Category Archives: Marine Education

Ocean Habitats

Oceans support an immense diversity of life and ecosystems. From warm tropical waters of the Caribbean to the freezing polar regions (and from zooplankton to blue whales!) a staggering range of animals, plants and other life forms call the ocean their home. These ocean, or marine habitats, provide everything needed for survival – food, shelter, water and oxygen.

Types of Marine Habitat

Marine habitats are divided into two main zones – coastal habitats and open ocean habitats. Within these habitats there are numerous sub habitats.

Coastal Habitats

Coastal HabitatsThe coastal habitat is the region from the shoreline out to the continental shelf. Most marine creatures live in coastal habitat, although it only makes up seven percent of the ocean. Coastal habitats include intertidal zones (constantly exposed and covered by the ocean’s tides), rocky shore, mangrove, mudflats, estuaries, kelp forest, sea grass, sandy shores/beach and coral reefs


Open Ocean Habitats

Open Ocean HabitatsOpen Ocean Habitats are found beyond the continental shelf, this is the deep ocean. Open ocean habitats are divided into layers which include surface waters, the deep sea, and the ocean floor. It is estimated that about 10 percent of marine species live in the open ocean. They tend to be the largest and fastest, such as whales and sharks, or fish that swim in schools. Tiny marine life, such as plankton, also inhabit this zone.


Queensland’s Marine Habitats

Habitats ReefQueensland’s stunning coastline comprises a wide range of marine habitats. These include sandy and rocky shores, mangrove, and coral reef; with the largest reef of all, The Great Barrier Reef, located just off Queensland’s coast.

For more information on Queensland’s marine habitats, check out Ocean Life Education’s NEW Habitats video presented by our owner and Senior Marine Biologist, Richard Coward. Habitats video

For Habitats themed incursions, go to our Primary programs & resources


How oceans help fight Covid-19

There is no doubt that our health is intimately tied to the health of the earth and its’ oceans. According to UNESCO, our oceans not only help in the detection of COVID-19 but could also help combat it.


How oceans help detect Coronavirus

Bacteria found in the depths of the ocean are currently being used to carry out tests to detect the presence of COVID-19. The bacteria were identified years ago and have been used to diagnose other viruses such as AIDS and SARS.


How oceans could help treat Covid-19



In addition to diagnosis, many commonly used medicinal products already come from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. The potential health benefits lie in the diversity of microbes found in the ocean’s hydrothermal vents. These are currently being researched as a potential treatment for Covid-19.




Our lives depend on healthy oceans (and a healthy planet) in many ways. Oceans cover nearly three quarters of the Earth’s surface; contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water and support life on earth by providing oxygen and food to an astonishing range of ocean and non-ocean life.



How Can I Protect the Ocean?

Scientific research has concluded that we need to protect 30% of our blue planet by 2030 in order to safeguard the health of marine life and habitats. Yes, we need to put pressure on governments to take action and change policy but we can all do our bit to make a difference. In fact, working together we can all make a huge difference.

“Our actions over the next 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years.” Dr.Sylvia Earle, Marine Biologist & Conservationist


How you can take action to protect the ocean locally and internationally…


Local action to protect the ocean


  • Reduce your use of plastics: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Reduce your carbon footprint and energy consumption: use public transport and turn off unnecessary appliances
  • Make sustainable seafood choices: check the label – is it ocean friendly?
  • Help take care of the beach: volunteer with an organisation such as Coolum Coast Care or simply pick up debris as you walk
  • Travel the ocean responsibly: be mindful of wildlife and never throw anything overboard
  • Campaign for change: support local campaign groups such as Coolum Coast Care and Great Barrier Reef Foundation to protect and rebuild marine areas
  • Educate yourself and your friends about oceans and marine life: the more you know, the more you’ll want to help ensure the health of the ocean – then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.
Check out our program Marine Biologist for a Day 

International action to protect the ocean

Sign this petition telling world leaders that you want action to protect our oceans now!

10 Reasons Why We Depend On Our Oceans

Healthy, productive oceans are essential for food, jobs and economic growth. They also keep the planet cool – in more ways than one!

1. 50-70% of our oxygen – This oxygen comes from phytoplankton (tiny oceanplants that live close to the water’s surface and use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make food).


2. Absorption of carbon dioxide – About 30 per cent of carbon dioxide produced by humans is absorbed by our oceans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

3. Climate regulation – Oceans transport heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns.

4. Economic benefit and jobs for millions of people – Ocean-dependant businesses directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people worldwide.

5. Food for millions of people – Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source. Ingredients from the sea are found in surprising foods such as peanut butter and soymilk.

6. Breakdown and removal of waste and pollution

7. Marine transportation for world trade – Over two thirds of most developed countries’ trade involves some form of marine transportation.

8. The majority of life on earth – As over 70% of the Earth’s surface is underwater, it comes as no surprise that marine species outnumber those on land – an incredible 94 per cent of the Earth’s living species exist within the oceans.

9. Tourism, recreation and fun  – Fishing, boating, kayaking, diving, surfing and whale watching – the ocean provides us with many unique activities. Humans just love the beach and coastline!

10. Medicine: Many medicinal products come from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease. The ocean is also an ally in fighting Covid 19.