How does climate change affect oyster populations?

Increased levels of carbon dioxide, caused by humans burning fossil fuels, are not only causing a rise in global temperature but are also having adverse impacts on marine ecosystems. Background The role of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on global temperatures is well known (IPCC 2014), but not all of the carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels enters the atmosphere. The Lesson Engage To begin, we elicit students’ prior knowledge about carbon dioxide and climate change through such questions as “What does the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere do for Earth?” and “What happened when people began burning more fossil fuel?” By the end of this discussion, students understand the following concepts: * Some levels of greenhouse gases are good and keep Earth warm enough to support life as we know it. * As more and more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, they cause global warming. * The “extra” carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels goes into both the oceans and the atmosphere. * When carbon dioxide enters the ocean, there is less going into the atmosphere, which is “good” in terms of global warming. In order to scaffold the process for students and to make materials management for the teacher easier, we provide a set of limited materials, such as beakers, straws, pH test strips, and salt water, that they can use in their investigation (see teacher’s guide in “On the web” for detailed materials list).

Wolfson J., Stapleton M. & Sezen-Barrie A., 2020. How does climate change affect oyster populations? The Science Teacher 87 (5): 43-49. Article.

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