There are a huge variety of animals in the ocean, but all of them need to eat, find shelter, and stay alive. Take this quiz by choosing one of the 3 ocean animals provided, and learning about how human threats endanger it, how it interacts with its environment, and how it survives in the ocean.
by Pranav Arun
Introduction: There are a huge variety of animals in the ocean, but all of them need to eat, find shelter, and stay alive. Take this quiz by choosing one of the 3 ocean animals provided, and learning about how human threats endanger it, how it interacts with its environment, and how it survives in the ocean.
Animal 1, Great White Shark: Ever seen Jaws? This giant predator at full-grown size should
not be scared of anything in the ocean… besides humans. Also known as a great white or white pointer, this became famous because of human fear of shark attacks.
Go to section 1 to begin your journey with this king of the seas.
Animal 2, Common Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin: This mammal of the ocean is the smartest
thing living there, and arguably the smartest animal besides humans in the animal kingdom. This mammal also has very little to fear due to its unrivaled intelligence and creativity… but still has to fear the threat of humans.
Turn to section 2 to begin your journey with this amazing animal.
Animal 3, Common Sea Turtle: This reptile is commonly known for the egg-hatching on
the beach, with many of the babies never making it into the ocean. It is also faced with threats from humans as well as the urgency of finding and not being food.
Turn to section 3 to start your journey with this well-known animal.
Section 1: You are swimming in the reef. Night has fallen, and so it is hunting time. As you search the coral reef sniffing for a hint of blood, you stop. You make out a scent of blood, but it is coming from the open ocean, where you do not usually hunt. The reef is still bare of food, and you realize that you have no option but to hunt in the open ocean. You swim out to the edge of the reef to the open ocean. You can still smell the food coming from the ocean, and you go to search for it. Suddenly, you see something that you have never seen before. You see a boat with its motor turned off, just waiting on the surface. It is time for you to make a decision. Do you go to the surface to try and find the source of food, or are you wary of the boat and are going to turn back to the reef?
Turn to section 4 if you decide to keep going toward the food, and turn to section 5 if you decide to turn back.
Section 2: It is late in the afternoon, and you and your family are looking for delicious Octopuses to eat. You already know what you are going to do to kill the octopus, you are going to toss it up and eat it! You and your family were communicating through squeaks and chirps, and you decide that you are going to stop playing around and start looking for food. You decide to separate from your family for a second because you think you see an octopus lair at the end of the reef. As you close in on the lair, you see that an octopus is hiding in it. Satisfied, you try and dive down to get it and bring it back to your family, but something is stopping you. You feel around, and realize that it is something that a human put which is stopping you. You look up and see a boat waiting in the distance. You see some fish going inside, but you are more wary. You see a small opening under the human-made barrier that will let you catch the octopus, but you will have to pass through the barrier again. You are faced with a decision: Will you try and catch the octopus in the lair on the edge of the reef but risk the chance of getting caught in the unknown barrier? Or will you return back to your family and tell them that you could not find anything, and risk going hungry?
If you choose the first, please turn to section 6. If you choose the second, turn to section 7.
Section 3: It is early in the morning, and you are up and swimming around the reef you call home. You live alone, and it is time to find food. You swim around to find the kelp, scallop, and crustaceans that you love to eat so much. You look around, and see a place in the distance with not 1, not 2, but 3 scallops! You also see tons of kelp that seem untouched by your competitors. You immediately swim to start breakfast. But there seems something off with the feeding ground. There are weird things that you never have seen before littering the dirt around the kelp, but they seem tasty. They are green like the kelp, and also come in other colors. It seems that eating them would be inevitable if you were to feed in this ground. You see another feeding ground in the distance, but another sea turtle is already there. You might anger it if you try to feed there. You are faced with a decision: Do you eat the food here even if it seems unfamiliar in some ways, or do you take your chances on another feeding ground with another turtle?
Turn to section 8 if you choose the first, and turn to section 9 if you choose the second.
Section 4: You decide to take your chances with the boat and the food. As you swim towards the source of food, the smell of blood becomes more and more clear. You close in towards your target, but suddenly you are hit with a lot of pain. Something has gone into your dorsal fin, and you can smell your own blood. You quickly take off, but your tailfin gets stuck in a forest of kelp. You pull through, and you race back towards the reef, with the boat in hot pursuit. You drop down low, and wait for the boat to pass. You have dodged death, but you have chosen the wrong choice. That boat was a poacher’s boat, and he was looking to kill you for your teeth, used in traditional festivals and medicines. Now you have to heal off an injury and can only hunt again after a few days. Even though you avoided being caught, you may not be able to avoid starvation.
Section 5: You decide that you would not want to take the chances of a human boat, and you begrudgingly turn away from the potential meal. Now you are back at the reef. You decide that you will rest now and hunt at dawn, but not before you smell something else, coming from the center of the reef. You race toward it, desperate for a good feast. Luckily, what you are chasing is unaware of the danger it is in. A harbor seal was idiotically swimming around during your hunting hours, and its back fin got scratched on a particularly spiky piece of coral. You quickly catch it, kill it, and settle down to a feast. You are happy with the outcome, as you do not have to hunt during dawn hours now. You have just avoided a close encounter to death, as the boat you saw previously was a poaching boat.
Section 6: The octopus may be too good of a treat to pass up, and you decide to take the risk. You dive through the opening and catch the octopus. As you try to escape with the octopus, your lower body gets caught on the barrier. You then realize that the barrier is actually a fishing net. You desperately try to escape, as the net is starting to be hoisted up. You finally cut free, but the octopus is long gone. You now have to go back to your family with nothing but a cut on your tail fin. Many dolphins get caught by these nets, and few of them survive. This is one of the downsides of commercial fishing, as it does catch a lot of unwanted creatures in its nets. You have just avoided death, and have to go back to your family. A lot of dolphin habitats are also destroyed by commercial fishing, giving the dolphins less space to live.
Section 7: This barrier may be dangerous, and you decide to go back to your family with no food. You have just avoided a fishing net, which many dolphins are killed by every year. When looking for food they entangle themselves in the net, and they are exposed to air when it is hauled up, and they die. You have taken the safe route. You go to your family, and you are disappointed. They are disappointed as well, but they quickly recover and look for more food. You pick up a new scent, this time of a crustacean of some sort. You find where the smell is coming from, and you successfully find a good meal. Even though you did not get the better meal of an octopus, you are safe with your family, and you are a winner for that.
Section 8: Even though there are some unknown objects in the area, you still begin to eat. A few minutes into your eating, something hits the side of your head. It quickly engulfs your nose and mouth. You have just been caught in a plastic bag, and you are suffocating from it. You quickly try and shake it off, but it does not work. You begin to swim around in fright, and you are moving far away from the feeding area. The plastic bag comes off as you run into a rock. Dazed and lost, you are far away from the reef and any source of food. Many sea turtles of all types are killed and suffocated by plastic thrown into the ocean. Although you have avoided death, there is still the hard task of finding food to worry about.
Section 9: You decide that the unknown substances in this feeding ground are too unknown to eat. You move to the new feeding ground with the other sea turtle. You both realize that there is plenty of kelp and clams for the both of you, and you satisfyingly eat. You have avoided human-made plastic in the previous area that would make you sick and suffocate you. Many sea turtles and other animals mistake these plastic pieces in the ocean for food, and many die from it. Even we are indirectly affected, because the seafood we eat sometimes have plastic in it, which is detrimental to our health. A lot of feeding grounds for sea animals are being affected by this plastic, and it is making a negative impact on ecosystems.
You have learned about the challenges that these animals face in the wild and from human interference. Many animals have problems because of the toll we are taking on the ocean, and how we are polluting it. Do you think that these are worthy of being addressed and solved? I definitely do, because many ecosystems and animals are being hurt by this toll we are taking on the ocean, including rising ocean acidity. Thank you for taking the time to do this interactive article.