Underwater adventures at home: Drawing

Published on 04 July 2018 by Castle Towers

For the final set of kids' activity sheets in our Journey into the Deep Blue series, we quizzed leading marine biologist Maggie Muurmans about taking better care of our oceans.

Maggie’s career has seen her work all over the world, from Indonesia to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and in 2009 she was presented with the Future for Nature award by Sir David Attenborough himself for her contribution to sea turtle conservation. Read the interview with her before downloading the free activity sheets to make sure you're primed to answer all your child's questions when they put pen to paper.

What made you want to become a marine biologist?
I grew up in the Netherlands surrounded by forest, so my interest focused on primates at first. I then started field work studying howler monkeys which was next to a nesting beach with leatherback sea turtles. It was actually an accident to start working with marine reptiles but it was very lucky. I fell in love with them straight away.

What’s your favourite sea creature and why?
I have worked with and studied marine turtles for over 15 years, so I would have to say that they would be my favourite. Marine turtles are like living dinosaurs; having been around for over 150 million years is incredible.

What is an average day in the life of a marine biologist?
I am currently studying the effects of marine litter on our coastal environment, which in turn affects our sea creatures. I do a lot of data collection in the field by collecting litter samples and making a record of what I find. I also engage with the community on a daily basis, which means that I do a lot of talks to schools and community groups to help people understand the impact that litter has on the marine environment.

Are there many species of marine life that are native to Australia?
Many species are migratory, which means they only visit Australia temporarily and then move on. In terms of marine turtles, I can say that we have the flatback sea turtle, which is a turtle that only lays its eggs on Australian soil and swims in Australian waters. You could say that this makes it the aquatic equivalent of the emu or kangaroo.

How many species of marine life are currently endangered?
Unfortunately we do not have information to answer this question with certainty. Astonishingly, we know more about the surface of the moon than we know about our oceans. While I have been answering this question, a species of marine life might have gone extinct, but another one might have been discovered. What I can say is that we have to make sure that we look after our oceans to reduce the rate at which animals are becoming endangered.

What are the biggest threats to marine life and how can we make a difference?
The growing human population is a threat to all life, whether it's marine or land based, because people do not treat the environment with enough care. Immediate threats to marine-life are waste and litter, unsustainable development, overfishing, climate change, and many other issues, all of which damage natural ecosystems. The biggest difference we could make would be to not live beyond our means, and to think about making small changes in our own life. That might be as simple as not using plastic bags or switching to solar power.

Click below to download the activities. Children aged 4–8 need to get from the littered side of the crab maze to the clean side. Children aged 9–12 can draw what they think the dolphin might be reacting to.

Maze challenge (4-8yrs)

Crab maze

Drawing challenge (9-12yrs)

 Dolphin drawing challenge

Have you contributed to our mother humpback whale sculpture yet?
Visit the Journey into the Deep Blue events page for details >