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Liquid Planet: Exploring the World of Water

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Updated September 24, 2002
 
Water is the essence of life, and of the Earth itself. Oceania would be a more appropriate name for our planet.

Early life is believed to have evolved in a liquid environment and the oceans remain home to the great majority of all living things. Life cannot exist on land without access to water.

While Earth's freshwater resources are increasingly under pressure from human population and environmental degradation, the oceans remain mostly unexplored. Even massive creatures like the giant sea squid have never been photographed alive; many sea animals have never been described.

Liquid Planet is a weekly television series produced by our U.S. cable television program National Geographic Today in partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The series airs on Tuesday nights on the National Geographic Channel. The segments take viewers into the field and under the waves for an up-close look at the latest exploration and research into the oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes.



Liquid Planet Resources on Nationalgeographic.com

Table of Contents—Jump to:
A. Adventure and Exploration
A.1 Volvo Ocean Race
B. Animals and Nature
B.1 Amphibians
B.2 Birds
B.3 Corals, Sponges, and Other Early Animals
B.4 Crocodilians
B.5 Crustaceans
B.6 Fish
B.7 Microbes and Extremophiles
B.8 Sharks
B.9 Squids and Octopuses
B.10 Other Animals
B.11 Whales, Dolphins, and Other Mammals
C. Archaeology and Paleontology
D. Environment
E. Geography
F. Science and Technology
Additional Resources

A. Adventure and Exploration

News
Retrieval of Titanic Artifacts Stirs Controversy
Arctic Team Seeks 1840s Explorer's Lost Ships
Arctic Rower Details Chilling Journey in New Book
Using Unmanned Subs to Probe the Deep


Lesson Plans
Bob Ballard (Undersea Exploration):
Grades 3-5: Ocean Exploration Museum
Grades 9-12: The Science of the Deep Sea

A.1 Volvo Ocean Race News:

Round-the-World Racers Hit Brutal "Liquid Himalaya"
Volvo Ocean Race Pounds On—Even at Pit Stops
Round-the-World Racers Lend a Hand to Science
Round-the-World Volvo Ocean Race Comes to Baltimore
German Team Wins Marathon Volvo Ocean Race


Interactive Feature: National Geographic's Volvo Ocean Race Coverage


B. Animals and Nature (Also see other sections)

B.1 Amphibians

News

Australian Frog—First Vertebrate to Make Poison


National Geographic Magazine: The Fragile World of Frogs


B.2 Birds

News

Tagging Hobbles Penguins, Some Researchers in Cape Town Contend
Ice Buildup Hampers Penguin Breeding in Antarctica
Some Ducks Let Young Be Raised by Relatives


B.3 Corals, Sponges and Other Early Animals

News

Online Jellyfish Forecast Warns Chesapeake Swimmers
Was the Humble Sponge Earth's First Animal?
Was this Earth's First Predator?
Brittle Star Found Covered With Optically Advanced "Eyes"


Lesson Plans


Aquarium vs. Natural Environments:
Grades 3-5: Aquarium Habitats
Artificial Reefs:
Grades 9-12: The Pros and Cons of Artificial Reefs

B.4 Crocodilians

News

Desert-Adapted Crocs Found in Africa
Crocodilians' Hunting Secret—Blue Freckles?


Interactive Feature: National Geographic's World of the Crocodilians


Lesson Plans
Grades K-2: Alligators and Crocodiles
Grades 3-5: What Did They Eat?
Grades 6-8: Crocs, Then and Now
Grades 9-12: Survival of the Fittest?

B.5 Crustaceans

News

Snapping Shrimp Stun Prey with Flashy Bang


B.6 Fish

News

South Africa Sardine Migration Draws Crowds
Tiny Mandarin Fish Reveal Surprisingly Complex Mating Ritual
Scientists Track Giant Sunfish by Satellite


B.7 Microbes and Extremophiles

News

Students Probe Peculiar Ice Worms in Alaska's Glaciers
Group of Microbes Change Dissolved Gold to Solid
Microbial Colony in U.S. Suggests Life Could Live on Mars


B.8 Sharks

Expedition
Expedition Report One: Scientists Study Nurse Shark Mating Habits
Expedition Report Two: Researchers Tag Sharks to Study Breeding Habits
Expedition Report Three: Crittercams Provide Insights into Nurse Shark Behavior


News
Jaws Author Peter Benchley Talks Sharks
Do Hammerheads Follow Magnetic Highways in Migration?
Shark Nursery Yields Secrets of Breeding
South Africa Rethinks Use of Shark Nets
Sharks Falling Prey to Humans' Appetites
Satellites Clear Up White Shark Mysteries
Are People Eating Sharks Out of Existence?


Shark Sites on Nationalgeographic.com:
Creature Feature: Great White Sharks
Ten Cool Things That You Didn't Know About Great White Sharks
Print 'N' Go Coloring Book: Great White Sharks
Shark Surfari: Online Quiz

Lesson Plans:
Grades K-2: Sharks—Should They Be Afraid of Us?
Grades 3-5: Are Sharks As Dangerous As We Think They Are?
Grades 3-5: Does the Hammer Help?
Grades 6-8: A Trip to the Beach
Grades 9-12: Sharks—Setting the Record Straight
Grades 9-12: What's the Hammer For?

B.9 Squid and Octopuses

News

"Weird" New Squid Species Discovered in Deep Sea
Newfound Octopus Impersonates Fish, Snakes
Octopus Arms Found to Have "Minds" of Their Own


B.10 Other Animals

News

Seahorse Fathers Take Reins in Childbirth
"Magnetic Map" Found to Guide Animal Migration


Lesson Plans
Manatees:
Grades K-2: What Are Manatees?
Grades 6-8: Working Together for the Manatee

B.11 Whales, Dolphins and Other Mammals

News

Scientists Mount Assault to Save Endangered Right Whales
Right Whales Get Boost from U.S. Navy
Seals Use Whiskers for Hunting, Study Finds
Dolphins Recognize, Admire Themselves in Mirrors, Study Finds
Hanging Out With Walruses


National Geographic Animals and Nature Guide: Go >>

Lesson Plans
Right Whales:
Grades K-2: Right Whales and People
Grades 9-12: The Best Hope for Northern Right Whales

C. Archaeology and Paleontology

News

JFK's PT-109 Found, U.S. Navy Confirms
New Fossil: Link Between Fish and Land Animals?
Ancient Walking Whales Shed Light on Ancestry of Ocean Giants
New Underwater Finds Raise Questions About Flood Myths
Floods Swept Ancient Nile Cities Away, Expert Says
Scientists Prepare to Open Civil War Sub
Human Remains Found in Civil War Submarine Hunley
Curious Find on Confederate Sub Links North and South
Captain's Remains Found in U.S. Civil War Submarine
Captain's "Lucky Coin" Found in Civil War Submarine
U.S. Civil War Sub "Photo" Disproved as Image of Captain
Forensic Team Studying Skeletons of Hunley Crew
Journals of Captain Cook Go Online
Legged Sea Cow Fossil Found in Jamaica
"Tidal Giant" Roamed Coastal Swamps of Ancient Africa
"SuperCroc" Fossil Found in Sahara
SuperCroc's Jaws Were Superstrong, Study Shows


Interactive Feature: Black Sea @ Nationalgeographic.com


D. Environment

News

Maryland Suffers Setback in War on Invasive Walking Fish
Study Calls Into Question Global Quotas on Bluefin Tuna
Expedition Reveals Black Coral's Bleak State
Artificial Reefs: Trash to Treasure
Hermaphrodite Frogs Caused By Popular Weed Killer?
Overfishing Long Ago Tied to Modern Ecosystem Collapse
Caviar Crisis Spurs Caspian Sea Summit
Despite Predictions, Viagra Hasn't Stemmed Trade in Threatened Wildlife
Raw Human Waste Killing Off Coral Reefs?
Is Bleaching Coral's Way of Making the Best of a Bad Situation?
World Has Enough Water for All, Experts Say—But Only if People Pay
Streams Reduce Nitrogen Pollution, Scientists Find
Geographic Launches Project to Promote Protection of U.S. Rivers
Cloud Forests Fading in the Mist, Their Treasures Little Known
Ocean Litter Gives Alien Species an Easy Ride
Scientists Check Coral Reef Health From Above
Marine Reserves Found to Boost Nearby Fishing Grounds
Study Challenges Idea of Seeding Oceans With Iron to Curb Global Warming
Climate Studies Point to More Floods in This Century
High-Tech Fishing Is Emptying Deep Seas, Scientists Warn
Poaching, Smuggling Threaten Abalone Colonies in South Africa
Black "Blob" in Florida Waters Has Scientists Perplexed
U.S. Chefs Join Campaign to Save Chilean Sea Bass
Why Is Seaweed Killing Florida's Coral Reefs?
Turtles Smuggled to China as Food Find Haven in U.S.
Controlled Alligator Harvest an Effective Conservation
Invasive Species "Stowaways" May Lose Rides on Ships
Newest U.S. National Park Torn by Dam Dispute
Pesticides, Parasite May Cause Frog Deformities
Can Network of Colonies Save Asia's Turtles?
Canada Cree Now Back Power Project on Native Lands
Belize Dam Fight Heats Up as Court Prepares to Rule
Chesapeake Bay Watermen Question Limits on Crab Harvests
Crittercam Catches Rare Humpback Hunting Behavior on Film
Human Noise May Disturb Whales' "Love Songs"
Two Right Whale Studies Brighten Grim Outlook for Species
Scientists Mount Assault to Save Endangered Right Whales
Patagonia Penguins Make a Comeback
Penguin Decline in Antarctica linked with Climate Change
Household Pollutants Disrupting Fish Genes


Lesson Plans
David Doubilet (Oceans and Photography):
Grades K-2: Into the Ocean
Grades 3-5: Using Photography to Help Save the Ocean
Grades 6-8: Ocean Conservation: Getting the Word Out With Photographs
Grades 9-12: What's Wrong With the Oceans? Can Photography Help?

E. Geography

News

Rotten-Egg Gas Suffocating Fish off African Coast
Coral Reef Paradise Found in Remote Indonesian Islands
Iceland Lake Disappearing Into New Crack in Earth
Inner Earth May Hold More Water Than the Seas
Shrinking African Lake Offers Lesson on Finite Resources
Coral Trove Found Off Madagascar
Rich Coral Reefs in Nutrient-Poor Water: Paradox Explained?
Scientists Excited by Arctic Ocean Ridge Finds


National Geographic Magazine: Deep Sea Vents: Science at the Extreme


F. Science and Technology


News

New Antibiotic Found in Fish Cells
Cod "Fingerprinting" May Aid Conservation
Beetle's Shell Offers Clues to Harvesting Water in the Desert
"Artificial Glaciers" Aid Farmers in Himalayas
Camera-Fitted Seals Spy Antarctic Sea Life
Frog Study Receives National Geographic's 7,000th Research Grant
Scientist Journeys Into Caves for Clues to Extreme Life
Scientists Return to Galápagos Sea Vents


Additional Resources

Wild World Conservation Atlas: Southeastern U.S. Rivers and Streams
From its cool-flowing streams in the Appalachian Mountains to its brackish marshes along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, this collection of freshwater ecoregions includes a variety of habitats and some of the most species-rich freshwater systems on the planet.

Wild World Conservation Atlas: The Bering Sea
Here in one of the world's richest marine environments—the waters between Alaska and Russia—polar bears, walruses, whales, seals, and countless birds thrive. And conservationists are fighting to keep it that way.

Wild World Conservation Atlas: Sulu-Sulawesi Seas
Off the coast of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines is one of the most diverse marine communities on Earth. This ecoregion is home to nine times as many stony corals as live in the Caribbean Sea and more than twice the number found in the Indian Ocean.

Six of the world's seven species of sea turtles can be found here, along with huge whale sharks, massive manta rays, and an amazing abundance of fish species.

Sustainable Seas Expeditions
The Sustainable Seas Expeditions are a pathbreaking partnership between the National Geographic Society and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to explore the United States' last frontier: the ocean. The five-year program will investigate, conduct research in, and promote the 12 U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries, which range in size from a tiny bay in far-off American Samoa to a 5,328-square-mile (13,800-square-kilometer) expanse of ocean off the California coast.

Monterey Bay @ Nationalgeographic.com
Embraced by some of northern California's most beautiful shoreline, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of the largest protected marine areas in the world. Millions of visitors are drawn to the otters, harbor seals, and birds that splash along its beaches—but it is the sanctuary's blue expanse of water that teems with an unsurpassed explosion of life.

EarthPulse

EarthPulse: Great Barrier Reef
Rising off northeastern Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is actually more than 2,800 coral reefs. Thriving in the clear, shallow coastal water of tropical seas, coral reefs boast a diversity of species rivaled only by that of tropical rain forests. And like rain forests, reefs haves declined drastically due to human actions—a fact that makes the relative purity of the well-protected Great Barrier all the more vivid.

Pulse of the Planet

Pulse of the Planet: Amphibian Suite—Hudson Valley, New York
Since the 1980s there has been concern about the health of amphibian populations worldwide. Their numbers have been declining, and people have been finding deformed frogs with missing, extra, or mis-shapen limbs. One theory suggests that pollution is the culprit, but some of the declines have happened in unpolluted areas. And scientists aren't even sure if the decline in population and the physiological problems are related.
 

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