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Date: Nov 2, 2007
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THE ARTICLE

Parrotfish to rescue coral reefs

One of Earth’s most exquisite creatures, the parrotfish, may be the key to saving the Caribbean’s world-famous coral reefs. This is according to a new report published in the journal ‘Nature’. Report author professor Peter Mumby, a marine ecologist from the UK’s Exeter University, says overgrown seaweed is making it hard for the coral to breathe. He found the parrotfish is the only fish that eats the seaweed. However, over-fishing has reduced the numbers of parrotfish, which means the coral is at serious risk of being damaged beyond repair. Mumby said: “The future of some Caribbean reefs is in the balance and if we carry on the way we are, then reefs will change forever. This will be devastating for the Caribbean’s rich marine environment, which is home to a huge range of species as well as being central to the livelihood of millions of people.”

Professor Mumby says that in order to ensure a future for the reefs, parrotfish need to be protected. These colourful fish are frequently caught in fishing nets and end up being sold in local markets. Mumby added: “The good news is that we can take practical steps to protect parrotfish and help reef regeneration. We recommend a change in policy to establish controls over the use of fish traps, which parrotfish are particularly vulnerable to. We also call on anyone who visits the Caribbean and sees parrotfish on a restaurant menu to voice their concern to the management.” The reefs have been in decline since the 1980s. Global warming has added to the problem by bleaching coral and wiping out other species that fed on the seaweed. Professor Mumby hopes the parrotfish can become a symbol of ecosystem success in the Caribbean.

WARM-UPS

1. EXQUISITE FISH: Walk around the class and talk to other students about beautiful and exquisite fish. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your original partner(s) and share what you found out.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

exquisite creatures / coral reefs / seaweed / over-fishing / people’s livelihoods / local markets / taking practical steps / regeneration / being vulnerable / menus

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. CREATURE KEYS: Parrotfish may be the key to saving coral reefs in the Caribbean. With your partner(s), use your imagination and create stories about how these creatures might in some way help solve the earth’s problems. Change partners and share your stories.

  • ants
  • worms
  • chickens
  • spiders
  • dogs
  • kangaroos

4. BEYOND REPAIR: Which of these are the biggest problems for Earth? Rate them in order from 1 (smallest problem) to 8 (biggest problem). Change partners and explain your rating. Discuss how we can repair the damage done by each.

     _____     deforestation

 

     _____     dam building

 

     _____     tourism

 

     _____     over-fishing

     _____     overpopulation

 

     _____     acid rain / smog

 

     _____     hazardous waste

 

     _____     other ________________

5. NATURE: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘nature’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

6. QUICK DEBATE: Students A think it’s too late for governments and scientists to save the Earth. Students B think the Earth doesn’t need saving – it will survive. Debate this with your partners. Change partners often.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Parrotfish may be the answer in protecting Caribbean coral reefs.

T / F

b.

The reefs are in danger of being suffocated by overgrown seaweed.

T / F

c.

The out-of-control seaweed is highly poisonous to parrotfish.

T / F

d.

The Caribbean coral reefs don’t really affect people’s incomes.

T / F

e.

The biggest danger for parrotfish is people with aquariums.

T / F

f.

A professor is optimistic parrotfish numbers can be increased.

T / F

g.

Parrotfish are inedible to humans and dangerous if consumed.

T / F

h.

The sun bleached the reefs and killed several species of marine life.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

1.

exquisite

a.

destructive

2

key

b.

air

3.

devastating

c.

income

4.

central

d.

susceptible

5.

livelihood

e.

crucial

6.

ensure

f.

killing

7.

establish

g.

answer

8.

vulnerable

h.

magnificent

9.

voice

i.

initiate

10.

wiping out

j.

make certain

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

1.

One of Earth’s most

a.

of millions of people

2

This is according

b.

for the coral to breathe

3.

overgrown seaweed is making it hard

c.

concern to the management

4.

at serious risk of being

d.

vulnerable

5.

central to the livelihood

e.

damaged beyond repair

6.

in order to ensure a

f.

of ecosystem success

7.

practical steps to protect parrotfish and

g.

exquisite creatures

8.

parrotfish are particularly

h.

future for the reefs

9.

voice their

i.

to a new report

10.

the parrotfish can become a symbol

j.

help reef regeneration

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

Parrotfish to rescue coral reefs
 

One of Earth’s most ________ creatures, the parrotfish, may be the key to saving the Caribbean’s world-famous coral reefs. This is ________ to a new report published in the journal ‘Nature’. Report author professor Peter Mumby, a marine ________ from the UK’s Exeter University, says overgrown seaweed is making it ________ for the coral to breathe. He found the parrotfish is the only fish that eats the seaweed. However, over-fishing has reduced the numbers of parrotfish, which means the coral is at serious risk of being damaged ________ repair. Mumby said: “The future of some Caribbean reefs is in the ________ and if we carry on the way we are, then reefs will change forever. This will be ________ for the Caribbean’s rich marine environment, which is home to a huge range of species as well as being ________ to the livelihood of millions of people.”

 

 

 

ecologist
according
beyond
devastating
hard
central
exquisite
balance

Professor Mumby says that in order to ________ a future for the reefs, parrotfish need to be protected. These colourful fish are frequently caught in fishing nets and ________  being sold in local markets. Mumby added: “The good news is that we can take ________ steps to protect parrotfish and help reef regeneration. We recommend a change in policy to establish controls over the use of fish traps, which parrotfish are particularly ________ to. We also call on anyone who visits the Caribbean and sees parrotfish on a restaurant menu to ________ their concern to the management.” The reefs have been in ________ since the 1980s. Global warming has added to the problem by bleaching coral and ________ other species that fed on the seaweed. Professor Mumby hopes the parrotfish can become a ________ of ecosystem success in the Caribbean.

 

 

vulnerable symbol
end up
practical
ensure
decline
voice
wiping out

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Parrotfish to rescue coral reefs

One of Earth’s ________________________, the parrotfish, may be the key to saving the Caribbean’s world-famous coral reefs. ________________________ report published in the journal ‘Nature’. Report author professor Peter Mumby, a marine ecologist from the UK’s Exeter University, says overgrown seaweed _____________________ coral to breathe. He found the parrotfish is the only fish that eats the seaweed. However, over-fishing ________________________ parrotfish, which means the coral is at serious risk of ________________________. Mumby said: “The future of some Caribbean reefs is in the balance and if we carry on the way we are, then reefs will change forever. This will be devastating for the Caribbean’s rich marine environment, which is ________________________ species as well as being ________________________ millions of people.”

Professor Mumby says that in ____________________________ the reefs, parrotfish need to be protected. These colourful fish are frequently caught in fishing nets ________________________ local markets. Mumby added: “The good news is that we can take practical steps to protect parrotfish and ________________________. We recommend a change in policy to establish controls over the use of fish traps, which parrotfish ________________________. We also call on anyone who visits the Caribbean and sees parrotfish on a restaurant menu ___________________ the management.” The reefs have been ___________________ 1980s. Global warming has added to the problem by bleaching coral and wiping out other species that fed on the seaweed. Professor Mumby hopes the parrotfish can ___________________ ecosystem success in the Caribbean.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘beyond’ and ‘repair’.

beyond

repair

 

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • key
  • ecologist
  • breathe
  • serious
  • carry on
  • central
  • ensure
  • end up
  • steps
  • call on
  • voice
  • wiping out

STUDENT MARINE LIFE SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about marine life in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What do you know about parrotfish and coral?

c)

How important do you think it is to save the world’s coral reefs?

d)

What do you think are the world’s most exquisite creatures?

e)

What do you think it’s like being a professor who spends his life studying beautiful seas and oceans?

f)

Can you think of other ways to reduce the amount of seaweed and allow the coral to breathe?

g)

What other parts of the world are damaged beyond repair?

h)

Are there any areas of your country that are in the balance ecologically?

i)

Do you think the Caribbean community should be doing more to protect their reefs?

-------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Do you think the governments of Caribbean islands should ban the sale of parrotfish?

c)

Would you voice your concerns to the management of a restaurant that had parrotfish on the menu?

d)

Do you know of any other reefs around the world that are in danger?

e)

What do you think the outcome of this story will be?

f)

What damage do you think the sun does to coral?

g)

Do you think the parrotfish would be a good symbol of marine ecosystem success?

h)

What questions would you like to ask Professor Mumby?

i)

Did you like this discussion?

LANGUAGE

CORRECT WORD: Put the correct words from a–d below in the article.

Parrotfish to rescue coral reefs

One of Earth’s most (1) ____ creatures, the parrotfish, may be the key to saving the Caribbean’s world-famous coral reefs. This is (2) ____ to a new report published in the journal ‘Nature’. Report author professor Peter Mumby, a marine ecologist from the UK’s Exeter University, says overgrown seaweed is making it (3) ____ for the coral to breathe. He found the parrotfish is the only fish that eats the seaweed. However, over-fishing has reduced the numbers of parrotfish, which means the coral is at (4) ____ risk of being damaged beyond repair. Mumby said: “The future of some Caribbean reefs is in the balance and if we carry (5) ____ the way we are, then reefs will change forever. This will be devastating for the Caribbean’s rich marine environment, which is home to a huge range of species as well as being central to the (6) ____ of millions of people.”

Professor Mumby says that in (7) ____ to ensure a future for the reefs, parrotfish need to be protected. These colourful fish are frequently caught in fishing nets and end (8) ____ being sold in local markets. Mumby added: “The good news is that we can take practical steps to protect parrotfish and help reef regeneration. We recommend a (9) ____ in policy to establish controls over the use of fish traps, which parrotfish are particularly vulnerable to. We also call (10) ____ anyone who visits the Caribbean and sees parrotfish on a restaurant menu to (11) ____ their concern to the management.” The reefs have been in decline since the 1980s. Global warming has added to the problem by bleaching coral and wiping (12) ____ other species that fed on the seaweed. Professor Mumby hopes the parrotfish can become a symbol of ecosystem success in the Caribbean.

1.

(a)

exhausting

(b)

quizzed

(c)

exquisite

(d)

equipped

2.

(a)

accord

(b)

according

(c)

accords

(d)

recording

3.

(a)

hardest

(b)

harden

(c)

hardly

(d)

hard

4.

(a)

serious

(b)

seriously

(c)

series

(d)

serial

5.

(a)

on

(b)

over

(c)

up

(d)

in

6.

(a)

liveliness

(b)

live

(c)

lively

(d)

livelihood

7.

(a)

ask

(b)

order

(c)

tell

(d)

command

8.

(a)

on

(b)

down

(c)

up

(d)

of

9.

(a)

changing

(b)

chance

(c)

charge

(d)

change

10.

(a)

in

(b)

up

(c)

on

(d)

to

11.

(a)

sound

(b)

voice

(c)

speak

(d)

speech

12.

(a)

out

(b)

up

(c)

over

(d)

with

WRITING: 

Write about over-fishing for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information about parrotfish. Talk about what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. OCEANS AND SEAS: Make a poster about oceans and seas. Highlight the problems different oceans and seas are experiencing due to human activity. Show your poster to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all include similar things?

4. MAGAZINE ARTICLE: Write a magazine article about the parrotfish and its role in saving the coral reefs in the Caribbean. Include imaginary interviews with a parrotfish, a tourist and a fisherman.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down new words and expressions.

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Professor Mumby. Ask him three questions about his research. Give him three pieces of advice on what projects he should do in the future. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. T

c. F

d. F

e. F

f. T

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

exquisite

a.

magnificent

2

key

b.

answer / crucial

3.

devastating

c.

destructive

4.

central

d.

crucial

5.

livelihood

e.

income

6.

ensure

f.

make certain

7.

establish

g.

initiate

8.

vulnerable

h.

susceptible

9.

voice

i.

air

10.

wiping out

j.

killing

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

One of Earth’s most

a.

exquisite creatures

2

This is according

b.

to a new report

3.

overgrown seaweed is making it hard

c.

for the coral to breathe

4.

at serious risk of being

d.

damaged beyond repair

5.

central to the livelihood

e.

of millions of people

6.

in order to ensure a

f.

future for the reefs

7.

practical steps to protect parrotfish and

g.

help reef regeneration

8.

parrotfish are particularly

h.

vulnerable

9.

voice their

i.

concern to the management

10.

the parrotfish can become a symbol

j.

of ecosystem success

GAP FILL:

Parrotfish to rescue coral reefs

One of Earth’s most exquisite creatures, the parrotfish, may be the key to saving the Caribbean’s world-famous coral reefs. This is according to a new report published in the journal ‘Nature’. Report author professor Peter Mumby, a marine ecologist from the UK’s Exeter University, says overgrown seaweed is making it hard for the coral to breathe. He found the parrotfish is the only fish that eats the seaweed. However, over-fishing has reduced the numbers of parrotfish, which means the coral is at serious risk of being damaged beyond repair. Mumby said: “The future of some Caribbean reefs is in the balance and if we carry on the way we are, then reefs will change forever. This will be devastating for the Caribbean’s rich marine environment, which is home to a huge range of species as well as being central to the livelihood of millions of people.”

Professor Mumby says that in order to ensure a future for the reefs, parrotfish need to be protected. These colourful fish are frequently caught in fishing nets and end up being sold in local markets. Mumby added: “The good news is that we can take practical steps to protect parrotfish and help reef regeneration. We recommend a change in policy to establish controls over the use of fish traps, which parrotfish are particularly vulnerable to. We also call on anyone who visits the Caribbean and sees parrotfish on a restaurant menu to voice their concern to the management.” The reefs have been in decline since the 1980s. Global warming has added to the problem by bleaching coral and wiping out other species that fed on the seaweed. Professor Mumby hopes the parrotfish can become a symbol of ecosystem success in the Caribbean.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - c

2 - b

3 - d

4 - a

5 - a

6 - d

7 - b

8 - c

9 - d

10 - c

11 - b

12 - a


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