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An Investigation into Ocean Acidification


Author(s)

Diara D. Spain
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Dominican University of California
diara.spain@dominican.edu
Vanessa M. Mendoza
Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Dominican University of California

Abstract

This directed case study covers fundamental information about ocean acidification using relevant examples from general science news articles as well as data excerpted from scientific research. It was developed for general environmental science classes and beginning science majors in college; however, it could also be used in high school classes. The case is divided into three sections, each with a different focus. Part I introduces the topic of ocean acidification and provides an overview of ocean chemistry and the pH scale. Part II presents carbon dioxide emissions and pH data for students to analyze. The data include historical estimations since the Industrial Revolution as well as recent emission projections from the past few decades. Part III examines the effects of ocean acidification on the shell of a marine snail, the sea butterfly (Limacina helicina). The case concludes with a broader consideration of the potential biological implications for other marine organisms and the environment in general.


Objectives

  • Understand essential concepts of ocean chemistry and ocean acidification.
  • Describe the relationship between anthropogenic emissions and ocean acidification.
  • Make predictions and draw conclusions based on data.
  • Discuss the potential direct and indirect negative effects ocean acidification has on marine animals.

Keywords

Ocean acidification; OA; carbon dioxide; climate change; pteropods; environmental science; marine science; pH; emissions; marine snail; Limacina helicina; sea butterfly; shell damage;

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF, PowerPoint

Type / Methods

N/A, Directed, Discussion

Language

English

Subject Headings

Climatology / Meteorology  |   Environmental Science  |   Marine Science / Oceanography  |   Biology (General)  |  


Date Posted

11/16/2020

Teaching Notes

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Supplemental Materials

The PowerPoint presentation below is designed for instructor use and restricted to subscribers.

  ocean_acid_sup.pptx (~2.5 MB)

Answer Key

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