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Acid Oceans

American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

This video follows biologist Gretchen Hofmann as she studies the effects of ocean acidification on sea urchin larvae.

Video length: 6:38 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept
High School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Life affects climate; climate affects life
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Life affects climate; climate affects life
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
Increased acidity of oceans and negative impacts on food chain due to increasing carbon dioxide levels
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7d
Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7e

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Easily used in any unit dealing with oceans, marine biology, and climate change.
  • Can be used in conjunction with lesson plans listed in the 'Pedagogy' section of this page.

About the Science

  • The ocean has absorbed about a third of the carbon dioxide emitted through human activities, altering the pH of the ocean, reducing its buffering capacity.
  • Through the University of California, Santa Barbara, sea urchins are used to set up ocean acidification experiments testing how CO2 affects sea urchins' formation of their calcified parts like spines, exoskeleton, and mouth parts.
  • Comments from expert scientist: excellent discussion of real studies of the effects of ocean acidification on development of larval urchins. I would use it in any high school or college class.

About the Pedagogy

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent quality.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

MS-PS3.D1:The chemical reaction by which plants produce complex food molecules (sugars) requires an energy input (i.e., from sunlight) to occur. In this reaction, carbon dioxide and water combine to form carbon-based organic molecules and release oxygen.

MS-PS3.D2:Cellular respiration in plants and animals involve chemical reactions with oxygen that release stored energy. In these processes, complex molecules containing carbon react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and other materials.

MS-LS1.C1:Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth or later use.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Systems and System Models

MS-C4.1: Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.D2:Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

HS-LS2.B3:Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are important components of the carbon cycle, in which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and geosphere through chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes.

HS-LS1.C4:As a result of these chemical reactions, energy is transferred from one system of interacting molecules to another. Cellular respiration is a chemical process in which the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and new compounds are formed that can transport energy to muscles. Cellular respiration also releases the energy needed to maintain body temperature despite ongoing energy transfer to the surrounding environment.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Systems and System Models

HS-C4.2:When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models.

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