Friday, August 18, 2017
This is the last blog post I will be writing about Oceania: The Underwater City. The next blog posts will be all about its sequel, Allie’s Return. I wanted this farewell post to make a difference, so I’ve chosen the topic of this farewell post to Oceania to be a call to action.
I envisioned the future world that Oceania is set in to be one where humans have done a much better job of caring for the earth and cohabiting with the plants and animals that live here too. But this is only after several hard lessons have been learned. Humans continued to use fossil fuels and other nonrenewable sources of energy until they were entirely depleted. Only then did they decide to change over to energy sources that better protect the planet. To me, this was a more realistic future, even though it’s not one that I hope comes to fruition. I hope that through education and the spreading of our knowledge about protecting the environment that we will voluntarily make these changes as a species, not be forced to do so because we’ve run out of other options.
One of the reasons I wrote Oceania: The Underwater City was to prompt people to consider the ocean as a possible frontier for both research and human colonization. As someone with a passion for both marine and space science, I wanted there to be more books out there that explored humans living under the sea rather than in space. However, in order for that to even be a future possibility, we as humans will have to learn how to become better stewards of our earth. Our human actions over the last two hundred years have caused a lot of damage to our planet. Some of this damage can be reversed if we all make changes starting now.
You can make individual choices every day that impacts the environment and our oceans, even if you don’t live near the sea. One thing you can do is to ensure that the fish you eat is caught sustainably. Or you can choose to not eat unsustainable seafood or seafood that causes a lot of bycatch during fishing for it. Other things as simple as making sure you place your trash inside of a trash can where it can’t blow away can make a difference. Although they might seem unrelated, using less energy can help the ocean. Ocean acidification is caused greatly by carbon dioxide emissions, so doing simple things like turning off the TV or lights when you’re not using them can reduce energy consumption. Other things you can do are reduce your use of plastic or use recyclable plastic, help clean up the beach by picking up garbage and throwing it away, and choosing to walk or bike somewhere close by instead of driving. It doesn’t have to be anything large, the small things add up. Something as simple as your attitude toward the environment can make a big difference. If you are looking for bigger ways to make a difference, donating to non-profit organizations that work to research and conserve marine life is always appreciated to those organizations. Conservation research isn’t cheap and any donation to a conservation organization is helpful.
So this is my call to action to all of you. Take care of the environment. Think of this world as a place that we all have to share, not only existing for any one person’s wants and needs. Rather treat every other human and animal with the kindness and respect we all deserve.
Some Places Where You Can Learn More About How to Help the Ocean
Of course, it is up to you whether or not you follow any of this advice. I’m sure if you’ve subscribed to this blog or read Oceania: The Underwater City, that you already have a care for the marine environment and all its inhabitants. But in the case that you have been inspired by Oceania to learn more about the ocean and how to maintain its health, I hope this blog post gave you some ideas.
You’ve reached the end of the farewell blog post for Oceania: The Underwater City! I hope you’ve enjoyed the last twenty-eight blog posts about Oceania: The Underwater City. The next blog post will be regarding Allie’s Return, which is book 2 of the Oceania: The Underwater City Series. If you have any questions about how you can do more for the ocean or any general comments, feel free to leave them here on my blog or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, I love hearing from my readers!
Friday, August 4, 2017
Exploring the mysteries of the deep sea has always been an interest of mine. For the longest time, whenever I saw a documentary, book, or article about the deep sea, I’d immediately devour it. So much below the photic zone is a mystery and little is known about the creatures who live there. Yet, it’s not just the deep sea that is largely unexplored. There are many places in the ocean that are yet to be thoroughly explored and numerous species who have yet to be discovered and described.
In 2010, the Census of Marine Life reported the collective results of a worldwide research effort to document the biological diversity of the ocean. Although ambitious, this marine census collection was crucial to determining a baseline for marine life so that any effects on their diversity and well-being over the years can have a basis for comparison. Over 6,000 (potentially) new species were discovered and a database called the “Ocean Biogeographic Information System” was created to catalog the species of the sea. According to their research, an estimated number of a billion different microbes could live in the ocean (1). Could one of those species be like Geobacter omnescomedenti?
Even though the Census of Marine Life project complied and reported their results in 2010, efforts to explore the ocean continues. There is an entire trust dedicated to exploring the ocean and they’ve lead expeditions every year since 2009. Called the Ocean Exploration Trust, it was founded by Dr. Robert Ballard (discoverer of the final resting place of the Titanic). Just last year they used their vessel—the Nautilus—to explore the waters off the Pacific Coast of North America from Canada all the way to Los Angeles. According to their website, the seafloor of the Southern California Margin is less than 50% mapped in high resolution. During their exploration, they researched bathymetry (the seafloor), marine wildlife, shipwrecks, marine geology, hydrothermal vents, subduction zones, and the abyssal plain (2). Expeditions such as these are crucial to understanding how the ocean impacts our own terrestrial environment and human lives.
So how does ocean exploration relate to Oceania? Well, for one, a good deal of the book is about exploring the ocean and its wonders. I wanted to instill in my readers a curiosity about the ocean and its inhabitants. My first blog posts (after the inspiration for the story) were about the sea creatures that appear in the novel. Some of the creatures I wrote about were easy to find information on, like dolphins, sharks, whales, and sea lions, but others like all of the deep-sea creatures were difficult. Other things like the depth at which Oceania could sit at and where it may be located were more difficult to determine due to the lack of exploration of the deep sea. So instead, I had the founders of Oceania discover the things lacking for our current research on the ocean.
For another, the only way Oceania could exist was because of ocean exploration. In the future world that Oceania exists in, ocean research has come to a point where so much of the seafloor has been mapped that the T2N was able to find a suitable location for the city. In creating the city, there was enough information on ocean species that the underwater city could be designed to be supported without aid from the surface world. Oceania further relates to ocean research partly because the entire city was created to aid in ocean exploration. From living under the sea, it allowed the scientists residing there to have greater access to the ocean environment. Proximity to the focus of study makes any scientific study more efficient than having to constantly travel to your study location. With Oceania in the deep sea, understanding of the undersea world on the seafloor could increase dramatically.
Many of the deep-sea creatures that appear in Oceania are still mostly a mystery to science. Even so, knowledge of various aspects of animals (even iconic ones like great white sharks) is still less than ideal. Anyone who watched Shark Week this past week would know that things as simple as whether or not sharks create familial bonds or learn from each other wasn’t known until recently. The full life history of sea turtles is also still a mystery to science. When there’s so much more to learn about iconic animals like sharks and sea turtles—animals that are immensely easier to access than the creatures of the deep sea—it’s no wonder little is known about the abyssal plain regions. It’s a reminder of why ocean exploration is so vital. Further exploring the ocean will lead to more discoveries and a greater understanding of both how we impact our oceans and how the ocean impacts us.
You’ve reached the end of the blog post for this week. The next post will be my last one regarding Oceania: The Underwater City. Stay tuned (or subscribe to the blog) to be notified of the next post. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post and if you have any comments, you can leave them here on my blog or email me directly at email@example.com. As always, I love hearing from my readers.
Sources and Further Reading
If you want to read up on more current marine science research and projects: