatchlings face a huge risk traveling back to the sea.

2. Herrings literally cloud Alaskan waters with sperm.

No, I'm not kidding. The arrival of spring brings an increase in phytoplankton to the Pacific coasts of North America. This bloom attracts vast numbers of herring who are ready to reproduce. Each female lays about 20,000 eggs that stick to surrounding vegetation. Males come through soon after, releasing their sperm in literal white clouds that will line the coast for hundreds of miles. Next time you spot some white sea scum, keep in mind that it's more than likely sperm.

3. There is an island covered in a half a million birds.

Steeple Jason is part of the Falkland islands off the Atlantic Coast of Argentina and is a bird hater's worst nightmare. The albatrosses that call this rock home fly out to wade on the sea in search of fish swimming near the surface.This remote island is only three square miles in size and serves as a prime example of how vital ocean life is, even for creatures that don't live in it.

4. Predators sometimes team up.

People often assume that spotting dolphins means waters are safe, that sharks and other predators. However, schools of sharks and dolphins can travel in thousand-strong packs and will become teammates in the event they discover the same shoal of fish. By encircling the school, sharks give dolphins the opportunity to drive it toward the surface where diving birds also await their arrival.

5. The blue whale is bigger than the biggest dinosaur.

Its no secret that the blue whale is the biggest living mammal, but realizing that even Jurassic Park couldn't compete with its size is a whole other ballgame. Blue whales can weigh up to 200 tons-- nearly three times the weight of the largest dinosaur relatively the same length. Their hearts are about the size of the average car (consider this the next time you see a smart car).

6. Fish are friends AND food.

After large storms or events that cause water temperatures to rise, sea creatures are at greater risk for fungal infections. Some sharks, specifically hammerheads, visit sea mounts where they'll find fish interested in eating the parasites. Hammerheads travel in some of the largest groups, sometimes even thousands to one shoal.

7. The largest life migration on Earth happens every night.

Post-sunset, over one thousand million tons of creatures rise up from the pitch black abyss in search of food. Predators upon predators ascend from hundreds of meters below the surface in between dusk and dawn-- none of them are safe, and any fear you may have of swimming in the ocean at night (or at all) is completely validated by this fact.

Check out the rest of the series to learn more about the creatures of the deep, dark sea and how different ocean ecosystems affect life all around the globe!

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.


Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."

He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

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5 Ways We Can Help Protect Marine Life That Will Make You Say 'Shell-Yeah'

It is serious!


Marine mammals such as dolphins, whales, and seals have captured the hearts of millions of people all over the world. But if we're not careful about how we treat their environment, they may not be around for much longer.

Here are some ways you can help protect our marine life friends!

1. Be beach-friendly. 

Whether you are at the beach to surf, swim, or just relax, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks or coral. If you really want to make a difference, start patrolling the beach area, and help pick up any trash you see lying around. Maybe even see if you can gather a group of people who will do it with you!

Also, don't take wild fish or hermit crabs away from their homes! They're not likely to live very long if they're taken away from their natural habitat. Also, never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water- a practice that can be very harmful to them.

2. Use fewer plastic products. 

Plastic can end up as ocean debris, which contributes to habitat destruction and entangles and kills tens of thousands of marine animals each year.

Many marine animals (such as sea turtles) mistake plastic waste for a viable food source, sometimes causing blockages in their digestive system. Though the declining sea turtle populations in oceans are due to a variety of reasons, plastic pollution plays a significant role. They eat things like jellyfish and are very likely to mistake a plastic straw for a jellyfish snack.

Also, don't ever release balloons- just pop them and throw them out. If you release them, they are a danger to marine wildlife who can accidentally swallow them because they mistook them for food.

3. Limit activities that can alter an animal's environment. 

Worldwide, dolphins face a variety of impacts that threaten their very existence- most of which are impacts of human activities. In recent history, the Yangtze river dolphin was declared extinct due to its river habitat being obstructed by the building of dams and the invasion of boat traffic.

When you are in the animals' natural habitat, be careful not to leave behind or do anything that could cause serious harm to their environment. Clean up after yourselves, and don't leave behind fishing wires, hooks, trash, or anything else.

4. Advocate for oil spill clean-up. 

Going along with the above statement, oil spills can be caused not only by equipment breaking down but also by people making mistakes or just being careless. Oil spills into rivers, oceans, and bays are often caused by accidents involving tankers, pipelines, storage facilities, drilling rigs, refineries, and barges.

Most oils float, so the animals most affected sea otters and sea birds that are found on the sea surface or on shorelines if the oil comes ashore. During most oil spills, seabirds are harmed and killed in greater numbers than any other kinds of creatures. If heavy oils get into the feathers of birds, they may die of hypothermia for losing their ability to keep themselves warm. This same effect is observed with sea otters. Sea otters can easily be harmed by oil since their ability to stay warm depends on their fur remaining clean. When oil remains on the beach for a while, other creatures, such as snails, clams, and terrestrial animals may suffer too.

Many light oils, such as gasoline and diesel, are considered to be toxic. They can kill animals or plants and they are also dangerous to humans who breathe their fumes or get it on their skin.

Go online to learn more about oil spills, and what you can do to help!

5. Lesson your carbon footprint. 

Because of ocean acidification, global warming has been a hot topic in the ocean world. When acidity of the ocean increases, it can cause devastating impacts on marine life, including plankton, corals, shellfish, and the animals that eat them.

The vast majority of the air we breathe comes from the oceans. That's why we say "if the oceans die, we die."

Marine mammals like the vaquita dolphin (only 30 left in existence due to illegal fishing in the Gulf of California) are not much different than humans. They know when they are in trouble, and they get scared.

Start researching online today to see how you can help!

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