Essentials of Oceanography

Lesson 8 Introduction


The Secret Lives of Fishes and the Great Meal Deal

About Lesson 8

Map showing native range for Gadus Morhua (Atlantic Cod). See caption
Map showing native range for Gadus Morhua (Atlantic Cod). Distribution: Northwest to Northeast Atlantic: Cape Hatteras to Ungava Bay along the North American coast; east and west coast of Greenland; around Iceland; coasts of Europe from the Bay of Biscay to the Barents Sea, including the region around Bear Island.
Source: AquaMaps

In this lesson, we will review life in the ocean and focus in particular on aquaculture and the problems of overfishing.

By the end of this lesson you should be able to describe the main elements of the food chain in the ocean, including the importance of photosynthesis and phytoplankton. You should also be able to summarize current practices and trends in aquaculture and the main threats to natural marine fisheries.

What will we learn in Lesson 8?

By the end of Lesson 8, you should be able to:

  • Describe the food chain in the ocean
  • Explain why photosynthesis is important to life in the ocean
  • Explain the importance of nutrients in the ocean
  • Explain the energy cycle of the ocean, with specific reference to nutrient cycling
  • Describe the spatial distribution of life in the ocean and give reasons why fish biomass is concentrated where it is
  • Describe aquaculture including where it is practiced, recent trends in farmed fish, and salient pros and cons of aquaculture
  • Describe the state of ocean fisheries and summarize the main threats to fish populations in the ocean
  • Explain what is being done to save marine fisheries and the nature of the problems with designing and enforcing fishing regulations in the open ocean.
  • Use on-line resources to construct maps of fisheries

What is due for Lesson 8?

The chart below provides an overview of the requirements for Lesson 8. For assignment details, refer to the lesson page noted. See the Course Schedule (located in the Resources menu) for assignment due dates.

Lesson 8 Assignments
Activity 1: Fisheries page 3 Yes
Activity 2: Empty Oceans page 4 Yes


If you have any questions, please post them to our Questions? discussion forum (not e-mail), located under the Communicate tab in Canvas. I will check that discussion forum daily to respond. While you are there, feel free to post your own responses if you, too, are able to help out a classmate.