Posts Tagged 'education'

Impact of ocean acidification on shelled organisms: supporting integration of chemistry and biology knowledge through multidisciplinary activities

Students often experience difficulty in connecting knowledge from different college courses to solve complex problems such as ocean acidification, a pressing concern within the ongoing climate crisis. Here, we introduce a multidisciplinary activity in which students use their chemistry knowledge of change and stability in chemical systems through Le Chatelier’s principle and equilibrium of coupled reactions to explain the biological phenomenon of how changes in CO2 concentrations can impact shelled organisms and ecosystems more broadly in the ocean. In this activity, we build on prior literature and emphasize Three-Dimensional Learning (3DL) to support students in developing a deeper understanding of this complex problem. This Ocean Acidification activity asks students to explain (1) the relationship between CO2 concentration and ocean pH and (2) how and why changes in ocean pH could weaken shelled organisms. Among 136 students in a second-semester general chemistry course at a large institution, 93% were able to correctly predict the relationship between CO2 and pH (chemistry-biology connection). Additionally, 43% of the students were able to then further apply this knowledge correctly to explain an unfamiliar situation in which the decreased pH could lead to less available carbonate ion for the shells (biological phenomenon). This result highlights that while some students were able to correctly explain the biological phenomenon and make meaningful connections, others would require additional in-class scaffolding and student-instructor interaction to be able to integrate their knowledge to explain this unfamiliar complex biological phenomenon. Implications for teaching and future implementations are also discussed.

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Trust in science and scientists among secondary school students in two out-of-school learning activities

Research on science outreach activities is often located in the interface between science communication and science education. The transferability of aims and objectives of one research field to the other offers great potential. The widely recognized aim of ‘trust in science’ in science communication is still less discussed in science education. However, when teaching emotive scientific topics such as climate change, vaccines or genetic engineering, students’ trust in science is of great importance. This paper presents a study of two interventions (NPartI = 443; NPartII = 333), to (1) assess the level of trust in science among secondary school students, and (2) to investigate the impact of outreach activities on the development of trust in science. Results showed that the mean level of trust in science among secondary school students is similar to the level among university students. We found a trust-enhancing effect of the interventions exclusively for students with a low prior level of trust (low-trustors). Furthermore, results indicated that high levels of trust in science can support learning in science outreach activities. These findings are particularly important when considering that increasing students’ level of trust in science appears to be especially important for low-trustors in order to prevent negative social tendencies.

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Two comparative studies of computer simulations and experiments as learning tools in school and out-of-school education

Interactive computer simulations and hands-on experiments are important teaching methods in modern science education. Especially for the communication of complex current topics with social relevance (socioscientific issues), suitable methods in science education are of great importance. However, previous studies could not sufficiently clarify the educational advantages and disadvantages of both methods and often lack adequate comparability. This paper presents two studies of direct comparisons of hands-on experiments and interactive computer simulations as learning tools in science education for secondary school students in two different learning locations (Study I: school; Study II: student laboratory). Using a simple experimental research design with type of learning location as between-subjects factor (NStudy I = 443, NStudy II = 367), these studies compare working on computer simulations versus experiments in terms of knowledge achievement, development of situational interest and cognitive load. Independent of the learning location, the results showed higher learning success for students working on computer simulations than while working on experiments, despite higher cognitive load. However, working on experiments promoted situational interest more than computer simulations (especially the epistemic and value-related component). We stated that simulations might be particularly suitable for teaching complex topics. The findings reviewed in this paper moreover imply that working with one method may complement and supplement the weaknesses of the other. We conclude that that the most effective way to communicate complex current research topics might be a combination of both methods. These conclusions derive a contribution to successful modern science education in school and out-of-school learning contexts.

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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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Predictive model for gross community production rate of coral reefs using ensemble learning methodologies

Coral reefs play a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of the marine ecosystem. Various marine organisms depend on coral reefs for their existence and their natural processes. Coral reefs provide the necessary habitat for reproduction and growth for various exotic species of the marine ecosystem. In this article, we discuss the most important parameters which influence the lifecycle of coral and coral reefs such as ocean acidification, deoxygenation and other physical parameters such as flow rate and surface area. Ocean acidification depends on the amount of dissolved Carbon dioxide (CO2). This is due to the release of H+ ions upon the reaction of the dissolved CO2 gases with the calcium carbonate compounds in the ocean. Deoxygenation is another problem that leads to hypoxia which is characterized by a lesser amount of dissolved oxygen in water than the required amount for the existence of marine organisms. In this article, we highlight the importance of physical parameters such as flow rate which influence gas exchange, heat dissipation, bleaching sensitivity, nutrient supply, feeding, waste and sediment removal, growth and reproduction. In this paper, we also bring out these important parameters and propose an ensemble machine learning-based model for analyzing these parameters and provide better rates that can help us to understand and suitably improve the ocean composition which in turn can eminently improve the sustainability of the marine ecosystem, mainly the coral reefs

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Consider the following: a pilot study of the effects of an educational television program on viewer perceptions of anthropogenic climate change and ocean acidification

Climate change portends significant harms to humans and biodiversity but public knowledge of relevant scientific information remains limited. As societal changes and investment are essential to addressing anthropogenic climate change, efforts to better promote both civic science literacy and public awareness of climate change impacts are urgently required. Popular scientific television programming provides one avenue for broad climate change communication efforts.

Our pilot study seeks to evaluate the effects viewing a popular scientific television program, “Bill Nye Saves the World: The Earth is a hot mess” on both fact recall and personal perceptions. We surveyed undergraduate students enrolled in non-majors courses at two institutions of higher education, one large selective private university, and one community college with open enrollment before and after viewing this program. The survey contained both open-response questions and Likert-like ordinal responses intended to evaluate both fact recall and beliefs related to climate change.

After viewing the program, student awareness of climate change impacts was improved, especially for topics emphasized by the program such as sea level rise. Student awareness of ocean acidification was extremely low prior to viewing the program, and improved dramatically, with most respondents aware that ocean acidification is already impacting marine life after viewing. Our pilot study suggests that scientific television programs may successfully promote awareness of climate change impacts and increase perceived personal relevance of climate change, but additional data from a larger and demographically broad population is required to test whether this result is more broadly applicable.

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Understanding and advancing natural resource management in the context of changing ocean conditions

Changing ocean conditions, such as ocean acidification, hypoxia, and ocean warming, are impacting marine ecosystems and posing a variety of immediate and future challenges for natural resource managers and affiliated industries. In order to successfully facilitate adaptation and mitigation responses to changing ocean conditions, research efforts and synthesis products should be developed in collaboration with resource managers and decision makers. Using interviews and surveys, we sought to advance collaborative science approaches by identifying the most pressing concerns, barriers, and research and monitoring needs of natural resource managers in Washington State, USA, where marine waters are particularly vulnerable to changing ocean conditions. Survey participants indicated that they are most concerned by ocean acidification, followed by water temperature and hypoxia. Our findings reveal a desire to prioritize laboratory and in situ studies to identify survival thresholds of ecologically or commercially important organisms, specifically zooplankton, fish, Dungeness crab, and conditions that promote harmful algal blooms. Scientific literature and in-person workshops and meetings were the preferred way for survey participants to learn about new science and affiliated results. Our findings highlight a need for continued and expanded monitoring and research efforts, the development of interpretive science products for resource managers, and enhanced communication between entities before information on changing ocean conditions can be effectively incorporated into resource management and policy decisions.

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Community science for coastal acidification monitoring and research

Ocean and coastal acidification (OCA) present a unique set of sustainability challenges at the human-ecological interface. Extensive biogeochemical monitoring that can assess local acidification conditions, distinguish multiple drivers of changing carbonate chemistry, and ultimately inform local and regional response strategies is necessary for successful adaptation to OCA. However, the sampling frequency and cost-prohibitive scientific equipment needed to monitor OCA are barriers to implementing the widespread monitoring of dynamic coastal conditions. Here, we demonstrate through a case study that existing community-based water monitoring initiatives can help address these challenges and contribute to OCA science. We document how iterative, sequential outreach, workshop-based training, and coordinated monitoring activities through the Northeast Coastal Acidification Network (a) assessed the capacity of northeastern United States community science programs and (b) engaged community science programs productively with OCA monitoring efforts. Our results (along with the companion manuscript) indicate that community science programs are capable of collecting robust scientific information pertinent to OCA and are positioned to monitor in locations that would critically expand the coverage of current OCA research. Furthermore, engaging community stakeholders in OCA science and outreach enabled a platform for dialogue about OCA among other interrelated environmental concerns and fostered a series of co-benefits relating to public participation in resource and risk management. Activities in support of community science monitoring have an impact not only by increasing local understanding of OCA but also by promoting public education and community participation in potential adaptation measures.

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Sculpture and new technologies in scientific educational outreach: 3D foraminiferal models as a referent of ocean acidification and climate change

The Foraminifera Project is a collaboration between researchers of the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Geological Sciences at the Complutense University (UCM, Madrid, Spain). The work, based on scientific dissemination through art, is framed in the theme “Climate change and Ocean Acidification” as part of the course “Art, Science and Nature” of the Master’s Degree in Research in Art and Creation (Faculty of Fine Arts, UCM). The team used recent sediment samples from Indian Ocean and Red Sea that contained healthy and unhealthy foraminifera specimens to create 3D specimen models. These models were made using traditional sculpture techniques, photogrammetry, and 3D printing to show different states of foraminifera dissolution and corrosion from ocean acidification. The end result of this project resulted in nine interactive pieces which were part of the exhibition “Drift & Migrate” open to the public during the month of November 2019 in the exhibition hall of the Faculty of Fine Arts (UCM). The 3D models of foraminifera were displayed with educational graphics and blind-accesible explanatory signage (Braille) to share the scientific facts of foraminifera and their role in the ocean ecosystem. The main objective of the collaboration is to raise awareness of anthropogenic effects on foraminifera and the marine ecosystems in general and to expand research opportunities between the arts and sciences at the university.

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Guidance in computer-supported collaborative inquiry learning: capturing aspects of affect and teacher support in science classrooms

Technology-enhanced collaborative inquiry learning has gained a firm position in curricula across disciplines and educational settings and has become particularly pervasive in science classrooms. However, understanding of the teacher’s role in this context is limited. This study addresses the real-time shifts in focus and distribution of teachers’ guidance and support of different student groups during in-person computer-supported collaborative inquiry learning in science classrooms. Teachers’ self-perceptions of their guidance and affect were supplemented with students’ self-reported affect. A mixed-methods approach using video analyses and questionnaire data revealed differences between teacher guidance and support associated with teacher perceptions and group outcomes. Groups’ prior science competence was not found to have an effect on teacher guidance and support, rather the teachers guided the groups they perceived as motivated and willing to collaborate. Teacher affect was compounded by student affect, suggesting that consideration of the reciprocal perceptions of teachers and students is necessary in order to understand the teachers’ role in collaborative learning.

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Hands-on exploration of ocean acidification with a living calcifier

This hands-on lab allows students to explore concepts and quantify effects of ocean acidification. Many laboratory activities simplify ocean acidification through computer simulations or dripping acid on nonliving materials (e.g., sea shells) but do not provide adequate opportunities for students to measure, inquire, or see real consequences for living organisms. Thus, we developed this low-cost, easily accessible experiment to imitate ocean acidification on living, calcifying organisms.

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Chapter 21 – Coral reefs: globally predicted climate change impact mitigation, mediated by the marine flora and their ecosystem connectivity, with a case study from Neil Island (the Andamans)

Mangrove–coral habitat is characterized by heterogeneity in the physical environment that allows it to be out of equilibrium with open ocean conditions, resulting in differentiation of local physical, chemical, and biological attributes. This chapter highlights how some mangrove habitats can act as alternate refuges for corals during climate threats, particularly increasing seawater temperature, high levels of solar radiation, and ocean acidification. Coastal ecosystems are interconnected and so any change in one coastal ecosystem will have an impact on other ecosystems. Similarly, recovery and resilience of coastal ecosystems like coral reefs depend on the degree of connectivity and support from the neighboring coastal ecosystems such as seagrass beds. Therefore, healthy seagrass beds are especially vital for the resilience of coral reefs, as they support the coral communities to adapt to climate change impacts. Corals compete with seaweeds for space on the reef. When corals are healthy, the coral–seaweed competition reaches a balance. But, if the corals are not able to do well because of smothering like eutrophication or climate change induced impacts, then seaweeds can take over. Our study results suggest that coral reefs may become increasingly susceptible to seaweed proliferation under ocean acidification. Though the functional links of mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs have been studied, their conservation and management aspects due to connectivity and their importance for humans is yet to be understood. Importance of interconnectivity in biodiversity richness is illustrated by presenting the bioresource availability in the existing heterogeneous coral reef, seagrass, and mangrove habitats of the Neil Island, the Andamans and studies on the interactions among them are essential for conservation and management of such precious ecosystems.

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Chapter 5 – Effect of climate change on marine ecosystems

The impacts of anthropogenic climate change are already discernible throughout the ocean, from the equator to the poles, and from the surface to abyssal depths. Further climate change impacts are inevitable; however, their damage to marine organisms and ecosystems, and the services they provide, can be greatly reduced if greenhouse gas emissions are rapidly reduced. This review covers six main climate-related drivers (warming, acidification, deoxygenation, sea level rise and storm events, sea ice loss, stratification, and nutrient supply) and their impacts on 13 marine ecosystems, broadly defined. Seven of these are near-shore (coral reefs, kelp ecosystems, seagrass meadows, rocky and sandy intertidal, saltmarshes, estuaries, and mangroves) and six are in shelf seas and the open ocean (shelf sea benthos, upper ocean plankton, fish and fisheries, cold water corals, ice-influenced ecosystems, and the deep seafloor). Three cross-cutting issues are emphasized: that climate change impacts are not single factors, but interact together and with other human pressures in a multistressor context; that there are fast and slow climate processes in the ocean, with overall temporal uncertainties relating to future societal behavior; and that there can be high spatial heterogeneity in marine ecosystem impacts and vulnerabilities.

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Ease into climate change instruction through ocean acidification

Although climate change garners the bulk of headlines, ocean acidification is an equally important issue that also results from our increasing consumption of fossil fuels. As atmospheric CO2 dissolves into the ocean, the ocean’s pH decreases, making it increasingly difficult for organisms that build calcium carbonate skeletons to grow and thrive. Given that these marine calcifiers – such as corals, snails, shellfish, crustaceans, and plankton – often form the base of oceanic food webs and are habitat and food resources for larger oceanic plants and animals (including humans), ocean acidification poses a serious threat. In this article, we present a series of investigations that provide evidence that increases in anthropogenic sources of CO2 contribute to the acidification of the ocean, and that an increasingly acidic ocean can negatively impact marine calcifiers.

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Global ocean governance and ocean acidification

Among many other impacts, the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), primarily induced by increased rates of fossil fuel combustion, are changing the ocean’s chemistry (Guidetti and Danavaro 2018). The resulting increased uptake of more CO2 by the ocean is making the ocean more acidic leading to deleterious harm to marine ecosystems. This ocean acidification problem needs to be seen as an increased pressure on marine living resources, which are already under intense physicochemical and biological stress due to increased ocean warming (IPCC 2013), changes in their ecosystems (Milazzo et al. 2019), and the introduction of alien, competing species (Essl et al. 2020). For example, one of the well-known effects of ocean acidification is the lowering of calcium carbonate saturation states, which negatively impacts shell-forming marine organisms that range widely from plankton to benthic molluscs, echinoderms, and corals. The potential for marine organisms to adapt to…

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Crabby’s Reef – using games to bring people closer to the issue of ocean acidification

Ocean acidification is often referred to as climate change’s hidden evil twin. As the world’s oceans partly absorb the carbon dioxide that humans are pumping into the planet’s atmosphere, the oceans’ pH decreases, making the water more acidic. This comes with a range of negative consequences, one of them being the recently uncovered impairment of the sense of smell of marine animals like fishes and crabs.

Awareness of ocean acidification, including its impacts on marine life, however, is low amongst the public. It is something that is viewed as remote to peoples’ lives, happening a long distance away and not for a long time into the future. It is important we take action now as a society to curb climate change and reduce the potential impacts of ocean acidification. Raising awareness and helping to make an emotional connection to the issue is a first step on this journey.

In Crabby’s Reef we use the power of gaming to enable players to experience the impact of this invisible and abstract process of ocean acidification. Inspired by classic arcade games, it puts players into the metaphorical shoes of Crabby, the crab. They navigate daily life on the ocean floor, guiding Crabby through the maze-like reef, seeking food and avoiding predatory octopuses who would make Crabby dinner. With each new level, you are transported to a more acidic future, your senses dampened by blurring the screen, reflecting Crabby’s loss of ability to smell the food.

With life getting harder, we ask how long can you survive?

Play the game here –

Available online: 19–30 April 2021

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Southern ocean acidification and the Antarctic treaty system

This chapter explores how states party to Antarctic Treaty System instruments have addressed ocean acidification in the Southern Ocean. While there are no obligations explicitly applicable to ocean acidification, states should address the threat as part of their obligations to comprehensively protect Antarctica and its dependent and associated ecosystems, and to apply an ecosystem approach to managing Southern Ocean fisheries. The Chapter provides a critical overview of ATS initiatives to date to develop a strategic policy approach to climate change, noting the significant resistance from states to developing substantive obligations within the ATS in respect of activities taking place outside of the Antarctic Treaty area. It concludes by arguing that Article 2 of the 1991 Environmental Protocol can be interpreted to impose a due diligence obligations on parties to take action to address the causes of ocean acidification in respect of activities outside of the Antarctic Treaty area.

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Status and trends of Arctic Ocean environmental change and its impacts on marine biogeochemistry: findings from the ArCS project

Ocean observation research theme under ArCS project, “Theme 4: Observational research on Arctic Ocean environmental changes”, aimed to elucidate the status and trends of ongoing Arctic Ocean environmental changes and to evaluate their impacts on Arctic marine ecosystem and the global climate system. For these purposes, we conducted field observations, mooring observations, laboratory experiments, numerical modeling, and international collaborative research focusing on the Pacific Arctic Region (PAR) and from Pan-Arctic point of views. As a result, we have published several scientific studies on environmental changes and their impact on the climate and ecosystem. In this manuscript, we compiled these results with some concluding remarks. We found physical environmental changes of water cycle, sea-ice and ocean conditions, heat transport, and ocean mixing in the Arctic Ocean and surrounding areas. We also examined chemical properties, carbon, cycle, and ocean acidification in the Arctic Ocean. In addition, new findings regarding impacts of sea-ice reduction to primary productivities were published. For public outreach of Arctic research, we were able to develop an educational tool (a board game named “The Arctic”) in collaboration with Themes 6 and 7.

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Impact of an inquiry-based science activity about climate change on development of primary students’ investigation skills and conceptual knowledge

Climate change is one of the major challenges facing society today and more effective education is needed on this topic. This study analysed the effects of an inquiry-based science activity about climate change effects in ocean ecosystems, done in a research laboratory and in the classroom, on primary students’ knowledge, investigation skills and satisfaction. Data were collected through the application of pretests and posttests, direct observation, questionnaires, interviews and document analysis. Results revealed an increase in students’ scientific knowledge and application to new situations. Regarding investigation skills, all students were able to make predictions, and to easily observe and register data. However, experimental planning and conclusions were more difficult for them. Students and teachers emphasised their satisfaction with the outdoor activity, teamwork and the subject. The present study revealed a positive
effect of the participation in the inquiry-based activity, embedded on a socio-scientific issue, in students’ conceptual knowledge and in the development of investigation skills.

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Participatory research on using virtual reality to teach ocean acidification: a study in the marine education community

Ocean Acidification (OA) is an emerging environmental issue that is still largely unknown to the public and in its infancy in terms of educational strategies. OA teaching material should address the specific challenges that educators face while building learners’ understanding of OA. The objective of this study is two-fold. First, we identified the barriers to teaching OA as experienced by formal and informal marine educators. Second, we provided educators an opportunity to experience virtual reality and discuss how it could serve as a tool for face-to-face and distance learning to address the identified challenges. The findings shed light on four overarching themes of challenges to teaching OA: lack of science literacy, unprepared education field, complex and invisible nature of OA and lack of personal connection with the ocean. Marine educators consider empowerment, perspective-taking and visualization as the three principal avenues through which virtual reality may contribute to mitigating the challenges to teaching OA.

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