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Classroom Discussion Activity

Our Oceans, Ourselves

In 2000, building on its pioneering efforts in establishing Land and Sea Parks, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas initiated one of the world’s first networks of marine reserves. This designation provided an international team of researchers with an unprecedented opportunity to study the physical, biological, and socio-economic impacts of such a network, and to integrate all of these aspects into recommendations for future conservation strategies. The project, which is focusing on the Bahamas as a model system, will hopefully be extended to other marine areas in the Caribbean and across the globe.

Class Discussion

Establish Prior Knowledge
Ask students what they know about coral reef habitats. Have them go to the interactive, “Mapping Marine Habitats” to explore 12 different habitats at a
location in the Bahamas. Ask them to share what they learned about the different habitats and their characteristics. Tell students that in the video they are about to see, scientists and conservation groups have worked together to help protect marine habitats in the Bahamas.

Have students watch the video and read the synopsis. Use the following questions to guide a class discussion.
• What is a marine protected area?
• What are the roles of a marine protected area? Why is the one for the Bahamas Biocomplexity Project being established?
• Why is it important to have marine protected areas sprinkled throughout the globe?
• What are some of the habitats the researchers are studying?
• What information are the scientists gathering? What two methods are they using to collect their data?
• Why are researchers consulting with local fishermen about the marine protected area?

Use the following questions to wrap up your discussion.
• Does the success of the marine conservation depend on working with local fishermen and local governments? Why or why not?