Study Guide—The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion

Study Guide: The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book and your own research. Seek and you shall find!

The Beach, Marine Mammals

Holly from The Ocean’s Way is very happy to have her poem, The Ocean’sWay included at the beginning of this book. The following questions are based on the sections entitled

1. Coral Reefs– List five facts about coral reefs. How are coral reefs formed? What is the symbiotic relationship between corals and algae? What happens to corals as the water temperatures rise? Why are coral reefs important? Where in the world can coral reefs be found? What causes coral reefs to appear in cold water locations? Why are corals important in the world of human medicine?


2.Sea Shells– What role does a shell play in the life of a sea creature? How are sea shells formed? What is the value of nature recycling its sea shells?


3. Wave, Tsunami, Tide– Contrast the formation of waves, tsunamis and tides.How does the formation of a tsunami add to its inherently destructive nature? Describe the tsunami that originated in the Indian Ocean in 2004. How do tsunamis affect society, the economy and the environment? What changes would you make to present day tsunami early warning systems? What limitations do you perceive in these systems? In your opinion, to what extent are deaths from tsunamis preventable?


4.Dolphin, Killer Whale, Pilot Whale, Whale– Make a chart to compare/contrast the following: Eat? Drink? Breathe? Communicate? Navigate? Reproduce? Care for their young? Speed? Length and weight range at maturity? Diseases? Enemies? Dangers? Interaction with humans? Evidence of intelligence?

Compare/contrast dolphins with porpoises. Include appearance, habits and communication.

The killer whale or orca is an apex predator. What are some other examples of apex predators? What would happen if the apex predators were to be destroyed?

Explain why pilot whales are grouped with dolphins. What is it about their behavior that may lead to their ultimate destruction?

What is the largest animal to have lived on earth? Explain the uses of ambergris. Why is it so valuable?

5. Manatees– In what ways are manatees similar to humans? Why are they so vulnerable in the US? What steps has the state of Florida taken to protect manatees?

Polar Bears– How are polar bears negatively impacted by climate changes and increased human activity?

Sea Lions & Seals– Compare and contrast sea lions and seals. Which would you rather be? Why?

Sea Otters & Walruses– Sea otters and walruses are examples of keystone species. What is a keystone species? What would the effect on the environment be if the sea otter and walrus were to become extinct? What other keystone species are essential to their ecosystems?

If you were to create a habitat for the creatures mentioned in The Beach and Marine Mammals, which creatures would you group together? Why? What generalizations can you make about what is necessary to keep nature in balance? Depict your response with a drawing or painting of the grouped creatures in their habitats.

In what ways does the shipping industry negatively impact the marine environment? What is the impact of overfishing on the world oceans? What suggestions does the World Wildlife Fund make to counteract this phenomenon? What steps can governments and individuals take to encourage marine conservation? In what ways can tourism positively and negatively impact marine ecosystems.


Marine Birds, Marine Animals-Cnidaria

(Cnidaria is pronounced nigh-dare-ee-uh.)


1.Adaptations– Define the term adaptations as it applies to seabirds. Which adaptations allow the albatross, gull, and penguin to successfully live and reproduce in their environments?

2. Albatross– What is the life cycle? How does it eat? Drink? Parent its offspring? What is the range of the wingspan? How does dynamic soaring aid the albatross in its trans-oceanic flights? What is photosynthesis? What is phytoplankton? Explain the relationship between photosynthesis and phytoplankton. Why is phytoplankton so important to the albatross and other living things? What forces could negatively impact the production of phytoplankton?

3.Gull– What do gulls eat and drink? How does a gull reproduce? What factors could negatively impact their reproductive cycles? What factors will attract gulls to land and landfills? What is the difference between a food chain and a food web? Develop a model to represent the gull’s place in the food chain and a food web. Identify cooperative and competitive aspects in the life of a gull. Explain the roles of producer and consumer as it relates to energy transfer. Give examples.

4. Penguin– Recount the ways in which penguins are different from other birds. Explain the contradiction between the ability to fly and the ability to live successfully in a harsh climate.  What does the penguin eat? How do they eat and drink? Reproduce? Care for their young? Which other creatures live in the same ecosystem as the Emperor penguin? Design a chart to show the Emperor penguin’s place in the food web. What do we learn about the Emperor penguin from studying their child rearing habits? Why do you think the Emperor penguin lives cooperatively? Give examples. In what ways does climate change impact the Emperor penguin?

5. Jellies– Jellies do not have a brain or a heart and they are NOT fish. How does this impact their lives? When do jellies sting?  Which substances are found in the body of a jelly? Create a diagram and label the body parts of a jelly. How does a jelly eat? Move? Protect itself? Transform energy? Name the natural enemies. How have jellies remained immune to the negative effects of climate change, pollution and human interference? Predict the outcome of this phenomenon on the oceans of the future. Why are jellies important to the ecosystem?

Sea Anemone– How is the sea anemone different from other Anthozoa? Is the sea anemone plant or animal? Explain. Name the body parts. About how many species exist? How does a sea anemone kill its prey? Reproduce? What adaptations allow for camouflage and protection? What is a symbiotic relationship? Define the term mutualism as it pertains to symbiotic relationships. Describe the mutually beneficial relationship between some sea anemones and clownfish. Describe the mutually beneficial relationship between some sea anemones and green algae. How is the sea anemone affected by climate change?

Create and answer at least five interview questions to ask a sea anemone and a clownfish about their relationship.


Marine Reptile, Chelicerata Arthropod

(pronounced ke-liss-er-ah-tuh  ar-throw-pod).

1. Sea Turtles- How do sea turtles differ from land turtles? Draw and label the body parts of each. How and what does the sea turtle eat? Drink? Reproduce?  Enemies? Size and weight range? How long can a sea turtle live? Trace the ancestry of the sea turtle. How does the breathing adaptation help the sea turtle in its hunt for food? Describe the female sea turtle’s behavior during egg laying season. What factor influences the gender of the babies? How are the young cared for? Why do so few hatchlings survive?

Why is it so difficult for scientists to track the behaviors and movement of the sea turtle?

What factors contributed to the sea turtle being added to the endangered species list? What steps are being taken to protect the sea turtle from extinction? What can individuals do?

Write a newspaper account about the plight of sea turtles and the dangers presented to their eggs found at the ocean shores. Answer the following questions in your account: Who? What ? Why? When? Where? How?


2. Horseshoe Crab– Draw and label the body parts. Add the function of each feature. The horseshoe crab is not a true crab. What characteristics, if any, does it share with crabs? To which sea creatures is it related? To which land creature is the horseshoe crab related? What does it eat? Enemies? Where does it live? What is an estuary? What is the continental shelf? What adaptations allow the horseshoe crab to live in the ocean and estuaries?

Why is the horseshoe crab called a living fossil?

Why does the horseshoe crab have blue blood? Which other creatures have blue blood? How is the horseshoe crab important to human health and recovery?

What is  a keystone species? Describe the horseshoe crab’s importance as a keystone species. What factors have negatively impacted the balance of nature in the ecosystems in which the horseshoe crab lives?

What steps have the federal and some local governments taken to increase the numbers of horseshoe crabs? How can individuals help?


3. Which other sea creaturesare important to improving and maintaining human health? Give specific examples of each contribution.


4. Describe the contributions of some land animalsto the world of medicine. Give specific examples.

How have plants been used to improve human and animal health? Be specific.


5. Based on what you have learned in this series of questions, what inferences can be made about the importance of interdependence in the balance of nature and the role it plays in the continuation of all species?


Carnivorous Fish, Decapod Crustaceans

1. Define decapod crustaceans. Give examples. Define carnivorous fish. Give examples.

Name the different types of skeletons. Give examples of each.

Define oviparous, viviparousand ovoviviparous. Give examples of each.

Defineomnivorous, herbivorousand omnivorous. Give examples of each.

What is the impact of pollution, rising temperatures, ocean currents, and chemical balance on ocean life?


2. Rays– What is the most dangerous part of the body? Explain. Where is the mouth located? How is the body supported? Which other sea creatures share this feature? Eat? Enemies? Eggs or live birth?

Seahorse– How did it get its name? Draw a seahorse and label the body parts that resembles those of other creatures. What adaptations are used for protection? How does the ability to camouflage serve the seahorse? Size range? Eat? Enemies? What is unusual about their reproduction habits? Eggs or live birth? What is their importance in Chinese medicine? How might the demand for seahorses in medicine as well as the curio and aquariums trades lead to their extinction?

Pretend you are a seahorse. Write a diary entry sharing your fears for the safety and well-being of your offspring including the forces that endanger your species.


3. Shark– What is the shark’s sixth sense? Describe the life cycle and behavior. What is the term for a baby shark? Eat? Enemies? Eggs, live birth or both? What is a mermaid’s purse? Which other creatures share this feature? What is their importance in antiviral medications? How can a shark be important in combating cancer, fighting hospital staff infections, fibrosis and Alzheimer’s disease?

Starfish– Are they actually fish? Describe their adaptations. How do they reproduce? Eggs or live birth? Move? Eat? Enemies? What is unusual about their inner organs? How is their sticky liquid used in treating inflammatory human  diseases? How does the starfish contribute to the health of coral reefs?


4. Crab– Why are they nicknamed spiders of the sea? Create and label a diagram of the eyes of a crab. Gills, lungs or both? Cooperative or solitary? How do they reproduce? Communicate? Move? What do they eat? Enemies? What is their importance in human bone regeneration and wound healing?

Crayfish– By what other names are they known? What adaptations aid in their survival? What does a crab eat? What is unusual about how they move? Reproduce? What is the meaning of in berry? Eggs or live birth? Draw and label  the head including antennae, eyes, maxillae and mandibles. Include functions of each labeled part. Solitary or social? What is their importance in human neurodegenerative disorders?


5. Hermit Crab– How did it get its name? What does it eat? Gills or lungs? Enemies? Cooperative or solitary? Reproduce? Eggs or live birth? Purpose of two sets of antennae? Draw and label the abdomen of a hermit crab clasping onto the columella of a snail shell. Explain the phenomenon. What is their role in the benthic or bottom dwelling ocean community?

Lobster– What is the largest size reported? Eat? Enemies? Move? What is unusual about the way lobsters reproduce? Solitary, cooperative or both? Draw and label the body parts. Include the functions of the antennae and claws. What is their importance in the worlds of agriculture and human medicine?


Cephalopod Mollusks and Mollusks

1.Define cephalopod mollusk.Give examples. What happened to their shells? Evidence of intelligence?

Define mollusk. Give examples. What has been the impact of increased carbon dioxide levels? How might mollusks attempt to counteract this negative influence?

2. Octopus– Draw and label the body parts. What are the functions of the arms? Gills or lungs? How many hearts? Color of their blood? Why? Adaptations? Eat? Enemies? Eggs or live birth? In what way is reproduction lethal? How do they swim? Solitary or social? Where in the ocean do they live? What is the relationship between their taste and touch?

Squid– Draw and label the body parts. Where are the teeth located? Gills or lungs? Color of their blood? Why? How do they swim? Eat? Enemies? Compare/contrast the squid and octopus. Uses for squid ink? Size of the largest reported? Describe the symbiotic relationship between the squid-light organ and luminous bacteria. How might this knowledge be helpful to scientists and doctors studying ways to improve sight in humans?

3. Clam– Body parts?  Which common body parts don’t they have? What is the function of the siphon? Definefilter feeder. Marine, freshwater or both? Eat? Enemies? Reproduce? How do common water contaminants negatively impact humans who eat tainted clams? What are the sources of this pollution?

4.Mussel– Body parts? Function of the foot? Function of the byssal threads  (beards)? How are these byssal threads utilized in medicine and private industry?Uses of calcium carbonate? Eat? Enemies? How is reproduction different in marine and freshwater species? How is their habit ofclumpingbeneficial to their survival? In what ways are mussels used as bio-indicators? Why is this necessary?

5.Snail– Draw and label the parts of a snail outside of its shell. Gills or lungs? Eggs or live birth? Land, sea or freshwater? Adaptations? How do they move? Function of snail slime? How long have snails lived? Do their shells grow with them?  How are the spirals formed? Why must they consume so much calcium? Uses for their shells? What is the importance of snails in human medicine?


Write and perform a Readers Theater presentation. Characters: Octopus, Squid, Clam, Mussel, Snail. Theme: The Dangers To Your Habitat and Well-Being.

Readers Theater is a dramatic presentation of a written work in a script form. Readers read from a “script” and reading parts are divided among the readers. No memorization, costumes, blocking, or special lighting is needed. Presentations can easily be done in a classroom. Scripts are held by the readers who read one at a time. Often the characters who are not currently reading stand with their backs to the audience.


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Saturday, March 14, 2020- Barnes & Noble, Massapequa, NY 12:00-4:00pm

June 2020
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