The Oceans—Its Relevance Today in Biological Oceanography”/>
Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 05 Issue 03

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Volume 05, No. 3
Pages 159 - 160


REVIEW AND COMMENT • The Oceans—Its Relevance Today in Biological Oceanography

Sharon L. Smith
First Paragraph

Many examples of the important observations made over the past century are included in The Oceans. The description of nanoplankton on the filtration apparatus of Oikopleura has long been one of the most insightful observations in biological oceanography. Its combination of morphology, function, taxonomy and processes, all generated by simple, careful observation and deduction, is still a model of biological synthesis. The degree to which our understanding has not advanced in the intervening years is a surprising realization. The Oceans is full of descriptions of various faunal groups, speculations about their evolutionary history and ecological roles in the sea, and basic definitions that structure our think- ing and discussion. The full history of the terms we use is not explained, and some terms are no longer commonly used, but it is clear that The Oceans has played a key role in providing wide-spread uniformity in some basic terminology of biological oceanography over the past fifty years. Many of the tables in the book provide information of continuing relevance; the conversion of silk number to aperture size for plankton netting is the most used page in my copy of the book.


Smith, S.L. 1992. The Oceans—Its relevance today in biological oceanography. Oceanography 5(3):159–160,

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