Jump to this Video »
Warmer Oceans Affect Food Web

KTOO, WGBH Educational Foundation, Teachers' Domain

In this video, students learn that the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989 was not the sole cause of the decline of species in the local ecosystem. Rather, an explanation is posited for why some animal populations were already in decline when the spill occurred. Many of these animals share a common food: the sand lance, a fish whose populations have shrunk with the steady rise in ocean temperature that began in the late 1970s.

Video length: 2:30 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 7 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate's role in habitats ranges and adaptation of species to climate changes
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3a
Evidence shows that human-caused global warming have impacted ecosystem resulting in reduced biodiversity and ecological resilience
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6d

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

About the Science

  • Scientists and Alaska residents in this short video discuss how the declines in several animals in Prince William Sound may well be the result of ocean temperature rise as well as oil pollution from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  • The video gives an idea about how a scientific hypothesis is developed.
  • Comment from expert scientist: Scientifically sound resource.

About the Pedagogy

  • This video has strong visuals of several animals.
  • A good background essay and discussion questions accompany the video.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The streaming video quality is not suitable for classroom projection; the downloadable version is more suitable.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 7

MS-LS2.A1:Organisms, and populations of organisms, are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors.

MS-LS2.A2:In any ecosystem, organisms and populations with similar requirements for food, water, oxygen, or other resources may compete with each other for limited resources, access to which consequently constrains their growth and reproduction.

MS-LS2.A3:Growth of organisms and population increases are limited by access to resources.

MS-LS2.A4:Similarly, predatory interactions may reduce the number of organisms or eliminate whole populations of organisms. Mutually beneficial interactions, in contrast, may become so interdependent that each organism requires the other for survival. Although the species involved in these competitive, predatory, and mutually beneficial interactions vary across ecosystems, the patterns of interactions of organisms with their environments, both living and nonliving, are shared.

MS-LS4.D1:Changes in biodiversity can influence humans’ resources, such as food, energy, and medicines, as well as ecosystem services that humans rely on—for example, water purification and recycling.

MS-ESS3.C1:Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.

MS-ESS3.C2:Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS3.C1:The sustainability of human societies and the biodiversity that supports them requires responsible management of natural resources.

HS-ESS3.C2:Scientists and engineers can make major contributions by developing technologies that produce less pollution and waste and that preclude ecosystem degradation.

HS-LS2.A1:Ecosystems have carrying capacities, which are limits to the numbers of organisms and populations they can support. These limits result from such factors as the availability of living and nonliving resources and from such challenges such as predation, competition, and disease. Organisms would have the capacity to produce populations of great size were it not for the fact that environments and resources are finite. This fundamental tension affects the abundance (number of individuals) of species in any given ecosystem.

HS-LS2.C2:Moreover, anthropogenic changes (induced by human activity) in the environment—including habitat destruction, pollution, introduction of invasive species, overexploitation, and climate change—can disrupt an ecosystem and threaten the survival of some species.

Jump to this Video »