Predators Group 3: Clues in Jamaica
“Deep in the wilds of Venezuela, the natural order is being turned inside out. Miles of verdant forest and savannah have given way to small and scattered islands. Some of these islands are now overrun by bands of voracious howler monkeys, a glut of iguanas and hordes of ravenous ants. What is driving this bizarre transformation? A team of scientists believes that life here has run amok in large part because its top predators are gone. Similarly, the majestic wilderness of Yellowstone National Park is also showing signs of change that some scientists trace to the depletion of natural predators. Familiar and revered forests have vanished. Researchers are linking these forest losses to the expulsion of the gray wolf some seventy years ago. In Venezuela and around the world, experts are learning that predators seem to play a crucial role in the structure and function of entire ecosystems. When the predators disappear, the consequences can be dramatic. If predators are so vital, should they — and can they — be brought back?”


· What is happening to the coral reefs in Jamaica?
· How did scientists pinpoint the problems in the reef?
· What caused the problems in the reef?
· What kind of solution can you think of to fix the problem?

In Jamaica the coral reefs are dying. Our video starts underwater in the dead coral reef. They show pictures, in the 1970s this place was vibrant with life, now all thats left of the once beautiful reef are pictures and memories. They take us to a sparse fish market, with only 4 or so stands. The fish are small, a fraction of what they where 30 years ago. The fishermen take us out on boats, going farther out each time to find something to feed their families. They are worried. What will happen to their livelihood? They take us on a grand tour, filled with the consequences of our mistakes, the horrors of our problems. this is no tropical paradise anymore. This is Jamaica, Discovery Bay. To pinpoint the problem Bill Precht and Richard Aronson took a sample using a tube; they could trace the sample back to 1,000 years. Scientists found that the coral reefs are dying because they are being suffocated by an overgrowth of algae. They think there is too much algae because the fish that eat it are gone due to overfishing. No new reefs have grown since 1980, so that means the fish probably started dying then. We have lost 90% of our large fish over the last 50 years, and it shows in Jamaica. These points were proven by two scientists that have lived in Jamaica for 30 years. The local people also noticed the decline in fish, which hurts the local economy. To help fix this problem researchers have created non-fishing zones. The locals support what the researchers are doing to revive the fish population. I believe to help fix the problem they can introduce more fish into the coral reefs, also make more non-fishing areas in places in Jamaica. To feed the people who rely on the fish we can introduce more fish to inland streams and grow more food on land. Of course, the plants and fish we introduce will be suitable to the area and will not upset the natural balance of things.

external image jamaica.hotels.vacation%20rentals.jpgPicture from: http://www.scoontis.com/CAM/maps/jamaica.hotels.vacation%20rentals.jpg
Scientists take a core sample
Scientists take a core sample
Picture from: http://www.pbs.org/strangedays/episodes/predators/experts/discoverybay.html


Good job! You covered all of the points and even showed the scientists taking sediment cores. 75/75 points.