Author Archives: oceanlifeeducation

How to Celebrate SeaWeek

What is SeaWeek Australia?

SeaWeek Australia is an annual celebration of the sea. It is a major public awareness campaign which aims to educate and encourage appreciation of the sea. For us at Ocean Life Education, it’s the busiest time of the year and a great opportunity to further increase school and community focus on the deeply woven relationship we have with our majestic ocean and how our survival is underpinned by the health of our oceans.

Check out the foot of our blog for ideas of how you can celebrate SeaWeek.

SeaWeek 2020, 12-18 September

SeaWeek 2020 focused on the theme that “The Ocean Supports A Great Diversity of Life and Ecosystems”.

Our oceans support most life on earth. As over 70% of the Earth’s surface is underwater, it comes as no surprise that marine species outnumber those on land – an incredible 94 per cent of the Earth’s living species exist within the oceans.

Being an enormous island, Australia has one of the largest ocean territories in the world. Australian Oceans support an immense diversity of life and ecosystems. From the warm waters of tropical Queensland, to the cool Tasman Sea, a staggering range of animals, plants and other life forms call our oceans their home.

And it is not just marine life that is supported by the ocean, we humans depend on our oceans too! On average, we each consume around 25 kilograms of seafood every year, so we rely on it for our food and for economic benefit and jobs. If that’s not enough, we also rely on the ocean for: oxygen, carbon dioxide absorption, climate regulation, breakdown and removal of waste, marine transportation, medicine, tourism, recreation, and fun. The list goes on!

Check out our Blog for more details of why we depend on our oceans…

How Can Schools Celebrate Seaweek?

We have lots of ideas for School SeaWeek events and SeaWeek activities to help schools celebrate SeaWeek in may ways. We are increasing our website resources all the time, so keep checking our Resources page. Or why not book one of our interactive Programs to give the kids a real hands-on experience of marine creatures! Here are some great ideas to get you started…

*Decorate your classroom or childcare setting
*Plastic free class challenge – no plastic in lunch boxes for a day/ week
*Record class plastic usage for a day – pledge to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle
*Book an ocean-focused incursion or excursion
*Organize a beach clean (& BBQ?) or visit a local beach

*Host an ocean themed coloring or drawing competition
*Fundraise to support a local coast care charity e.g. Coolum Coast Care, Ocean Crusaders, Sea Shepherd

 SeaWeek is hosted by the AAEE (Australian Association for Environmental Education). If you are planning to run a SeaWeek event, competition, or activity, they’d love to promote it! Email: seaweek@aaee.org.au for more information.

 

 

Ocean Life Education

Ocean Life Education is dedicated to promoting the preservation of our marine environment to communities and schools.  We spend SeaWeek visiting Early Learning Centres and Schools and hosting events throughout Queensland and NSW. Our programs are delivered by qualified Marine Educators with a passion for the ocean. They provide a lively, fun, and interactive experience with our live marine animals. We believe education is the key to inspiring schools and community to protect our oceans.

To join our community of Ocean Legends and become part of the solution, follow us:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/OceanLifeEducation/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ocean_life_education/

Ocean Habitats

Oceans support an immense diversity of life and ecosystems. From warm tropical waters of the Caribbean to the freezing polar regions (and from zooplankton to blue whales!) a staggering range of animals, plants and other life forms call the ocean their home. These ocean, or marine habitats, provide everything needed for survival – food, shelter, water and oxygen.

Types of Marine Habitat

Marine habitats are divided into two main zones – coastal habitats and open ocean habitats. Within these habitats there are numerous sub habitats.

Coastal Habitats

Coastal HabitatsThe coastal habitat is the region from the shoreline out to the continental shelf. Most marine creatures live in coastal habitat, although it only makes up seven percent of the ocean. Coastal habitats include intertidal zones (constantly exposed and covered by the ocean’s tides), rocky shore, mangrove, mudflats, estuaries, kelp forest, sea grass, sandy shores/beach and coral reefs

 

Open Ocean Habitats

Open Ocean HabitatsOpen Ocean Habitats are found beyond the continental shelf, this is the deep ocean. Open ocean habitats are divided into layers which include surface waters, the deep sea, and the ocean floor. It is estimated that about 10 percent of marine species live in the open ocean. They tend to be the largest and fastest, such as whales and sharks, or fish that swim in schools. Tiny marine life, such as plankton, also inhabit this zone.

 

Queensland’s Marine Habitats

Habitats ReefQueensland’s stunning coastline comprises a wide range of marine habitats. These include sandy and rocky shores, mangrove, and coral reef; with the largest reef of all, The Great Barrier Reef, located just off Queensland’s coast.

For more information on Queensland’s marine habitats, check out Ocean Life Education’s NEW Habitats video presented by our owner and Senior Marine Biologist, Richard Coward. Habitats video

For Habitats themed incursions, go to our Primary programs & resources

 

Fast Facts – Whale Sharks

whaleshark

Whale sharks are the largest fish in our oceans and can reach 40 feet or more. Whale sharks are slow moving filter-feeders. They feed by scooping up tiny plants and animals in their enormous gaping mouths as they glide close to the surface of the ocean. They are enormous and can weigh as much as 60 tons!!!

Are whale sharks really sharks?

 They have all the 33 characteristics of a shark such as a cartilage skeleton, five pairs of gills and unfused pectoral fins to the head. Unlike whales, they are not mammals and the young are not fed by the mother’s milk. Like sharks, whale sharks are fish.

Ten Amazing Facts About Whale Sharks

  1. The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish and shark in the world
  2. The whale shark is found in open waters of the tropical oceans and is rarely found in water below 22 °C (72 °F). They are usually restricted to around +- 30 degrees of latitude
  3. Scientists estimate that the lifespan of the whale shark ranges from 70 to 100 years
  4. The whale shark is also the largest non-cetacean animal in the world
  5. The average size of adult whale sharks is estimated at 9.7 meters (31.82 ft) and 9 tonnes (20,000 lb)
  6. The whale shark has over 300 to 350 rows of tiny teeth in its mouth
  7. Whale sharks are solitary creatures
  8. They spend most of their time near the surface
  9. The whale shark is a filter feeder, feeding mainly on plankton
  10. The whale shark can process over 6,000 litres (1,500 gallons) of water each hour

Ultimate Shark Facts Quiz

Sharks Facts Quiz

Check out our Ultimate Shark Facts Quiz and discover how much you really know about JAWSOME SHARKS…

 

 Questions

  • 1. What is the largest species of shark?
  • 2. What are baby sharks are called?
  • 3. What are shark bones made of?
  • 4. Up to how many teeth do sharks have? 100s, 1,000s or 10,000s?
  • 5. Is shark skin smooth or rough?
  • 6. What is the collective noun for a shark?
  • 7. What is the fastest shark in the ocean?
  • 8. What is the smallest species of shark in the ocean?
  • 9. Do sharks have eyelids?
  • 10. Can sharks see in colour?
  • 11. Approximately how many species of shark can be found around Australia?
  • 12. How many sharks are killed by humans every year?
  • 13. On average, how many people are killed by sharks in Australia each year?
  • 14. Name three species of shark commonly found off Australia
  • 15. Do sharks lay eggs or give birth to live young?
  • 16. What are mermaid’s purses?
  • 17. Which common shark lives in fresh and salt water?
  • 18. From what distance can sharks detect blood?
  • 19. From what distance can sharks sense vibration?
  • 20. Do all sharks need to keep moving to breath?

 

 

 

Answers

  • 1. The largest species of shark is the whale shark
  • 2. Baby sharks are called pups
  • 3. Shark bones are made of cartilage
  • 4. Many sharks have multiple rows of sharp teeth – they can grow up to 35,000 in a lifetime
  • 5. Rough – shark skin feels like sandpaper
  • 6. The collective noun for a shark is a Shiver (or School, Shoal)
  • 7. The fastest shark in the ocean is the Shortfin Mako Shark (up to 74k an hour)
  • 8. The smallest species of shark is the Dwarf Lantern Shark (smaller than an adult human hand)
  • 9. Yes – sharks do have eyelids but they don’t blink
  • 10. No – sharks do not see in colour
  • 11. Approximately 180 species of shark can be found around Australia
  • 12. 100 million sharks die each year 🙁
  • 13. 1 person on average each year 🙁
  • 14. Sharks commonly found off Australia…Great White, Port Jackson, Thresher, Zebra Shark, Tiger Shark, Tasselled Wobbegong, Whale Shark, Oceanic Whitetip, Blacktip Reef, Grey Nurse, Bull Shark, Bronze Whaler, Great Hammerhead, Blind Shark, Pygmy Shark
  • 15. Some sharks lay eggs (oviparous) others give birth to live young  (viviparous), and some are a combination of these two, they start life inside their mother as an egg, hatch inside her and then are born live (ovoviviparous)
  • 16. Shark eggs – egg laying sharks lay egg cases known as mermaid’s purses
  • 17. Bull Shark
  • 18. Sharks are able to detect blood from 5 km
  • 19. Sharks can sense vibrations from 3 kilometres away
  • 20. No. Some sharks must swim constantly in order to get oxygen-rich water flowing over their gills but others pump water through their respiratory system.

 

How did you go? If you know any fascinating shark facts, please post or email them to us and you’ll get a mention! info@oceanlifeeducation.com.au

 

Take Action to Protect Sharks

  • Educate yourself and your friends
  • Share your love of sharks on your social media channels
  • Join a volunteer shark conservation organisation like sharkconservationorg.au, marineconservation.org.au, seashepherd.com.au (make a donation if you can)
  • Join a beach clean or just clean as you go!
  • Buy sustainable seafood and check restaurants have done so. Avoid flake at the Fish & Chip shop as it may be endangered shark
  • Ask politicians to support ocean acidification research

Ocean Life Education is passionate about protecting all marine animals and focusing on the important role sharks play in our oceans.  We aim to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the most feared fish in the sea.

Check out our Shark Discovery Program for more information on how to inspire kids to love and respect sharks: www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/programs/holiday-program/