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Mediterranean On the Rocks Guide & Resources

When Scientific American Frontiers host Alan Alda looks through a Mediterranean fishing net clogged with Caulerpa taxifola, it's no anomaly. This type of algae has all but taken over parts of the Mediterranean sea floor since it was first observed here in the 1980s. How did the algae -- formerly foreign to this region -- get here? And what can scientists do about it? For answers to this and other intriguing questions, tune into Mediterranean On the Rocks.

Here are topics and running times of stories on this show and a brief description of related classroom activities you'll find in this online teaching guide.

  • The Green Invader (running time 13:05): A killer algae with unusual adaptations is choking parts of the Mediterranean. Could a tiny sea slug from Florida become a powerful weapon in the fight to control the algae? ACTIVITY: Grow your own algae.

  • Turtle Hospital (running time 4:14): Like sea turtles everywhere, those in the Mediterranean are extremely endangered. A rescue effort in Naples, Italy, may provide the last hope for the region's sea turtles. ACTIVITY: Mapping invasive species in the U.S.

  • The Paper Boat (running time 14:44): For ancient Egyptians, papyrus served as an all-purpose raw material. In this episode, archaeologists use it to build a replica of a Stone Age reed boat. ACTIVITY: Make paper from household materials.

  • Copper Island (running time 10:33): Using the remains of a 2,600-year-old copper smelting furnace on Cyprus, a Swiss archaeologist reconstructs the furnace to learn how it might have been used to produce copper. DISCUSSION AND ACTIVITY: Future experimental archaeology riddles.

  • The Sea Within the Sea (running time 8:23): Marine wildlife in the Mediterranean is especially vulnerable to the region's stresses. Native finback whales and bluefin tuna need all the help they can get if they're going to survive here. DISCUSSION AND ACTIVITIES: Studying whale songs; origami in the classroom.

  • Viewer Challenge -- After you watch Mediterranean On the Rocks, test your viewing skills with ten questions about the show!


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.