Ocean Acidification; Investigating Data


This activity was written with a middle school audience in mind, and provides an introduction to ocean acidification using a video from the California Academy of Sciences. After the introduction, students are guided through a yearlong, seasonal sampling of 1 or more bodies of water in their geographical area (the Pacific Coast of Northwest Oregon is the one used in the lesson).  Next, students use data collected from a buoy off the coast of Washington state to analyze and interpret possible cause and effect of changing patterns in pH levels in the ocean.  Finally, students will create a hypothesis and ask a question regarding ocean acidity levels as a jump-off point for their year long investigation.

Authors: Annie Forman & Erik Fowler; EARTH 2018

Lesson Resources


Assuming teacher has introduced basic concepts of climate change (NASA), ocean acidification and environmental impacts (CA Academy of Sciences) and the pH scale (CU Boulder PhET simulation), students will explore recent and live data from buoys and oceanographic research vessels (scientists doing science) – including calculating mean/median of a data set (reinforcing basic statistics, reading and interpreting data and graphs), making predictions about pH (claim/evidence/reasoning), understanding both natural and anthropogenic factors on oceanic pH (variables in science), and reviewing known impacts to marine ecosystems.  

Lesson Resources


Data repository
Data policy
Deep-Sea Guide
What is happening in Monterey Bay today?
Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System
Chemical data
Ocean float data
Slough data
Mooring ISUS measurements
Southern Ocean Data
Mooring data
M1 Mooring Summary Data
M1 Asimet
M1 download Info
M1 EMeter
Molecular and genomics data
ESP Web Portal
Seafloor mapping
Soundscape Listening Room
Upper ocean data
Spatial Temporal Oceanographic Query System (STOQS) Data
Image gallery
Video library
Creature feature
Deep-sea wallpapers
Previous seminars
David Packard Distinguished Lecturers
Research software
Video Annotation and Reference System
System overview
Data Use Policy
Video Tape User Guide
Video File User Guide
Annotation Glossary
Query Interface
Basic User Guide
Advanced User Guide
Query Glossary
VARS publications
VARS datasets used in publications
Oceanographic Decision Support System
MB-System seafloor mapping software
How to download and install MB-System
MB-System Documentation
MB-System Announcements
MB-System Announcements (Archive)
MB-System FAQ
MB-System Discussion Lists
MB-System YouTube Tutorials
Matlab scripts: Linear regressions
Introduction to Model I and Model II linear regressions
A brief history of Model II regression analysis
Index of downloadable files
Summary of modifications
Regression rules of thumb
Results for Model I and Model II regressions
Graphs of the Model I and Model II regressions
Which regression: Model I or Model II?
Matlab scripts: Oceanographic calculations
Matlab scripts: Sound velocity
Visual Basic for Excel: Oceanographic calculations
Educational resources
Navigating STEM careers
MBARI Summer Internship Program
2017 Summer Interns Blog
Education and Research: Testing Hypotheses (EARTH)
EARTH workshops
2016—New Brunswick, NJ
2015—Newport, Oregon
2016 Satellite workshop—Pensacola, FL
2016 Satellite workshop—Beaufort, NC
EARTH resources
EARTH lesson plans
Lesson plans—published
Lesson plans—development
Lesson drafts—2015
Lesson drafts—2016 Pensacola
Adopt-A-Float Program
Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) Science Kits
Science at home: Curriculum and resources
Sample archive
SciComm Resources