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This video introduces phytoplankton - the base of the marine food web, the source of half of the oxygen on Earth, and an important remover of CO2 from the atmosphere. The video also explains how satellites are used to monitor phytoplankton and how warming waters and acidification negatively affect phytoplankton.

Video length 5 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

  • This video could fit in any lesson or unit dealing with ecosystems, oceanography, marine biology, plants, or taxonomy.
  • A tiny drop of sea water, typically a staple lab exercise in most middle school classrooms, could be explored and tied into a lesson on the ocean food web. This video would make a nice complement to close out the lesson and tie the concepts together by demonstrating how something so small could have such a large impact on Earth's climate system.
  • Might be a great addition to a middle school level classroom on the food web and how climate change is affecting the web of life.

About the Content

  • Green Machines is a NASA video that discusses phytoplankton as an important carbon sink. NASA satellites monitor global changes in phytoplankton and relate to changes in ocean sea surface temperature this past decade.
  • Video documents importance of phytoplankton to marine food chain and how scientists can study changes in phytoplankton density from satellites.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The video effectively makes some simple but crucial points about the importance of phytoplankton and potential effects of global warming.

About the Pedagogy

  • Well-told story of how these tiny plants play such a vital role.
  • The video covers a lot of topics quickly (introduces phytoplankton, ocean acidification, stratification) which may confuse some students.
Entered the Collection: January 2012 Last Reviewed: December 2016

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