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Part of the Ecology Disrupted Curriculum Collection.
Download the files below to use offline, or to incorporate into your own lesson planning tools.
Once the summaries are complete and you have discussed them, watch two videos, Rediagnosing the Oceans and Jellyfish and Bacteria. Both videos are available for download from http://www.shiftingbaselines.org/videos/index.html.
The first video, Rediagnosing the Oceans (11 minutes) uses the example the students just investigated, oyster harvesting in the Chesapeake Bay, to explain why understanding historic baselines is important for understanding ocean ecosystems. (Note: This video has incredible pictures of mountains of oysters harvested from the Bay, which the students might not see if you do not point them out.) The video then introduces three other scientifically supported examples from other American ocean ecosystems to emphasize the importance of historic baselines. After watching this video, discuss other shifting baselines like climate (today vs. 30 years ago), increased life expectancy (today vs. 100 years ago), or even what is considered a normal level of cell phone texting (adult viewpoints vs. children’s).
The next video, Jellyfish and Bacteria (< 1 minute), is a humorous animation of ocean ecosystems that are overrun by jellyfish and bacteria. The video is set to the tune of “Ebony and Ivory.” The first verse is “Jellyfish and bacteria - that’s what you get when the ocean is inferior. Side by side from the Black Sea to the Chesapeake Baaaaybeee.” This video is a fun opportunity for the students to sing along and get excited about what they learned.
Finally, discuss seafood cards, a color-coded wallet sized list of healthy and overfished seafood species (Green for healthy. Red for overfished) to let students know that there is something positive that they can do to help the oceans (Available online from the Blue Ocean Institute or Seafood Watch Monterey Bay Aquarium). Go over the list to discuss the best and worst seafood choices for our dinner plates. An ironic note is that oysters are considered a very good seafood choice today, since they are not wild caught (farm raised) and filter the water while they grow. (Not all farm-raised seafood is a good choice though. Farm raised salmon and shrimp are major sources of pollution and habitat destruction).