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Sea Level Rise - Sea level rise in Mauritania classroom resources



The video introduces students to the Banc d’Arguin, the Imraguen people and the challenges rising sea levels pose to migratory British birds.

Key Issues

- The effects of sea level rise in LEDCs.
- The impacts of sea level rise on ecosystems.
- Interconnectedness - how sea level rise in Mauritania threatens bird populations in the UK.
- Why the speed of environmental change is important.
- Climate change and desertification of the Sahara region.


The coast of Mauritania is a very dry region at the edge of the Sahara desert. It is home to small, subsistence fishing communities. These communities are threatened by sea level rise. The village in the video was recently divided in two by the advancing tides. At the same time, much of Mauritania is witnessing expansion of desert regions due to changing rainfall patterns. This makes life harder for the Imraguen, whose nearest source of drinking water is 45km away. As well as the impact on humans, sea level rise is affecting local ecosystems. It is restricting the growth of eel grass on which migrating birds feed. This could disrupt the migration patterns of many British birds and reduce the numbers reaching our shores. The video is an example of how environmental change in one part of the world affects ecosystems in a completely different area.




Starter Activities

  Use Atlantic Rising photographs to introduce the location and ask for students to offer suggestions why life is difficult in this part of the world.
  Use Google earth to give students a tour of Banc d’Arguin and the nearby coast getting them to identify human and physical features.


Enquiry Questions

- What are the dangers caused by sea level rise to the people of Mauritania?
- Should we be worried about changes to ecosystems in Mauritania? What could it mean for ecosystems in the UK?
- What is the biggest climate change related danger for people in Mauritania, sea level rise or increased desertification?
- Why is the speed of sea level rise so important to the impact on ecosystems and humans?

Lesson Activities

The video throws up a number of different issues and could be incorporated into a variety of main lesson activities. Here are a few examples:

  • Imagine you are a fisherman in the Banc D'Arguin.  How could you persuade people in Britain to take an interest in the problems of your area.  Can you design a poster which makes your situation relevant to somebody in Britain?
  • Use the Worksheet to explore how sea level rise affects different wildlife around the Atlantic Ocean.  What can you notice about how people are impacted by changes in wildlife?
  • How could sea level rise affect the coast of Britain and its wildlife and how does this differ to the problems faced in Mauritania?


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