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BIO308: Marine Biology

Unit 6: Current Topics in Marine Biology   In this final unit, we will shift our focus from what is already known about Marine Biology to what is currently being learned.  This unit should give you a sense of the research opportunities that exist in this field and provide you with a better understanding of the processes involved in Marine Biology research.  The unit will begin by covering recent findings on the impact that humans have on ocean ecology.  We will then look at Marine Biology topics that have emerged in the mainstream media as well as in scientific journals.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
It should take you approximately 17 hours to complete this unit and all of its linked materials.
 
☐    Subunit 6.1: 11

☐    Subunit 6.1.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.1.2: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 6.1.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.1.4: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 6.1.5: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.2: 6 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2.3: 2.5 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
  - Distinguish between types of marine pollution in terms of their origins and effects. - Answer questions about the dynamics of invasive species (e.g. means of introduction, reasons for success). - Answer questions about global climate change: its origins and effects on the marine environment. - Discussthe effects of overfishing on marine communities. - Describehow marine protected areas (MPAs) are designated and explain what factors are considered in their designation. - Answer specific questions about at least one or two of the current-research articles assigned them.

6.1 Human Impact   6.1.1 Pollution   - Reading: MarineBio’s “Ocean Pollution” Link: MarineBio’s “Ocean Pollution” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Scroll past the video and read the entire article.  Make sure to also click on the “next” arrow key to read page two of “Ocean Pollution.”  When you are done reading, watch the brief (about 8 minutes) TED lecture on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
 
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  • Web Media: The Washington Post: Gulf Oil Spill Slideshows: “Animal Victims” and “Hearings, Cleanup, and Containment” Link: The Washington Post: Gulf Oil Spill Slideshows:  “Animal Victims” (HTML) and “Hearings, Cleanup, and Containment” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Go through these slideshows to observe the effects of and responses to the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
     
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6.1.2 Fisheries   6.1.2.1 Problems: Overfishing   - Lecture: MIT Video: Daniel Pauly’s “Fisheries and Global Warming: Impacts on Marine Ecosystems and Food Security” Link: MIT Video: Daniel Pauly’s “Fisheries and Global Warming: Impacts on Marine Ecosystems and Food Security” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Watch this lecture (about 51 minutes).  It will cover subunits 6.1.2 and 6.1.4.
 
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  • Reading: See the Sea’s “Overfishing” and The New England Aquarium’s “Bycatch Overview” Links: See the Sea’s “Overfishing” (HTML) and The New England Aquarium’s “Bycatch Overview” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read each page in its entirety.
     
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  • Web Media: The Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC)’s “Cod Fishing: To the Last Fish” Link: The Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC)’s “Cod Fishing: To the Last Fish” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Watch this news-show clip (about 9 minutes) about the decline of fish and fisheries generally and cod populations in particular.
     
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6.1.2.2 Solutions: Sustainable Fishing and Aquaculture   - Web Media: Lenfest Ocean Program: Stanford University’s “Fish Farm Wastes Can Drift to Distant Shores” Link: Lenfest Ocean Program: Stanford University’s “Fish Farm Wastes Can Drift to Distant Shores” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Scroll down the page to watch the 3-minute Stanford University video about the potential pollutant dangers of fish farms.
 
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  • Reading: MarineBio’s “Sustainable Fisheries” and Conservation Magazine: Sarah Simpson’s “Taming the Blue Frontier” Links: MarineBio’s “Sustainable Fisheries” (Adobe Flash) and Conservation Magazine: Sarah Simpson’s “Taming the Blue Frontier” (HTML and YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down the “Sustainable Fisheries” page to “Solutions;” read this section in its entirety to see what is being done and can be done to achieve and promote sustainable fishing.  Although aquaculture—growing fish and other seafood in marine “farms”—seems like a simple enough solution to the problem of overfishing, there are concerns that such farms could cause more ecological damage than they prevent unless they are done right.  Read this article about the subject and watch the very short (1–2 minute) embedded video about aquaculture.  For “Taming the Blue Frontier,” please read the entire 1-page article.
     
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6.1.3 Invasive Species   - Reading: The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Marine Invasions Lab: “About the Lab” Link: The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Marine Invasions Lab:About the Lab” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This reading is optional.  If you want to learn more about invasive-species’ biology and the research being done to determine how invasions begin and what to do about them, read this introductory page and follow the research links (Vector Ecology, Population Ecology, etc.).
 
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  • Reading: MarineBio’s MarineBio: “Alien Species” Link: MarineBio’s MarineBio: “Alien Species” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this page in its entirety.
     
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6.1.4 Global Climate Change   6.1.4.1 Influence of Global Warming on Oceans   - Reading: NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management’s “Climate Change” and “Currents—Effects of Climate Change;” MarineBio’s “Global Warming—Climate Change” Link: NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management’s “Climate Change” (HTML) and “Currents—Effects of Climate Change (HTML);” MarineBio’s “Global Warming—Climate Change” (HTML and Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Read the NOAA pages in their entirety for an overview of the influences changing temperature will have on the oceans.  Then, read the first two pages of MarineBio’s “Global Warming” to get a much more in-depth picture of the process and its implications.  Also, watch the fourth embedded video, Jeff Corwin’s “Lobsters Feeling the Heat.”
 
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6.1.4.2 Influence of Ocean Acidification on Oceans   - Reading: National Academies of Science: Division of Earth and Life Studies’ Ocean Acidification: Starting with the Science Link: National Academies of Science: Division of Earth and Life Studies’ Ocean Acidification: Starting with the Science (PDF)
 
Instructions: Follow the directions on the website: “And you can directly download the PDF by clicking here.”  Once the PDF has downloaded, read pages 8–19 to learn about the chemical processes affected by ocean acidification and the organisms and ecosystems that are suffering or that may suffer from it.
 
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  • Web Media: Oregon Sea Grant: Dr. Richard Feely’s “Ocean Acidification” Videos: Part I, Part II, and Part III Link: Oregon Sea Grant: Dr. Richard Feely’s “Ocean Acidification” Videos Part I (Adobe Flash), Part II (Adobe Flash), and Part III (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Scroll down the page to “Ocean Acidification,” and then click on the links to watch the brief videos (1–3 minutes each) discussing acidification and its impacts.
     
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  • Reading: Skeptical Science’s “OA Not OK” Link: Skeptical Science’s “OA Not OK” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: This reading is optional.  This multi-part series from skeptical science describes in simple, entertaining, and accurate language the process of ocean acidification and its implications.  If you like, click on each of the posts, which are linked to from this introductory page, or choose which sections you are most interested in learning more about.
     
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6.1.5 Marine Conservation: Marine Protected Areas   - Reading: MarineBio’s “Habitat Conservation” Link: MarineBio’s “Habitat Conservation” (HTML and YouTube)
 
Instructions: Read this page in its entirety.
 
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  • Assessment: McGraw-Hill: Drs. Peter Castro and Michael Huber’s Marine Biology: “Quiz for Chapter 18: Human Impacts” Link: McGraw-Hill: Drs. Peter Castro and Michael Huber’s Marine Biology: “Quiz for Chapter 18:  Human Impacts” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Answer all questions (1-23) after you have completed subunit 6.1.
     
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6.2 Current Research   6.2.1 In the News   - Reading: ScienceDaily News: Marine Biology (Sample Articles: “Damselfish 'Gardeners' Selectively Weed Algal Gardens” and “Harbor Seals' Whiskers as Good at Detecting Fish as Echolocating Dolphins, Researchers Find”) Link: ScienceDaily News:  Marine Biology (HTML) Sample Articles: “Damselfish 'Gardeners' Selectively Weed Algal Gardens” (HTML) and “Harbor Seals' Whiskers as Good at Detecting Fish as Echolocating Dolphins, Researchers Find” (HTML)
 
Instructions: This link should provide you with current marine-biology research news.  If the page is more general, scroll down to “Browse News Stories,” and choose “Marine Biology” from the list of topics.  You can also read the sample articles on “Damselfish ‘Gardeners’” or “Harbor Seals’ Whiskers.”
 
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  • Reading: The Boston Globe - Science Section Sample Article: “Lobster ban urged for south of Cape”; The New York Times: Science News Sample Article: “Cold, Dark, and Teaming with Life” Links: The Boston Globe - Science Section (HTML) Sample Article:  “Lobster ban urged for south of Cape” (HTML); The New York Times:  Science News (HTML) Sample Article:  “Cold, Dark, and Teaming with Life” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Browse these websites for current marine-biology news.  Read the sample articles as suggested resources.
     
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6.2.2 In Universities and Research Organizations   - Web Media: Smithsonian Institution: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s “Research Home Page” and The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL)’s “Research” Page Link: Smithsonian Institution: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s “Research Home Page” (HTML) and The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL)’s “Research” (HTML) Page
 
Instructions: For the Smithsonian, choose any of the research “themes” at the top of this page to learn more about current areas of marine research and research questions.  For the MBL, click on “Resident Research” or “Visiting Research” to learn about current marine-research projects.
 
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  • Reading: The New England Aquarium’s “Research Projects” Link: The New England Aquarium’s “Research Projects” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Browse this website for summaries of current research, or click on links to read more about specific projects.
     
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  • Reading: University of Florida: Professor H. Jane Brockmann’s Web Page: “My Research” Link: University of Florida: Professor H.  Jane Brockmann’s Web Page: “My Research” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this section on the ongoing work that Professor Brockmann is doing on horseshoe crab behavior.
     
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6.2.3 In Scientific Journals   Note: The content of this section will change over time and is dependent upon the contents of the current issue of the journal, or current topics in the news.  This unit will likely be more of an overview, rather than in-depth study, but should provide some exposure to scientific articles and the methods used in research.

  • Reading: The Cephalopod Page: Roland Anderson and Andrea Leontiu’s “Evaluating Toys for Octopuses (Enteroctopus dofleini, Cephalopoda)” Link: The Cephalopod Page: Roland Anderson and Andrea Leontiu’s “Evaluating Toys for Octopuses (Enteroctopus dofleini, Cephalopoda)” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article in its entirety.
     
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  • Reading: Journal of Marine Biology: Shapouri, et al.’s “Structural Changes in Macroinvertebrate Communities Associated with Reduction in the Management of Coastal Saltpans” Link: Journal of Marine Biology: Shapouri, et al.’s “Structural Changes in Macroinvertebrate Communities Associated with Reduction in the Management of Coastal Saltpans” (HTML and PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read this article (and note that you will recognize many of the taxonomic groups mentioned).  If you have not yet taken a statistics course, do not concern yourself with the statistical analyses used.
     
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  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Present and Future” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “The Present and Future” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please complete the entire assessment.  You can check your answers against the answer key here.