Lessons Using OBIS

Last updated on Thu, 2011-07-21 16:18. Originally submitted by Jenny on 2011-06-16 14:26.

Marine Life Census

How many marine species are there? Where do they live? What habitats do they depend on for survival? These are some of the questions that marine scientists need to answer in order to understand marine biodiversity.

The study of marine species is a challenge. The oceans of the world are vast expanses of water that not only cover a wide area, but also a great depth. Exploration is hampered by human ability to survive in water environments. Innovative technology is required for research into an environment that is cold, dark, and under high pressure. It may seem that in studying the oceans, we face the challenges of exploring another planet.

Your Mission

You are part of a team of specialists whose mission is to determine the status of a particular species or group of related species and the effect that a proposed management strategy will have on the species. Your team has been invited to make a presentation at an international conference where other teams will be competing for project funding. Will your presentation earn your project funding?

Things to Remember

Your plan must have the following components:

  1. A research question
  2. A hypothesis
  3. A control and a variable
  4. A plan to collect and analyze data

Example Projects

Follow the links below to navigate to a number of example projects:

  • Groupers: explore the biology, population dynamics, and geographic distribution of the Nassau Grouper. Students use this information to hypothesize potential fisheries management strategies for the Nassau Grouper.
  • Seahorses: partcipate in a Web Quest to determine what has caused the decline in the seahorse population in the Philippines, investigate methods for reversing the population trend, and present a proposal that will increase and sustain seahorse populations so they do not become extinct.
  • Sturgeons: participate in a Web Quest to find out what caused the decline of anadromous fish such as the short-nosed sturgeon, investigate methods for reversing the population trend, and present a proposal that will increase and sustain sturgeon populations so they do not become extinct.
  • Coral: participate in a Web Quest to find out what is causing the death of reef-building corals, investigate methods for reversing the trend, present a proposal that will increase and sustain coral reef populations so that they do not become extinct.
OBIS is a project of:
IOC-UNESCO
IODE Sponsored by:
Martin International and Les Grands Explorateurs
With in-kind support from:
Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, Duke University
Universidad Simón Bolívar Flanders Marine Institute

OBIS strives to document the ocean's diversity, distribution and abundance of life. Created by the Census of Marine Life, OBIS is now part of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, under its International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) programme.