Vendée Globe 2008: Marine Life

Before Skipper Wilson started preparing for the storm he’s sailing into, he wrote an essay about the sea animals he’s encountered. You’ve read about some of them before (albatross and flying fish, for instance), but the latest critters that have come his way are tiny: shrimp.

If the only time you’ve ever seen shrimp is on a plate at a restaurant, you might wonder what kind of animal it is. Shrimp, which are shellfish, have an exoskeleton. That means that their skeleton is outside their body instead of inside like yours. They have ten legs they use for walking, as well as ten shorter swimming appendages and six eating appendages, and can be found both in saltwater and in freshwater.

Shrimp eat tiny plants and animals found in the water. They also serve as food for larger fish, birds, seals, whales, and people.

This is a banded shrimp, a relative of what Skipper Wilson has been seeing at sea. Copyright Clipart.There are 1,900 different species of shrimp. The shrimp in the picture lives in saltwater, is often found in home aquariums, and is about three inches long. It’s the same type of animal as what Skipper Wilson has been seeing, but is much bigger. (It’s kind of like the difference between a husky dog and a chihuahua. They’re both dogs, but don’t really look like each other.) The kind of shrimp Skipper Wilson has been finding are tiny. They’re about one centimeter long — the length of your pinky finger nail.

(By the way, have you ever heard of sea monkeys? They aren’t really monkeys at all, but are actually a type of brine shrimp.)

What kind of wildlife can you find in your neighborhood? Ioannis Miaoulis, president and director of Boston’s Museum of Science has some ideas about the things you might learn from them.


Brine Shrimp 2: Brine Shrimp Survival (6-8)
In this Science NetLinks lesson students develop an understanding of how growth and survival of an organism depends on physical conditions. This is accomplished by designing an artificial environment in which brine shrimp can thrive.

Food Webs in the Bay (6-8)
This lesson from Science NetLinks acquaints students with a type of ecosystem (the submerged aquatic vegetation of a bay) and how the different organisms of that ecosystem compete with one another for resources.

Marine Sanctuaries (6-8)
Students will develop an understanding of diverse marine ecosystems and the problems they face in this lesson from Science NetLinks.

Punching Shrimp (6-12)
In this episode of Science Update from Science NetLinks, students learn about how ferocious mantis shrimp can be.

Marine Reserves (6-12)
This Science Update episode from Science NetLinks looks at the unexpected impact marine reserves have on their surroundings.

Antibacterial Pollution (6-12)
What happens to compounds found in antibacterial household products when they get washed down the drain? You’ll hear one worrisome possibility in this Science Update from Science NetLinks.


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