Webster defines diversity as unlikeness, variety and difference; bio as life. Biodiversity then would be the contrasts existing among the different and various kinds of life surrounding us. Pharmaceuticals are the preparations of drugs.
My plan is to explore relations between biodiversity and pharmaceuticals. I believe that because of biodiversity, the universe is shrinking and with it, perhaps, many potential benefits of water and its inhabitants. Some of the benefits may still exist and with modern technology, be found again. New ones may even present themselves. I would like to pursue these benefits, lost and found, through aquaculture, the farming of the sea.
My rationale for writing this unit is threefold. 1) I am working on a grant that deals with water and marine animals. 2) I am interested in marine life that is pharmaceutically beneficial to mankind. 3) Because of biodiversity, some potential cures for many now incurable diseases may have been lost. Perhaps the emphasis should be on finding beneficial pharmaceuticals because many of the marine animals extant today have existed for millions of years. The water that we use today is the water that has been there too, since the beginning of oceans.
The first third of the unit will deal with ocean (sea) water, its salinity and the other 3% fresh water. Long Island Sound and its watershed is covered in the curriculum for K-4 grades. The length of the unit can take anywhere from a month through the first quarter. The students will learn about and how to test for: chlorine, iron, copper, magnesium, etc., and the pH level of purity. They will learn just how much of our water is drinkable, and how the government does and does not regulate our drinking water. Long Island Sound and its watershed should provide ample science experiments for the group.
In the second third of the unit my students will be learning about biodiversity and its pharmaceutical effects on marine life. Students will explore certain sea animals with known benefits to mankind; such as shellfish: clams ,oysters, mussels, and scallops; sharks, whales, lobsters, sponges, and coral reefs. Inherent in these yet unclassified sea creatures may be the cures for HIV, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, etc.
The last third of the unit is devoted to a summary of our findings rather than the future speculation on pharmaceutical gains. I will include the research of BBSR’s techniques and their use of “Genomics,” genetic engineering technology in “cloning.”