Marine Life Center

Ask Melissa

Have you ever wondered if fish sleep, why the ocean is blue, or how plants can grow underwater without sunlight? Melissa is our resident marine life expert and she would be happy to give you an answer! Just use the form below to ask your question and Melissa will answer you as soon as possible. In the mean time, you can read some of the questions that other curious folks have asked below.

Past Questions

Question:
What is the carrying capacity of the Gulf of Mexico?
Submitted by: Stef
Answer:
There are lots of scientists working on this issue right now They are using modeling programs to try and determine estimates for GOM carrying capacity.The ecosystem is dynamic which means carrying capacity would be in a constant state of flux depending on numerous different variables. Using advanced modeling techniques, it is possible to gain a rough estimate of carrying capacity for very specific areas of the GOM, but again, these are just estimates.
— Melissa
Question:
How do mahi change colors?
Submitted by: Abbie in Kansas
Answer:
The mahi-mahi's color change is controlled by the nervous system of the mahi, which in turn controls specialized cells known as chromatrophores in the fish's skin. The chromatophores cause the color changes.
— Melissa
Question:
Do fish sleep?
Submitted by: Renee in North Carolina
Answer:
Yes, fish do sleep but not in the same way humans sleep. They don't have eyelids so can't close their eyes. A fish "sleeps" or "rests" by lowering their energy level and metabolism, and shutting off their brain to an extent (like daydreaming for us humans) whereby they run on automatic. Different fish rest in different ways, some continue swimming on automatic, some hover in place, some find a crevice in the sand or coral to wedge themselves into, some build a nest or a film around their body while they rest.
— Melissa
Question:
What is the largest fish in the ocean?
Submitted by: Jerry from Iowa
Answer:
The ocean's largest fish is the whale shark growing up to 40 feet or more and weighing an average of 20.6 tons! Yet no need to worry about being whale shark food, these enormous animals are filter feeders and eat some of the ocean's smallest life forms, plankton, along with small fish, krill, and squid that get scooped up.
— Melissa