Document Type

Honors Paper

Publication Date

2016

Abstract

Oceans cover two‐thirds of our total planet surface area, ignoring the significance of depth, and even so, humans affect and change the ocean daily. This change is not often intentional or conscious, but rather is usually indirect. The hypothesis that humans do not consider how their actions affect the ocean unless they are educated on the subject matter and/or live within 25 miles of a coastline was examined through two survey studies. The purpose was to observe actions that affected the ocean and see if there were any trends with participants knowing which actions were positive for the ocean or negative for the ocean. These activities were put into context by being tied to elasmobranchs. These organisms are found in a wide variety of habitats and are well known, but not usually given attention in regards to conservation efforts. This highlights how our actions affect all organisms rather than just flagship species. Looking at the survey results and patterns in the data reveals that individuals did not know as much about conservation or the effects and magnitude of their actions unless they lived within 25 miles of a coastline, studied a life science and/or worked at an aquarium or other marine education facility. If there was knowledge of the effect of actions, there was little correlation between whether or not these actions were done and the known effect they have on the ocean.

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The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.