Environmental Oceanography: Topics and Analysis
For Students

Issues Questions

Please read each question below and type your response into each corresponding box. When you are finished, fill out your name, e-mail address, and instructor's e-mail at the bottom of this form, and click submit to send a copy to your instructor.

1:  Explain how these life history characteristics make sharks particularly vulnerable to threats like overfi shing and habitat loss.

2:  Although many life history characteristics of sharks make them vulnerable to overfi shing and other threats, there is one advantage in having few offspring and a long gestation period. What do you think this advantage might be? (HINT: Newborn sharks require no parental care).

3:  Plot the data from Table I 13-2 on the axes below, or on our website (http://www.jbpub.com/abel/).

4:  Interpret the graph. What trend(s) do you infer?

5:  Think about what could cause a shark population to decline. Then list as many possible explanations as you can for the decline in the sandbar shark population.

6:  The data on which this analysis was based were obtained by scientists and are known as “fi shery independent.” Explain whether you think data collected this way are better, worse, or no different than data collected and reported by commercial fi shers (“fi shery-dependent data’’).

7:  Sharks have become very popular as an upscale food fi sh in the last 20 years. Suggest reasons for this.

8:  Select which methods from the above list you think would be most effective. Identify the drawbacks?

9:  What problems might you face with trying to manage a highly migratory species?

10:  Examine Table I 13-1 and identify which animals have life history characteristics most like that of the sandbar shark (the fi rst species in the table).

11:  In light of your answer to the previous question, do you think that sharks whose populations are threatened can be managed like the other fi sh species listed in Table I 13-1? Explain your reasoning.

12:  Should sharks be protected globally? Summarize the benefi ts and problems associated with global protection of sharks.

13:  Many people think the oceans would be a safer place if all sharks disappeared. Explain whether you agree or disagree, and support your position with evidence.

14:  Why do you think scientists have not put much effort into tracking shark populations? Do you think scientists track populations of other animals? Plants? Explain your answer.

15:  What method did the researchers use to get a glimpse of shark population trends?

16:  What did the scientists fi nd?

17:  If the sharks in the study are not fi shed commercially, how can the population declines be explained?

18:  Who is Russell Hudson and why does he dispute the contention that shark populations are collapsing?

19:  Many people like Mr. Hudson earn their livings in ways that are harmful to the environment. How would you deal with people whose livelihoods negatively impact the environment? What weight would you assign to jobs when considering environmental protection?

20:  Who is Sonja Fordham, and why does she urge fi shing regulators to be more cautious in regulating sharks?

21:  What does researcher Julia Baum mean when she distinguishes between “extinction” and “extirpation”?

22:  Explain what you think is meant by the statement at the beginning of the report that declines in shark populations could harm the entire food chain.

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