Archive for the 'Educational Materials' Category

GOA-ON Webinar: carbon cycle monitoring in the extreme latitudes, the Southern Ocean and Arctic Ocean (audio & video)

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Ocean acidification lessons: making a rainbow of pH (video)

Ocean Acidification Lessons: Making a Rainbow of pH

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Ocean acidification lessons: shell shifts (video)

Ocean Acidification Lessons: Shell Shifts

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Ocean acidification lessons: understanding oceans and coastal acidification (video)

Ocean Acidification Lessons: Understanding Oceans and Coastal Acidification
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OA-ICC booth at the Virtual Ocean Pavilion on the Road to COP27

The OA-ICC booth at the Virtual Ocean Pavilion for COP27 opened this week for Africa Climate Week (ACW), being held from 29 August-2 September 2022 in Gabon. Come visit to learn more about OA-ICC news, activities, and resources.

To visit the booth, explore materials from other Virtual Ocean Pavilion exhibitors, and view the schedule of live events, register for an account at the link. The booth and the Virtual Ocean Pavilion will be viewable through the end of COP27.

The Virtual Ocean Pavilion will host two live events this week in the Pavilion Virtual Auditorium. Please review the details below.

  • COP27 Virtual Ocean Pavilion Opening Event: Raising Action: An Ocean of Prospects and Opportunities in 2022 and Beyond
    • 30 August 2022 at 7:00 – 8:30 UTC
    • Speakers: Dr. Manuel Barange, Mr. Richard Delaney, Ms. Landisang Kotaro, Ms. Nozi Mbongwa, Ms. Elisabeth Mrema, Ian Mzee Ngunga, Ambassador Olivier Poivre d’Arvor, Dr. Joanna Post, Dr. Vladimir Ryabinin, Ambassador Peter Thomson, Prof. Carol Turley
  • Ocean and Climate Action: Adaptation and Resilience Practices and Tools Clinic
    • 30 August 2022 at 13:00 – 14:30 UTC
    • Speakers: Dr. Indumathie Hewawasam, Dr. Nayrah Shaltout, Dr. Roshan T. Ramessur, Dr. Bernadette Snow, Dr. Flower Msuya
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How to measure pHT in biological experiments

Research on ocean acidification requires following best practices. The OA-ICC contributes to the development of teaching material for the implementation of simplified methodologies for laboratories with limited finances or infrastructure.

Authors: Sanja Grđan, University of Dubrovnik & Sam Dupont, University of Gothenburg

Translation: Celeste Sánchez Noguera (Spanish) and Sam Dupont (French)

Description: Measuring pH in seawater using a glass electrode is not trivial and requires TRIS buffer. TRIS buffers are commercially available from Dr. Andrew Dickson’s laboratory at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California. However, access to this buffer can be difficult due to a continuously increasing demand as well as costs including shipping, customs fees, and taxes, making them less available for countries and laboratory with limited funds.

A simplified buffer preparation method is described in Paulsen & Dickson (2020) making the use of TRIS buffers available to a wider range of researchers.

The aim of this document and associated material (xls sheets and videos) is to help experimentalists entering the field of ocean acidification to make their own TRIS buffer, calibrate their glass electrodes for pH measurement on the total scale, take water samples and calculate pH on the total scale (pHT).

English Language Materials

French Language Materials

Spanish Language Materials

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What’s the big deal about ocean acidification?

Fifth-grade students from an inland community discover a local connection to our ocean

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We have only one ocean and it is inextricably linked to human health, yet research shows most elementary students do not understand the one-ocean concept (Mogias 2019). Additionally, the ocean—and its problems—may seem unrelated to students’ lives even though it provides half of the oxygen we breathe (via plankton); manufactures our weather; supplies food and drinking water; and makes a global economy possible. “Enhancing interactions with the ocean through experiential learning could be the most effective way of improving ocean literacy as well as marine citizen- and stewardship” (Guest et al. 2015). So, we—a literacy consultant and a children’s author—came together to show educators how STEM and language arts could be combined in ocean experiential learning.

In a series of 12 project-based learning lessons, a group of seven fifth-grade students who live 200 miles from the coast explored their personal connections to our ocean. After completing a unit on the role of water in Earth’s surface processes, the students investigated ocean acidification and how this pervasive ocean problem impacts their local community.
We had three basic goals for our students:

  • Learn the process of ocean acidification and its impact on the environment.
  • Understand the link between their inland community and the ocean.
  • Form meaningful emotional relationships with the ocean and take action on ocean sustainability.

The following lessons may be scaled up for an entire class. For example, the teacher could work with a rotation of small groups while other students work collaboratively on related tasks. Alternatively, the teacher could provide whole-group focus lessons (or, in some cases, directions) and then confer with small groups as they engage in the conversations and other activities described here

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The pH scale and the chemistry of ocean acidification

Ocean acidification provides a useful and engaging context to explore your learners’ understanding of the pH scale

This resource explores the concept of changing pH linked to ocean acidification and can be used as a worksheet to aid understanding during the lesson or as homework. Extension questions provide more challenge and delve into other aspects of chemistry linked to ocean acidification. They lead to a research task where learners can present what they have learnt to explain some of the consequences of ocean acidification on marine organisms.

Sustainability in chemistry

The Sustainable Development Goals logo

This resource accompanies the Education in Chemistry article Tie ocean acidification into your chemistry topics where you will find more support and suggestions for how to connect your current chemistry teaching with UN sustainable development goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Use the goal to add further context to this resource.

Teacher notes

The download includes answers to all of the questions in the worksheet. 

Question 4 gives learners an opportunity to apply their knowledge and practise a longer-answer question. A structure strip to support this question is provided. Structure strips give scaffolded prompts and help overcome ‘fear of the blank page’. Learners stick the strip into the margin of their exercise book, or a sheet of A4 paper, and write alongside it. Read more in Improve students’ understanding through writing.

A student sheet and teacher notes available as PDFs or MS Word docs. Download All

The extension questions provide further challenge for learners within the topic. Question 7c asks learners to consider equilibrium and they may need a prompt to think about Le Chatelier’s principle if attempting this question.

Question 9 asks learners to undertake further research and present their findings as a poster or infographic, you could suggest alternative formats for this. You could also give learners more of a scaffold with prompts, eg:

  • Choose a sea creature that will be affected by ocean acidification.
  • State why that creature is affected.
  • Identify what might happen to other creatures, either who eat this organism or who are eaten by it.
  • Use the information on carbonic acid in this worksheet to help you include the chemistry behind your points.

The references below contain a wealth of information, in an accessible form for learners and you may wish to give these, either as a starting point or for sole use in this piece of work.

Link carbon-neutral alternatives to your lessons on ocean acidification and enhance your teaching in this topic area with the articles in this series on Goals 7 (sustainable energy) and 8 (biofuels).

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What is ocean acidification? Find out how research at Plymouth is tackling this global carbon dioxide problem (text & video)

Explore the science behind falling ocean pH and the impact this has on marine ecosystem balance

Ocean acidification occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed rapidly into the ocean.

It reacts with water molecules (H2O) to form carbonic acid (H2CO3). This compound then breaks down into a hydrogen ion (H+) and bicarbonate (HCO3). These hydrogen ions decrease seawater pH.

In chemical terms, ocean acidfication is described like this:

CO2 + H2O → (H+) + (HCO3)

The rising CO2 problem

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the early 1800s, the rise of fossil fuel-powered machinery has been the catalyst for the emission of billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide levels have now risen by 30 per cent since the Industrial Revolution.

Scientists now know that about a quarter of carbon dioxide emissions have been absorbed by the oceans.

Monitoring shows that burning fossil fuels has caused unprecedented changes to ocean chemistry due to ocean uptake of millions of tonnes of CO2 each year.

Falling pH

Surface ocean waters are alkaline; on average pH 8.1. But because a quarter of human CO2 emissions are taken up by surface seawater this could drop to pH 7.8 by the end of the century, lower than at any time in human history.

The change in ocean acidity will not make it more dangerous for us to swim or surf in.

Seas are not actually going to be acidic – they will still be more alkaline than tap water.

Ocean acidification is happening rapidly worldwide. We have shown that this has knock-on effects that degrade marine ecosystems and impact fishing industries and food supplies. Plans are in place to ensure that University of Plymouth research is strategically aligned to inform the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) and embed solutions that slow ocean degradation and build recovery of our coastal resources.

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Tie ocean acidification into your chemistry topics

Link UN sustainable development goal 14 to your teaching of dissolved ions, acids and the pH scale

A digital illustration of a swimming turtle with a 14 on its shell
Help your students see the impact that excess carbon dioxide has on the world’s oceans. Source: © hitandrun/Debut Art

Students at 14–16 will be familiar with the composition of the atmosphere and that carbon dioxide is one of the most significant greenhouse gases. The chemistry of the atmosphere and the impact of human activity on climate change is a key area of the 14–16 curriculum.

This article is part of the Sustainability in chemistry series, developed to help you integrate the UN’s sustainable development goals into your teaching of chemistry. It supports Goal 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

The oceans play a vital role in atmospheric chemistry by ‘mopping up’ some of the excess carbon dioxide we produce. They cover 70% of the Earth’s surface and have absorbed about a third of the carbon dioxide emitted since the industrial revolution. This links with Goal 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

Put it in context

Goal 14 is a good chance to introduce an important context when teaching about the atmosphere and climate change, because people tend to focus on the air around us. They’ll consider emissions from cars and factories and understand the importance of trees in the rainforest, but often ignore interactions between the atmosphere and oceans.

Student worksheet, for age range 14–16

Use this worksheet to explore and develop understanding of the pH scale and apply it in the context of ocean acidification. Extension questions provide more challenge and delve into other aspects of chemistry linked to ocean acidification, leading to a research task on the consequences for marine organisms.

Download the student worksheet as MS Word or pdf and the teacher notes (including answers) as MS Word or pdf.

Continue reading ‘Tie ocean acidification into your chemistry topics’

Visualizing ocean acidification: new online resource (UNESCO)

New online features were launched to bring together the latest ocean acidification infographics, publications, background information, presentations and news for researchers, policymakers and the public.

This website was created to raise awareness, present the phenomenon introduce the challenged related to Ocean Acidification by several pioneering institutions that are working together to increase the knowledge-base and facilitate international cooperation in this field. The website was developed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) and the Ocean Acidification International Coordination Center (OA-ICC) operated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)’s Environmental Laboratories in Monaco.

UNESCO, 23 July 2021. Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

What you need to know about ocean acidification

Carbon pollution isn’t just warming the climate it’s also making our oceans more acidic. NRDC scientist Lisa Suatoni explains why we must pay attention.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 13 August 2015. Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

Ocean acidification: Smithsonian Institution

Ocean acidification is sometimes called climate change’s equally evil twin, and for good reason: it’s a significant and harmful consequence of excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that we don’t see or feel because its effects are happening underwater. At least one-quarter of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released by burning coal, oil and gas doesn’t stay in the air, but instead dissolves into the ocean. Since the beginning of the industrial era, the ocean has absorbed some 525 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, presently around 22 million tons per day.

Smithsonian Institution, 01 April 2018. Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA)

The £12M, 5 year UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA) is the UK’s response and is jointly funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The programme will take advantage of international collaboration opportunities, primarily with the German ocean acidification programme (BIOACID), the European research programme (EPOCA), the Mediterranean programme (MedSeA) and potentially with the emerging US ocean acidification research programme.

UK Ocean Acidification Research Programme (UKOA), 31 December 2016. Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

Facts on ocean acidification

Never before have so many scientists conducted research on what impacts the declining pH value of seawater has on animals and plants in the ocean. Please find a summary of their major research results from the past years here.

Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI). Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

Northwest ocean acidification

Oceans—and their salt-water extensions, like Puget Sound—play an enormous role in our region’s culture and prosperity. Marine life, from oysters to king crab, have supported Northwest communities for generations. But years of addiction to fossil fuels have put them at risk. This series explores the local costs of ocean acidification, the process by which water absorbs too much carbon pollution, becoming more corrosive. These changes in our water’s basic chemistry place our complex web of marine life in jeopardy.

Sightline Institute, 2011-2012. Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

Oceanography: peer-reviewed articles

Oceanography is the official magazine of the Oceanography Society. It contains peer-reviewed articles that chronicle all aspects of ocean science and its applications .

Oceanography. Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

What is ocean acidification?

Ocean acidification is a result of chemical reactions that take place when the global ocean absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Earth’s atmosphere.

University of Otago. Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

Acid attack

About a third of the carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by human activities has already been absorbed by the ocean since the beginning of the industrial revolution. This contributes to attenuate the effects of global warming. Without this process, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would have been much greater than that observed today. The effects on the climate would be multiplied.

Part of atmospheric CO2 dissolves at the surface of the ocean. Once in the water, it can subsequently be found in different forms, including carbonic acid. This chemical reaction is the cause of the changes in chemical equilibrium of sea water. The result is, firstly, an increase in hydrogen ions, causing acidification and, secondly, a decrease in carbonate ions. The latter are essential elements for the construction of skeletons and other calcareous structures in marine plants and animals.

“Ocean acidification” is defined by a decrease in pH, which is the unit of measurement of the acidity of a liquid. Acidification has increased by 26% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (1800). However, certain prediction models expect a 150% increase in acidity by 2100. The current rate of ocean acidification is ten times faster than it ever was at any other period during the preceding 55 million years.

Ocean & Climate Platform (OCP). Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

Ocean acidification

The ocean absorbs a significant portion of our carbon dioxide emissions, which is changing the chemistry of the ocean at an unprecedented rate. About one third of all emissions in the past 200 years have been absorbed by the ocean, causing an average pH decrease of ocean surface waters by about 0.1 unit – from 8.2 to 8.1. This change has already caused short-term, local impacts on ocean flora and fauna. The ultimate, long-term consequences of an increasingly acidic ocean may be unknown, but the potential risks are high. Ocean acidification is a growing problem as anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions continue to change the atmosphere and climate. It is estimated that by the end of the century, there will be an additional drop of 0.2–0.3 units.

On our Ocean Acidification Initiative page you can learn about the work we are doing to research and understand OA in order to mitigate its effects. Here we have compiled some of the best resources on this topic.

The Ocean Foundation. Resource.

Resource type: website

Resource format: webpage

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