Here we look at a menagrie of topics related to the biology of underwater life – from the miracles of microbes, to how parasites and symbionts evolve and work together in the Man of War. We ask questions like how do organisms fit on to the tree of life and why do they vary so much. Within each of these discussions of Marine Biology we use a spectrum of interdisciplinary perspectives to understand the evolution of global biogeochemical systems and relate them back to current environmental and social issues facing the planet and Cornwall.

The Sharks of Cornwall

Basking Sharks are the second largest fish in the ocean - enormous enigmatic sharks who glide along our coastline with a great dark triangular fin jutting out above the waves. Gentle giants - over 12 metres in length - basking sharks only eat the tiniest planktonic creatures at the surface, swimming with a gaping mouth open to filter out their microscopic meals. Surprising little is known about their habits.

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Why do Corals Prefer to Eat Plastic

A study in 2017, trying to understand why and how microplastics are getting in the marine food chain, found that when coral were offered plastic, sand and bacteria-covered plastic + sand they actually preferred the naked-plastic. They even retained the plastic for longer compared to the other food. They suspect that some types of plastic contain chemicals which stimulate the corals - which are tiny animals related to jellyfish - to feed. Or in other words, plastic is tasty for corals.

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