Sunday, October 2, 2022
HomeScuba DivingDo Any Ocean Animals Get Sunburns?

Do Any Ocean Animals Get Sunburns?



Query: Do any ocean animals have to fret about getting sunburned? If not, why? — Rachel G

Reply: A lot of animals do get sunburned, however those who keep away from it achieve this via making their very own organic sunscreen or behavioral avoidance.

Sunburn is a bodily and physiological response to UV mild from the solar. In people, it’s not solely itchy or painful, it additionally signifies some injury to your DNA. Repeated sunburns improve your danger of pores and skin most cancers. Just about any animal with uncovered pores and skin is susceptible to sunburn, at the very least to some extent, based on a Smithsonian Nationwide Zoo keeper. Having scales presents a point of safety, so sunburn is uncommon in fishes, however a dramatic shade change in response to intense UV mild has been documented in hammerhead sharks in Hawaii.

As any diver is aware of, daylight diminishes quickly with depth, so animals that hang around on the floor loads are usually extra susceptible to sunburn than these that don’t. Sunburn has certainly been documented in animals that come to the floor recurrently, like whales, and sunburn ensuing from an ozone layer gap was partially blamed for an “uncommon mortality occasion” in Arctic seals.Comparable diversifications are seen in land animals that defend themselves from the solar by masking their pores and skin in mud, dust, or sand, whereas others can produce a organic sunscreen-like compound.



Solar publicity isn’t the one doubtlessly harsh environmental situation that ocean animals need to adapt to. Animals that get trapped in tide swimming pools need to tolerate an enormous vary in water temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen–together with doubtlessly being completely out of the water for just a few hours a day. Animals that reside in estuaries need to tolerate enormous ranges in salinity, particularly after a significant rainstorm. Some organisms can tolerate the intense warmth of dwelling close to a hydrothermal vent, whereas others can tolerate the intense chilly of dwelling within the polar zone. To outlive excessive strain, deep sea organisms are sometimes small or have gelatinous our bodies. For combatting the chilly, some fishes have an antifreeze-like protein of their blood.

Since we are able to’t develop scales or produce our personal organic sunscreen, make sure to put on your sunscreen whereas having fun with a day on the water!


Ask a Marine Biologist is a month-to-month column the place Dr. David Shiffman solutions your questions in regards to the underwater world. Subjects are chosen from reader-submitted queries in addition to knowledge from frequent web searches. When you’ve got a query you’d like answered in a future Ask a Marine Biologist column, or when you’ve got a query in regards to the reply given on this column, e mail Shiffman at [email protected] with topic line “Ask a marine biologist.”

Dr. David Shiffman is a marine conservation biologist specializing within the ecology and conservation of sharks. An award-winning public science educator, David has spoken to hundreds of individuals world wide about marine biology and conservation and has bylines with the Washington Submit, Scientific American, New Scientist, Gizmodo and extra. Comply with him on @WhySharksMatter on Twitter, Fb and Instagram, the place he’s at all times blissful to reply any questions on sharks.

The views expressed on this article are these of David Shiffman, and never essentially the views Scuba Diving journal.




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