Sampling the Sea

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One-fifth of the protein humans consume comes from the sea. This critical ecosystem is at risk. Global seafood catch has declined for two decades while human populations grow exponentially. The pending global crisis dwarfs other food issues, yet oceans garner little attention. Most people are too removed from the sea in their daily lives to understand that crises exist; hence, the demand for sustainable solutions is limited. DigitalOcean: Sampling the Sea will build a foundation for solutions using online collaborative technologies to create awareness among students about the need to preserve ocean resources. A multi-disciplinary team from UC Santa Barbara, in partnership with Google Earth, NASA Globe, and ePals, will reach 200 classrooms, involving 3,500 students from multiple countries, in the first year. By integrating social networks of students/teachers collecting data, images, and stories about seafood in their local communities with interactive, animated displays of scientific content about trends in fisheries and ocean species in Google Earth, students will learn about sustainable seafood choices and effects of human actions on the ocean. By “Sampling the Sea,” students will actively participate in research, contribute knowledge, and foster a global discussion of how the oceans are changing, how our choices drive those changes, and possible solutions.

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