Good Reading : May 2010
MAY 2010 ı goodreading 49 A new catalogue of everything that is known about life in the ocean, the Census of Marine Life, by leading scientists from all over the world, is due to be made public later this year. World Ocean Census is a photographic record of some of the observations. practical book A LOCAL CENSUS A teacher’s guide to classroom projects by gr, inspired by World Ocean Census 1. Plan a research project to investigate your local waterways or beach. Ask students to think of different resources to find anwers to the following questions (for example, calling the local council or contacting rangers, using the internet or planning an excursion to visit the location): What life has lived there in the past? What lives there now? What do you think might (or might not) live there in the future? What local creatures have become extinct? Do you have any theories about why? What species have flourished? Why do you think this is? Discuss human effects on the ecosystems. 2. Consider working with another class either within or outside your school. You could divide the students into groups so that there are students from each class in every group. Students could choose to communicate through email (in class). They could create a wiki page to showcase their results and all contribute to it separately. 3. Consider contacting your local national park rangers, government organisations or environmental groups and asking them to speak to your class (either in person or via a Skype link-up) 4. From the students’ experience and the results of their findings, what positive actions could they take as a group? Are there actions they can recommend to councils? Encourage them to participate by writing to their local parliamentary members or authorities on how to improve your waterways/beaches? 5. Consider making the research your class has done publicly available. Look at www.coml.org for ideas. Could you build a class website and include research, images, even games? Consider having a ‘take action’ page or link, where students could send emails alerting their local member of parliament or councillors to problems they might encounter. Even now, at the beginning of the 21st century, 95 percent of the world's ocean basins and seas has yet to be explored (some put the figure as high as 98 percent). Part of the reason is simply the global ocean's vast size: it comprises approximately 71 percent of the planet's surface and covers 361 million square kilometers. And there is more to the world's ocean than meets the eye -- a vast story unfolds below the surface.The global volume of ocean water is 1370 million cubic kilometers, with an average depth of 3.8 kilometers. The deepest ocean trench areas extend to 10.5 kilometers below the sea surface. And if the obstacles of size, volume and mass were not enough, other deterrents to exploration -- darkness and pressure -- greatly increase the challenge, cost and risk for those who dare to venture below the surface. -- World Ocean Census. An ichthyologist is a scientist who studies fish. About thirteen years ago, 20 of the world's leading ichthyologists met to talk about what is known, and what is unknown, about the ocean. They soon realised that they needed to do a lot more research to understand the extent of the unknown. As the World Ocean Census points out, scientist often joke that more is known about the surface of other planets than is known about the bottom of the Earth's ocean. The scientists decided to properly compile all the global information that exists into an overall survey of marine species. Three years later, in 2000, the Census of Marine Life was begun, with 60 researchers representing as many institutions, from 15 different countries. By 2008 the number of participants had grown to 2000 scientists from 81 nations, and the financial commitment toward the project had topped $500 million. The survey was structured around three questions: What has lived in the global ocean? What lives in the global ocean? What will live in the global ocean? This year, in 2010, the data is to be made public, and we will discover what we know about our ocean: past, present and future. Many of the images and findings of the decade of research are presented in World Ocean Census. A great white shark swimming with its mouth open; Gansbaai, South Africa.