There are currently around 170.000 species of marine invertebrates in the ocean. The number could rise as more species are discovered. Marine invertebrates are so diverse and they spread out to all parts of the ocean. These 15 Importance of Marine Invertebrates will tell you how much the ocean actually depends on them. Know more about the important roles and functions that they carry out at every single moment out in the sea.
1. Keep the Ocean Water Healthy
Marine invertebrates are useful in keeping the ocean water to stay healthy. Some of them can collect bacterias or even absorb harmful components. For instance, sea sponges are able to take in excess amount of ammonium in the ocean water. They maintain the right level of component needed in the water.
2. Give Shelter to Marine Species
Corals are also classified as marine invertebrates. They are very useful in providing home and the right shelter for all kinds of creatures in the oceans. Some of them include fishes, sponges and crustaceans. Without corals, many species would eventually be wiped out from the world as they no longer have the right habitat to flourish in.
3. Protect Humans from Storms
This one is connected to corals as well. Those invertebrates help to weaken the power of storms before they hit the mainland. They can break big and strong waves into smaller ones. That would mean that there would be a potentially less damage caused by the storm. The corals help to take away the energy that the storm waves have.
4. Feed Migratory Shorebirds
Horseshoe crabs are a part of the marine invertebrates. During the spawning seasons, they would come to the shore. They lay their eggs and also let them fertilise there. For migratory shorebirds, these eggs are perfect to feed on. They can gain a huge amount of nutrients. The whole process contributes to how the marine ecosystem works.
Read more: Types of Ocean Birds
5. Biomedical Research
Biomedical research is important in finding the right kind of treatments and medicines that could potentially cure diseases. Marine invertebrates play a role in the research. They are often used as tests for toxicity on pharmaceutical drugs before they are given to humans or animals.
6. Baits for Fisheries
Some fisheries in the world may need to rely on marine invertebrates as bait. An example of this would be the New England Fisheries. They use horseshoe crabs as baits for their business. Fisheries are still an important source of livelihood for a lot of people. Marine invertebrates help maintain the jobs of those fishermen so that they can continue to survive.
7. Study the History of the Oceans
As marine invertebrates have lived in the oceans for many decades, they hold a crucial key in understanding how the oceans was formed. They may contain the details on the condition of the oceans in the ancient times. Understanding the past of the ocean could help in knowing the changes the the world had gone through.
8. Keep Predators Under Control
It’s crucial that the ocean has a balanced amount of predators. Too much or too little of them can be fatal. A great importance of marine invertebrates is this, keeping the right number of predators. The Harlequin shrimp, for instance, can control the amount of Asterina starfish that is known to attack corals. The shrimp can keep the corals healthy by minimising the number of that particular type of starfish.
9. Food for Humans
Humans actually depend on marine invertebrates for their seafood. Some are even considered as delicacies. Many people in China, Korea and Japan consume jellyfish due to their taste and their texture. They are cooked in different ways to be more appealing.
10. Food for Other Marine Creatures
It’s not only humans who feed on marine invertebrates. Other marine creatures do it as well. Sharks, dolphins, whales and seals actually like to eat marine invertebrates such as squids. Since squids like to dive into the very deep parts of the ocean, they are the perfect food for the deep sea creatures who rarely come to the surface.
Also see: Facts of Sharks
11. Decomposers of the Ocean
Many marine invertebrates play the role of decomposers in the deep parts of the ocean. They are able to turn the waste that they found into food or something useful for other marine creatures. In a way, they help to keep the ocean clean. Other than that, they also maintain the nutrients that both marine plants and animals need in order to grow.
Read more: Importance of Decomposers in the Ocean
12. Development of Biotechnology
As an invertebrate, the jellyfish has helped in developing fluorescent tag to mark specific genes. They contain a bioluminescent protein that made the research possible. This biotechnology will help humans to advance in more studies. It also enables them to create something more from this.
Also read: Types of Jellyfish in the Atlantic Ocean
13. Keep Algal Blooms Away
Algal blooms happen when there is an overgrowth of algae in the water. It can become very toxic quickly if the growth becomes uncontrollable. Algal blooms may cause death to both marine plants and animals. Marine invertebrates, especially sea urchins, help to keep them away. They feed on the algae which prevents any overpopulation of algae in the ocean water.
See more: Types of Algae
14. Provide Protection to Other Marine Creatures
Another importance of marine invertebrates is their ability to provide protection to other marine creatures. Apparently, some of them have features that others can put into good use. An example of this would be the empty shell from a sea snail. Some hermit crabs or tiny octopus may find an empty shell and use it. The hard shell will provide protection against the water currents or lurking predators.
15. Monitor Ocean Acidity
Marine invertebrates help to keep the ocean acidity at a normal level. This is a very important role they are playing in because ocean acidity could lead to mass death and inhabitable areas in the ocean. As marine invertebrates contribute to a healthy marine ecosystem, the ocean acidity can still be controlled.
The marine invertebrates influence every part of the ocean. It is always necessary to keep every species safe from threats that come from humans and the environment.