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Surface Circulation - Mediterranean Sea
 
 
 
 
 

Marine Biotechnology
 
Marine biotechnology is about the use of marine organisms (such as fish, algae or marine bacteria) and special chemicals derived from these organisms in targeted industrial and scientific applications or processes. Biotechnology techniques are used to make new products or improve the quality and performance of existing materials, to enhance plants and animals, and to grow micro-organisms. 
 
The products or organisms are produced for specific uses, including the production of new antibiotics to fight infections; the production of chemicals that can fight certain diseases like cancer and arthritis; to clean up pollution such as oil spills or toxic sewage; to check the quality of water; and to produce products that can stop organisms like barnacles from attaching themselves and causing damage to boats, piers and other underwater structures. Of course, these are just some of the uses; there are many, many more.
 
Although marine organisms can be produced in very large quantities, it is very difficult to harvest these from their natural environment in sufficient quantities to meet our needs. This is why such organisms need to farmed and allowed to grow in a controlled and optimal environment. 
 
In the picture divers are working on an underwater seaweed farming site near Malta.
 
 

Underwater Surveys
 
Underwater surveys allow marine scientists to study the marine environment under the sea. These surveys can give information about many things, including:
 
  • data about fauna (living species) and flora (like sea weed) living in the sea and on the seabed;
  • the quality of the water, including its state of health, presence of harmful substances and pollution;
  • the quality of the sediments making up the marine seabed, including whether it supplies food and a suitable home for the animals or plants living there; 
  • exploration of the sea water column and the seabed to better understand how the marine ecosystem works, and find out about the potential for exploiting marine living (such as fish) and nonliving (such as fossil fuels and minerals) resources;
  • and to gather ocean data such as physical measurements of waves, currents, temperature and salinity, as well as biological, chemical and geological observations.
 
Scientists can also monitor the state of the marine environment and make forecasts. To carry out surveys scientists either dive to gather the data themselves or use a variety of oceanographic instruments (instruments carrying sensors to measure in the sea).
 
 
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