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The Once and Future Corals
http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=70627

Ari Daniel Shapiro, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This narrated slide show gives a brief overview of coral biology and how coral reefs are in danger from pollution, ocean temperature change, ocean acidification, and climate change. In addition, scientists discuss how taking cores from corals yields information on past changes in ocean temperature.

Slideshow length: 6:08 minutes.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Changes in climate conditions can affect the health and function of ecosystems and the survival of entire species. The distribution patterns of fossils show evidence of gradual as well as abrupt extinctions related to climate change in the past.
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Natural processes driving Earth’s long-term climate variability do not explain the rapid climate change observed in recent decades. The only explanation that is consistent with all available evidence is that human impacts are playing an increasing role in climate change. Future changes in climate may be rapid compared to historical changes.
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The chemistry of ocean water is changed by absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is causing ocean water to become more acidic, threatening the survival of shell-building marine species and the entire food web of which they are a part.
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Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change. Animals, plants, bacteria, and viruses will migrate to new areas with favorable climate conditions. Infectious diseases and certain species will be able to invade areas that they did not previously inhabit.
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Benchmarks for Science Literacy
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Human beings are part of the earth's ecosystems. Human activities can, deliberately or inadvertently, alter the equilibrium in ecosystems.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.
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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

  • Because this is a brief overview of coral reefs in danger, eductor may want to provide the linked Oceanus articles to their students for more background information.

About the Science

  • An overview of how human activity is impacting the integrity of coral reefs, and how coral can be used to investigate past climate changes. Paleoclimatology, ocean acidification, ecology, and pollution are all linked topics.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This video is narrated by Konrad Hughen, a respected geochemist who works with coral skeletal records. The video has good visuals and the narration tells a nice story about what corals are, and how coral reefs grow and record information on ocean history in their skeletons.

About the Pedagogy

  • There are links to Oceanus articles that fill in more science background on this slideshow. Educator should review the links prior to lesson to prepare for student questions and desire to explore.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Nice graphics. Narration very clear, appropriate level

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