This lesson guides a student inquiry into properties of the ocean's carbonate buffer system, and how changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels may affect ocean pH and biological organisms that depend on calcification.
This NOAA video discusses how the ocean absorbs the increased amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, thereby changing the pH and buffering action of the ocean. These changes in pH are impacting calcifying organisms, such as corals and shellfish, and related food chains and ecosystems.
This series of five activities about ocean acidification incorporates real data from NOAA. The activities are organized as a pathway, with five levels increasing in sophistication, and different data-based inquiry activities. Note that this is a "beta" version - revisions possible.
In this activity, students research various topics about ocean health, e.g. overfishing, habitat destruction, invasive species, climate change, pollution, and ocean acidification. An optional extension activity has them creating an aquatic biosphere in a bottle experiment in which they can manipulate variables.
This web-based activity tackles the broad reasons for undertaking ocean exploration - studying the interconnected issues of climate change, ocean health, energy and human health. Students examine the types of technology ocean scientists use to collect important data.
This narrated slide show gives a brief overview of coral biology and how coral reefs are in danger from pollution, ocean temperature change, ocean acidification, and climate change. In addition, scientists discuss how taking cores from corals yields information on past changes in ocean temperature.
This video addresses acidification of the ocean and the ecological and economic implications of the resulting pH change on marine life. It includes information about how ocean acidification resulting from increased absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere is affecting ocean species such as sea urchins and oysters. Scientists from the University of California at Santa Barbara discuss their experiments with sea creatures in acidic sea water. There is an associated lesson plan and classroom activity that has students test the effects of CO2 on water pH.
This static image from NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Carbon Program offers a visually compelling and scientifically sound image of the sea water carbonate chemistry process that leads to ocean acidification and impedes calcification.