To Celebrate Earth Day, See Oceans – A New Film Is Out from Disneynature

This weekend, I’m hoping to see the ocean as never before. Disneynature has created a new film – Oceans – that celebrates the amazing life that lives under the waves. The clips I’ve seen so far seem to live up to the hype that the film provides a whole new look at our seas. In you haven't seen it, check out the trailer for yourself here.

I’m thrilled that this movie is coming out – for far too long, we have simply viewed the oceans as a vast expanse of blue space. In reality, there’s more there than we ever imagined.

For example, carved into the continental shelf you’ll find a series of submarine canyons that stretch from Massachusetts to Virginia. Nearly 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year to lean over the edge of the mile deep geologic formation and many of those visitors have no idea that here in the Mid-Atlantic, we have canyons off our shores that are three times as deep as the Grand Canyon and that are largely unexplored. Like the Grand Canyon was shaped by the Colorado River, Hudson Canyon (New York’s closest canyon) and the other submarine canyons were formed by strong currents flowing from underwater rivers or earthquakes in the seafloor. The currents continue to provide microscopic food into and flush waste from the canyons, making them ideal ocean oases for marine life to feed. The canyons’ stone and clay walls provide important structure for corals and other bottom dwelling species to take hold.

Corals and sponges on the seafloor provide shelter and food for marine life. They have also led to medical and technological advances: compounds from deep sea sponges are in clinical trials for treatment of cancer; bamboo corals have been used to synthesize human bone analogs for grafting; and the deep sea sponge Euplectella also served as a model for development of more durable optic cables.

The canyons provide valuable habitat for hundreds of fish and crustacean species, including monkfish, species of hakes and skates, bioluminescent lantern fish, American lobster and red crab. Tuna, swordfish, and billfish travel through the canyons, feasting on schools of fish and squid.

One particularly industrious fish that lives in the canyons is the tilefish. This fish constructs large burrows in the canyons walls, making them look like miniature, underwater versions of the pueblo villages of the American Southwest.

And endangered sperm whales and right whales, beaked whales, and dolphins come to the canyons to feed.

All this activity – just off our shores. We need to protect special places like this, for our and future generations.

Please take a minute to go to and sign the pledge to help protect and restore our ocean resources. And please tell others about the movie and about the amazing life beneath the waves – the more people know these beautiful and rare ecologically and economically valuable ocean places that exist, the better chance we have to save them. 

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