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From Mud to Molecules: What Deep Sea Sediments Can Tell Us about Past Climates
http://wbc.whoi.edu:8080/http/WHOI_CMS/Graphics_Videos/Eglinton10-28FRc.mov

Geoffrey Eglington, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This video documents how scientists, using marine algae, can study climate change in the past to help understand potential effects of climate change in the future.

Video length 4:35 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

The abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is controlled by biogeochemical cycles that continually move these components between their ocean, land, life, and atmosphere reservoirs. The abundance of carbon in the atmosphere is reduced through seafloor accumulation of marine sediments and accumulation of plant biomass and is increased through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels as well as through other processes.
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Scientific observations indicate that global climate has changed in the past, is changing now, and will change in the future. The magnitude and direction of this change is not the same at all locations on Earth.
About Teaching Principle 4
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Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
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The earth's climates have changed in the past, are currently changing, and are expected to change in the future, primarily due to changes in the amount of light reaching places on the earth and the composition of the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels in the last century has increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which has contributed to Earth's warming.
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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

  • It is common for high school science classes to study cells. This video could be used in conjunction to a unit on cells tied to current events and climate related studies.
  • Core mud samples could be analyzed with students and could teach students about the secrets that lie within... using a resource like : http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/fac/CORE_REPOSITORY/RHP1.html where a repository of deep sea sediments is available to possibly use.

About the Science

  • The video explains how the marine algae Emiliania huxleyi, aka Emilia, responds chemically to temperature changes making different forms of alkenones at different temperatures. Because ocean temperature is a driver of climate, scientists can use proxy temperature differences as measured by alkenones to understand past climate changes.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • Prerequisite knowledge required due to strong ties to biological processes and the biological pump and climate changes that are linked to a small marine algae.
  • This video would probably fit quite well in a marine biology or oceanography course where students would have greater access to background knowledge needed to understand the science in the video.

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