It’s Valentine’s Day. To offer you a sugar-free, non-commercialised way of celebrating here are our top ten reasons to LOVE the ocean.
1. A whole lotta heart
Octopuses have three hearts. That’s good news when you’re a sucker for tangling your tentacles. They have lots of heart and arms to share.
2. Totally devoted
Many seabirds mate for life, returning faithfully to nests and partners, sometimes halfway around the globe. Other ocean critters are so devoted to their offspring that they give up their life to give them a good start, like the awesome Giant Pacific Octopus which guards its brood with its last breath.
3. Fatherly love
The ocean is an equal opportunities environment, and ‘traditional’ parenting roles are turned upside down by those curly tailed cuties, the seahorses. Not content with sharing the baby-sitting duties, it is the male seahorses who brood the eggs and give birth to the small fry too.
4. Sharing is caring
Symbiosis is when opposites attract. Different creatures have a mutually beneficial arrangement that involves them sticking together. Perhaps the cutest and most colourful of these are anemone / crab bromances that not only benefit both animals, but also make it look like the crab has some funky fashion sense.
5. Heart shaped reminders
Not only are some islands and coral reefs shaped like hearts, but some less ostentatious ocean dwellers are too. Heart urchins are spiky seabed dwellers. Confusingly they are often also called sea potatoes … not quite so romantic!
6. Big Bang
Many ocean critters take procreation very seriously, and make it into a big, messy group affair. When coral get amorous, or shoals of fish spawn all at once the sea becomes cloudy with er, passion, and in turn provides a feast for filter-feeders like manta rays and whale sharks.
7. Love chain
Underwater love doesn’t always seem so straightforward. Hermaphroditic sea hares, a type of sea slug, form long chains to share the love, acting as both males and females to different partners at the same time. In Facebook terms, that would probably fall under the ‘it’s complicated’ relationship status.
8. Stoned love
Adelie penguins in Antarctica don’t go in for fancy schmancy presents, instead they show their adoration by presenting gifts of pebbles to their mate. Worth knowing if you’ve been caught short and the shops are shut.
9. Deep sea serenade
Whale songs travel enormous distances, if they don’t get drowned out by man made noises. Sometimes these salty serenades can be heard half way across ocean basins, and in humpbacks they have been found to be constantly evolving, and very intricate songs.
10. Kiss of life
Every second breath we take originates in the oceans. Take a big, deep breath and be grateful.
This Valentine’s Day – make sure you show the ocean some love back.
Willie Mackenzie is an Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace UK.