We love Exploration! Click on one of the marine topics below to learn more.

This page contains additional web resources to encourage independent research. Refer to the grade notebooks to find videos for specific exercises. 

Inter-Tidal Ecosystems

All About Intertidal Zones (4:26)The tides are generated by the gravitational forces between the Moon, the Sun and Earth...

Farming the Tidelands

Intertidal Biome - (7 minutes, Save Our Seas Foundation)What causes tides, intertidal zones, adaptations to intertidal zones.

Shellfish

NOAA Fisheries: The Olympia oyster is the only oyster species native to the PNW. Learn more about ecology and habitat and population restoration. 3rd grade +

Drayton Harbor Barge Field Trip (1:24) GSSC students learn how oysters are farmed

Shellfish Filtering Water (15 seconds)This video shows two four liter aquariums side by side. 

  Learn about growing oysters at the Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm (14 minutes).  Biology, history, and pollution prevention. B y Julie Hirsch of Hirsch Consulting Services.

Learn about growing oysters at the Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm (14 minutes). Biology, history, and pollution prevention. By Julie Hirsch of Hirsch Consulting Services.

Penn Cove Shellfish (4:53) Mussel farming on Whidbey Island. Watch the process from seed to fork.

  BC Global news story about Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm (3 minute video) . This video is from a news story about Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm.

BC Global news story about Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm (3 minute video). This video is from a news story about Drayton Harbor Community Oyster Farm.

 Did you know that you can count the number of rings on clams to find out their age, much like tree rings? Learn more about  Clams & their relatives  on  A Snail's Odyssey

Did you know that you can count the number of rings on clams to find out their age, much like tree rings? Learn more about Clams & their relatives on A Snail's Odyssey

  Lummi Island Oyster Garden  (11:55 minutes) Pre-field trip video for Beach Elementary. Exclusive interview with Lummi Island Oyster Garden managers as they explain the process of maintaining their oyster garden

Lummi Island Oyster Garden (11:55 minutes) Pre-field trip video for Beach Elementary. Exclusive interview with Lummi Island Oyster Garden managers as they explain the process of maintaining their oyster garden

 World's oldest animal? Read up on the calamity of  Ming the clam .  5th grade +

World's oldest animal? Read up on the calamity of Ming the clam. 5th grade +

  Olympia Oysters , our native Washington species, provide important habitat and water quality services. Efforts are being made in Puget Sound to restore these populations.

Olympia Oysters, our native Washington species, provide important habitat and water quality services. Efforts are being made in Puget Sound to restore these populations.

  5th Grade  Powerpoint from Taylor Shellfish Farms.

5th Grade Powerpoint from Taylor Shellfish Farms.

Ocean Acidification

What is Ocean Acidification (OA)?

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Roughly 30% of the CO2 released into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean. The CO2 being absorbed by water triggers a series of chemical reactions which results in an increase of hydrogen ions. This increases the water's acidity and causes carbonate ions to be relatively less abundant. It is estimated that by the end of the century the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150% more acidic. This would result in a pH that the oceans haven't seen in more than 20 million years.

Why do we care?

Click here for an interactive video about OA and building shells.

Carbonate ions are a key building block of seashells and coral skeletons. A decrease in carbonate ions makes building shells and other calcium carbonate structures difficult for calcifying organisms such as oysters, clams, sea urchins, corals, and calcareous plankton.

Local Data and Research

The Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) is a great database for oceanic data sets. Check out their information on ocean acidification in the Pacific northwest. Their explorer application is a great resource for looking at multiple real-time oceanic datasets, which includes local stations in Bellingham and Cherry Point. 

Here is a power point about local research by Brooke Love (Shannon Point Marine Center) on OA and eelgrass. 

Teacher Resources

Additional Links

Videos for Students

"The Other CO2 Problem.  *For 3rd Grade Notebook activity. 

Ocean Acidification: Hermie the Hermit Crab (1:36 minute) A short animation from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Association (GRMPA). Hermie the Hermit Crab has trouble finding a shell to live in with ocean acidification. 3rd grade+

Ocean Acidification: Acidifying water takes toll on Northwest Shellfish (6 minute video). Read through the article on how ocean acidification has affected the PNW, listen to the news story, and view the video to learn more about local impacts.

Alliance for Climate Education (3:01) Animation explains ocean acidification chemistry. 3rd grade+

  Carbon Dioxide, Shell Building & Ocean Acidification  - A pictorial slide show describing OA chemistry from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Oceanus Magazine.

Carbon Dioxide, Shell Building & Ocean Acidification - A pictorial slide show describing OA chemistry from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Oceanus Magazine.

Ocean Acidification (1:50 minutes) is a short video that explains ocean chemistry and how ocean acidification can affect ocean life.

Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification ((21:34)This groundbreaking NRDC documentary explores the startling phenomenon of ocean acidification. The film, featuring Sigourney Weaver, originally aired on Discovery Planet Green.

  Sea Change: the Ocean's Perilous Turn (9 minutes ) Explore several short documetaries from PBS and Seattle Times looking at impacts of ocean acidification on shellfish farms and crab fisheries. See how scientists are looking for solutions from unique circumstances around the world.

Sea Change: the Ocean's Perilous Turn (9 minutes) Explore several short documetaries from PBS and Seattle Times looking at impacts of ocean acidification on shellfish farms and crab fisheries. See how scientists are looking for solutions from unique circumstances around the world.

  Scientists try to regrow coral reefs in Florida - PBS News Hour 2/3/2015  (5:44 minutes) a team of scuba-diving scientists has developed a groundbreaking method for speeding up coral growth in hopes of stemming the underwater crisis.

Scientists try to regrow coral reefs in Florida - PBS News Hour 2/3/2015 (5:44 minutes) a team of scuba-diving scientists has developed a groundbreaking method for speeding up coral growth in hopes of stemming the underwater crisis.

 

 

Sustainable Seafood

Big Picture: Why do we care?

Bycatch

Some current seafood harvesting methods accidentally catch animals like sea turtles or damage habitats like coral reefs.

Overharvesting

Current demand for seafood has caused fish to be harvested at a faster rate than the population’s reproduction can keep up with. This has caused many fish populations to decrease over time.

Bottom line: we have to harvest seafood sustainably in order to have tasty seafood for generations to come.

Farmed Fish

One of the key concerns with farmed fish is pollution. Net pens often contain densities of fish that are much higher than would occur naturally. Since they are in nets the fish require food inputs, and carnivorous fish like salmon require two pounds of wild fish as feed to grow one pound of salmon. Excess food, fish waste, as well as antibiotics and other chemicals being used flow through the cages into the surrounding ecosystem. This can cause algal blooms and other issues from the reduced water quality.  One benefit of farmed fishing is that it can relieve pressure off of overharvested wild fish populations.

Farmed Shellfish

While farmed fishing may get a bad reputation for its ecological impact, farmed shellfish are a very different story. It has been estimated that 80% of the world’s wild oyster beds have been wiped out and now 95% of the world’s oyster consumption is being supplied by farmed oysters. Since the vast majority of oyster consumption is farmed, the sustainability of this industry is something worth thinking about.

One great thing about oysters is that they are filter-feeders. An oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day, eating tiny particles, plankton, and organic matter found in the water column. Unlike fish which require food inputs and have the resulting waste which can pollute the environment, oysters can actually improve the water quality. This results in a sustainable food source, especially if you can buy locally to reduce your carbon footprint!

Social Justice

In recent years many human right issues have come to light from the seafood industry. While this is not included in most scientific determinations of sustainability, it is important to consider social justice issues when looking at the overall function of a fishery. 

The Seafood Slavery Risk Tool produces a rating indicating the likelihood that human trafficking, forced labor and hazardous child labor are occurring on fishing boats in a specific fishery. The tool incorporates information from a variety of accurate, credible reports by authoritative institutions (U.S. government reports, EU and UN reports) and civil society organizations (universities, NGOs and media outlets) that are available in the public domain. 

How to be a responsible consumer

  • Look for sustainability certifications when shopping

  Garden of the Salish Sea presentation (Powerpoint)  Learn more about the importance of shellfish and pollution prevention. Intended for classroom discussion. Takes interdisciplinary approach relating biology, archaeology, paleontology, economy and ecosystem services.

Garden of the Salish Sea presentation (Powerpoint) Learn more about the importance of shellfish and pollution prevention. Intended for classroom discussion. Takes interdisciplinary approach relating biology, archaeology, paleontology, economy and ecosystem services.

  Giant Clam Spawning  (00:36) See giant clams in action broadcast spawning.

Giant Clam Spawning (00:36) See giant clams in action broadcast spawning.

How Pearls Are Formed (1:45 minute). Ever wonder how pearls are formed? Watch this video for a simple explanation. 

  Limpet Teeth Set New Strength Record  What's strong than rock, stronger than spider's web? Read up and listen to the BBC special on the amazing strength of limpet teeth (aka "radula").

Limpet Teeth Set New Strength Record What's strong than rock, stronger than spider's web? Read up and listen to the BBC special on the amazing strength of limpet teeth (aka "radula").

When people think of sea stars, they don't typically think of voracious predators scouring the seabed, leaving carnage and fear in their wake, but this may simply be a matter of perspective. To the scallop or clam, this sea star is pure nightmare.
  Remarkable Lives of Limpets  (3:38) Learn more from the experts about the incredible life of these single-shelled organisms that inhabit the intertidal zone.

Remarkable Lives of Limpets (3:38) Learn more from the experts about the incredible life of these single-shelled organisms that inhabit the intertidal zone.

The Shape of Life: Mollusc Explore many videos on phylum Mollusca, any soft-bodied invertebrate of the phylum Mollusca, usually wholly or partly enclosed in a calcium carbonate shell secreted by a soft mantle covering the body, and often possessing a single foot and a radula.