The ocean covers 71 percent of Earth's surface and contains 97 percent of the planet's water. The ocean plays an integral role in many of the planet's systems including climate and weather. The ocean supports the life of nearly 50 percent of all species on Earth and helps sustain that life providing 20 percent of the animal protein and 5 percent of the total protein in the human diet. Considering these and many more incredible statistics about the ocean, it goes without saying that it is one of the most important entities on Earth to protect from environmental harm. (Source: NOAA / Photo: Flickr)

9 unexpectedly beautiful sea creatures

Do manatees get thirsty?

Canada creates two huge ocean sanctuaries in the Arctic

This dolphin mom adopted a baby from a different species

Rare encounter with piglet squid leaves deep sea explorers at a loss for scientific words

Newly discovered shark puts on a light show to lure in its next meal

Why your sunscreen is bad for coral reefs

Astonished divers come across a massive jellyfish off the coast of England

How hurricanes are named (and why)

A little-known fish takes a star turn by eating a shark in one gulp

Arctic fox astounds scientists by walking 2,100 miles in 76 days

Why is a spill that started in 2004 still leaking oil in the Gulf of Mexico?