Plenty of Fish in the Sea?


Image courtesy of NOAA.

Have you ever heard the saying, "there are plenty of fish in the sea"? While there are in fact a lot of fish in the sea, there may no longer actually be plenty of fish in the sea. In November of 2006, the journal Science published a scientific study with the alarming message: "Current fishing trends project the collapse of currently fished seafoods by the year 2050."

In the first part of this investigation, you will watch a short National Geographic slideshow presentation that will introduce you to some of the impacts that declining fish populations are having on humans around the world. In Part B, you will explore maps of changes in global marine biodiversity (the variety of life in ocean, sea, and coastal environments) over the last several decades. Finally, in Part C, you will interpret graphs comparing large predatory fish populations to total fish catch per year for the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

After completing this investigation, you should be able to:

  • explain some of the ways humans are affected by the declining health and productivity of fisheries;
  • use ImageJ (if available) to animate a series of time-sequenced images;
  • evaluate changes over time in global marine biodiversity by visual inspection of an animated sequence of images;
  • interpret trends in graphical data; and
  • explain why species diversity is important to the health of marine ecosystems and the sustainability of fishing.

Keeping Track of What You Learn

Throughout these labs, you will find two kinds of questions.
  • Checking In questions are intended to keep you engaged and focused on key concepts and to allow you to periodically check if the material is making sense. These questions are often accompanied by hints or answers to let you know if you are on the right track.
  • Stop and Think questions are intended to help your teacher assess your understanding of the key concepts and skills you should be learning from the lab activities and readings.
Your teacher will let you know which answers you should record and turn in.