Conservation of aquatic life
Key Learning Outcomes
1 hours (Approximately)
In today’s world, water pollution has become a major concern for all living beings. It is no different for aquatic life either, If the rate of water pollution is not reduced or stopped many of the marine species would become endangered or become extinct. Through this activity, students will be able to understand the harmful effects of water pollution on marine plants and animals.
Concepts to understand:
Modern day human activities are often resulting in harm to environment, surrounding eco system and biodiversity. This is not just limited to the pollution on land and air, but also extends to water pollution affecting aquatic life. One major reason contributing to this is water pollution. Water pollution occurs when harmful chemicals, man made harmful substances pollute or mix with the water bodies like rivers, streams, lake, ocean and other water bodies. Due to this the water becomes harmful for aquatic animals like fish, frogs, sharks, corals, marine mammals like seals etc. Even marine plants are also affected by water pollution. Hence, it is important to contain water pollution.
2.1 Water Pollution due to Human activities
Following are the harmful human activities in the ocean that pose threat to the aquatic life:
Relying on many varieties of fish, crabs, turtles, squids, octopus, etc. for food has increased the rate of fishing in the oceans and fresh water. Also, some varieties of snakes, fishes, turtles are sold for the decorative purposes in house. This resulted in increase of fishing activities. As a result, the marine ecosystem is disturbed and lot of varieties of aquatic animals face the threat of extinction.
b) Extraction of petroleum from oceanic floor:
Petroleum is one of the most precious resources used in transportation, energy production and cosmetic production. It is extracted from land as well as oceanic floor. Petroleum is found in form of crude oil at the bottom of oceans. Due to penetration at the depth of oceanic floor, crude oil mixes with the water and sticks to the gills of fishes or on the leaves of aquatic fauna. As a result, fishes cannot breathe oxygen from the water and die. Also, the photosynthetic ability of the aquatic plants is reduced due to crude oil sticking on them or floating on the surface.
c) Sewage discharge in oceans:
Sewage contains human faeces, and various other types of waste. Harmful bacteria are found in human sewage. Sewers from metropolitan cities discharge sewage into oceans. This pollutes oceans and add harmful bacteria into water. These bacteria enter food chain of fishes and makes them ill. If such fishes are consumed as food, it can make us ill too.
d) Plastic pollution in oceans:
Plastic is a non-degradable waste. It does not decay over long period of time. Plastic is dumped in the ocean. It may get torn into small pieces and gets engulfed by fishes, amphibians and other aquatic animals. Engulfed plastic pieces by fishes can cause variety of diseases and may even result in death. In many cases, snakes, sea gulfs, turtles, crabs are found to be strangled in the plastic containers and die due to suffocation.
e) Water sports and transportation:
Large container ships that travel in the oceans. Due to their huge size often met in accident with large fishes like dolphins, sharks, whales, etc. Due to such accidents, whales and sharks suffer severe injuries and bleed till death. Also, accidental oil spills in such accident affects the oceanic flora and fauna.
f) Nuclear waste disposal:
In many countries, the radioactive nuclear waste is disposed at the bottom of the oceanic floor in enclosed container. Due to high pressure at the bottom of the oceans, these containers can accidently release radioactive waste that can cause disease to aquatic ecosystem.
These activities should be reduced or stopped such that, we can minimise the threat to the aquatic eco system.
2.2 Endangered Aquatic Animals
Oceans and freshwater resources like lake, rivers, etc. are filled with variety of aquatic plants and animals. Varies types of fishes, snakes, amphibians, etc. are found on oceans and rivers. Fishing activities for consumption of food, oil, and other purposes have pushed several species of fishes, amphibians on the verge of extinction.
Following is the list of endangered aquatic animals and the reason for their extinction:
Name of animal
Description of the reason for extinction
Turtles are aquatic animals. They have beautiful shell. Few turtles are amphibians. Turtles are hunted for their beautiful shells, that are used for decorative purposes.
Few turtles are hunted for their meat.
Also, oil extracted from some turtle find medicinal use. Excessive hunting of turtle and trading of body parts have pushed many varieties of turtle on verge of extinction. Hawksbill Turtle is one such example of turtle which is considered as endangered species of turtle.
Blue whale is the largest living mammal on the earth. It measures more than 100 feet in length and can weigh as much as 200 tonnes. Whales are hunted for commercial purposes. The blubber extracted from them is used for production of cosmetic products like soap, perfumes, scented candles, beauty products, etc. This have reduced their population drastically and pushed them on the verge of extinction.
Sea lions are found in cold regions of Canada and Alaska. Sea lions are hunted by whales as well as humans for their meat, oils, and hides. Due to excessive hunting, their population have reduced drastically.
Hammer Head Shark
Hammerhead sharks are found in the oceans of tropical regions. These sharks are hunted for their fins and decorative skeletons. Due to ornamental purpose, these sharks are hunted aggressively in oceans surrounding Asian countries.
Humpback whales measures 25 metres in length and weighs around 114 tonnes in weight. It is mostly hunted for its fur, meat, and flesh. Due to excessive hunting, humpback whale population has dropped by 90%.
Hector’s dolphins are found near the coast of New Zealand. These dolphins are mostly caught in fishing nets during trawl fishing and die due to strangling in these fishing nets. There are only 55 Hector’s dolphins living around the coast of New Zealand.
2.3 Need for conservation of aquatic flora and fauna.
Ocean is the largest ecosystem in the world. It helps in regulating earth’s temperature and generates half of the oxygen that we breathe. Oceans are greatest absorber of carbon dioxide. This helping us to reduce the effects of global warming. It also provides us food. It is not immune to the harmful human activities. We now have understood the devastating effects of human activities on the oceanic ecosystem.
In order to protect the harmony of the oceanic ecosystem and our ecosystem we need to control the unregulated human activities.
In many countries, recreational activities are encouraged to protect and preserve the oceanic ecosystem. For example, the coral reef near coast of New Zealand was once on the verge of extinction due to water pollution. This had result in decrease in population of fishes, dolphins, turtles, and crabs. With the strict government regulation, regular cleaning activities and support of volunteers the artificial coral reef was created that can support the growth of natural coral reef and can restore the aquatic ecosystem to its natural shape.
Blue parks are created in many areas of world for tourist to visit under water ecosystem keeping interaction minimum. This helps us to understand and appreciate the delicate equilibrium of marine ecosystem.
Due to water pollution and excessive fishing, marine ecosystem is under excessive pressure. Due to excessive fishing and hunting, species like turtle, whales and dolphins are reducing at an alarming rate. And due to dumping of sewage in oceans, variety of diseases are occurring in fishes. The fishes consumed as food are causing illness in humans as well.
Game Design Overview:
In this game, you role play as a policy maker for preventing fishing, hunting and encouraging good practices to prevent excessive fishing and promote initiatives to protect the marine life. You will have access to data of populations of whales, fishes, turtles and dolphins which will change over a period of time based on the steps that you take.
How to Design the Game:
- Step 1: The game starts with population of fishes, whales, turtles and dolphins accessible to you. As time progresses the data will change in a fashion that you will notice excessive fishing, hunting of sharks, turtles, whales etc.
- Step 2: If the population of shark, whales or fishes go below a certain value they will become endangered.
- Step 3: Once they are endangered, you will have to take prompt action by setting up new policies like:
- Banning fishing in certain areas called as marine protected areas in the sea and ocean
- Introducing new projects to promote marine conservation
- Spread public awareness of marine conservation
- Step 4: If no timely action is taken based on step 3, the aquatic animals can go extinct.
- Step 5: Your mission is to implement all the policies based on step 3 and ensure that the population levels achieve excellent status implying ample population of aquatic animals
- Step 6: If you are unable to implement any of the 3 policies before the species go to extinct from endangered, then the game will be over
Learning Objective Based Evaluation (0-2)
Higher Order Thinking Skills
Learning Objective Based Evaluation Total Score
Higher Order Thinking Skills Total Score
Learning Objective Based Evaluation
1 point Questions:
Q1. Which of the following is not an aquatic animal?
Q2. How should sewage waste be released in water bodies?
- It should be directly released in the ocean
- The waste water should be filtered free of harmful chemicals, then released
- It should be released in reservoirs directly
- It should be directly released in the river
2 point Question:
Q3. Why it is important to conserve aquatic life?
- To ensure the food chain is not affected
- To protect the environment and the eco-system
- To protect the biodiversity and reduce global warming
- All of the above
Evaluation of HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills)
Identification of the Problem Statement:
Q4. What is the objective of the game that you have designed? (1 point)
Q5. Does the game designed solve the problem? Justify your answer. (1 point)
Solution of the Problem Statement:
Q6. How does the game designed address the problem? (1 point)
Q7. Can the solution be implemented in real life? Justify your answer (1 point)
Innovation in the Problem Statement:
Q8. What are the innovative aspects of the solution for which the game is designed? (2 points)
Creativity in the Game Design:
Q9. Describe and explain the unique design elements used in the game. (2 points)
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