,

Fishing in the Future

Planning—Fishing in the Future

Summary: Complex changes in ocean conditions are affecting the distribution and availability of some commercial fish species. Fishers and fishery managers use science to adapt to and prepare for the future. In this topic guide, students explore online data tools designed to help fisheries adapt to climate change.

Concepts to teach:

Goals:

  1. Excess carbon dioxide in the environment is resulting in complex changes to the distribution and availability of some commercial fish species
  2. Fishers and fishery managers use science to help guide their practices

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
  • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Examine data to determine trends in the distribution of a marine species
  2. Identify how science can help fisheries adapt to ecosystem changes

Activity Links and Resources:

  • A Big Change—13 min Sea Grant video that addresses how climate change will affect West Coast fisheries practices.
  • Online Data: Use the OceanAdapt webtool to track fish population distribution as the climate changes
  • Readings:
    • R. Press, 2014. NOAA Fisheries article The OceanAdapt Website: Tracking Fish Populations as the Climate Changes. NOAA Fisheries describes how using the OceanAdapt tool will help fishers and fishery managers adapt
    • N. Giles, 2013. Sea Grant Confluence article Whiskey creek shellfish acid tests. This article examines how the effect of ocean acidification on oyster larvae is being studied in a shellfish hatchery
    • Article: Ocean ecosystem indicators of salmon marine survival in the Northern California Current from the NOAA NW Fisheries Science Center—How do temperature, upwelling, and other ocean conditions help fishers and fishery managers forecast salmon returns? Explore resources on this website to learn what current ecosystem indicators can tell us about the near future.

Assessment:

  • Students use the OceanAdapt webtool to prepare a data-supported report on the trends of a commercial fish population. According to the data, has the species changed its distribution?
  • How does the OceanAdapt data can help fishers and fishery managers, and what are the limits of the data?
  • Analyze the NWFSC Forecast Tables. What is the current forecast for salmon returns in the Pacific Northwest, and what indicators were used to make this forecast?
,

Adopt a Wetland

Planning—Adopt a Wetland

Summary: Students adopt a wetland and collect data to help determine the amount of carbon sequestered by the wetland, and engage in water quality monitoring to promote the efficiency of carbon sequestration.

Concepts to teach:

Goals:

  1. Human actions can affect the health of marine wetland ecosystems
  2. Healthy marine wetland ecosystems sequester carbon and help to offset the effects of increased carbon in the atmosphere

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Identify a field site that could benefit from habitat assessment and/or restoration
  2. Engage in data collection and/or restoration efforts
  3. Design a solution for a problem at the field site that is associated with climate change

Activity Links and Resources:

Assessment:

  • How much carbon is stored in your study site? How did you arrive at this estimate?
  • How does the amount of carbon stored in your wetland compare to the amount of carbon stored in a non-wetland area?
  • What is the estimated value of the carbon stored in your study site? How did you come to this estimate, what are the limits on the number, and what information do you need to make a more accurate valuation?
  • What does the water quality tell you about human impacts on the study site?
  • What other benefits and services does your adopted wetland provide?
,

Hypoxia

Impacts—Hypoxia

Summary: How are oxygen levels in the ocean changing as a result of climate change? In the waters off the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., seasonal upwelling brings nutrient-dense, oxygen-poor water to the surface, and the strength and duration of upwelling occasionally forms hypoxic (low oxygen) zones in on the sea floor along the outer and middle portions of the continental shelf. Recently, scientists have observed hypoxia (dissolved oxygen concentrations less then 1.4 ml/L) in shallow waters of the inner continental shelf, where low oxygen conditions have not historically occurred. This hypoxia led to the death of many coastal organisms. In this topic guide, students will read about the conditions that lead to coastal hypoxia in the Pacific Northwest, and use online data to determine current dissolved oxygen levels in coastal areas.

Concepts to teach:

Goals:

  1. Oxygen levels in the ocean are changing due to the effects of global climate change
  2. Because of climate change, upwelled waters in the Pacific Northwest have lower pH levels and lower oxygen levels than waters that have upwelled in previous years
  3. Coastal marine organisms are negatively affected by hypoxia
  4. Scientists use a variety of indicators to describe phenomena, identify patterns and make predictions

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Define coastal hypoxia and the conditions that lead to its occurrence
  2. Describe relationships between global climate change, upwelling and hypoxia events off the Pacific Northwest coast
  3. Describe the effects of hypoxia on marine organisms
  4. Use online data to explore near-time or real-time dissolved oxygen levels off the coast

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Review the Upwelling and Ocean Acidification topic guides
  • Readings:
    • Article: C. Welch, 2015 National Geographic article Oceans are losing oxygen
      • Note the distinction between deep-water “oxygen-minimum zones” driven by temperature, and “hypoxic coastal dead zones” like that which occurs in the Gulf of Mexico and is driven by an influx of nitrogen and other nutrients from land. Which process underlies the low-oxygen events in coastal waters off the Pacific Northwest coast?
    • Article: F. Schubert, 2013 article from The Dalles ChronicleOcean dead zones in Oregon
    • PISCO Hypoxia pages—These pages from the Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) include definitions about hypoxia in the Pacific Northwest, including handouts, videos, research and FAQ
    • NOAA-Northwest Fisheries Science Center pages—See data images that show when and where hypoxic conditions occur in the Pacific Northwest
  • Activity: Use the NANOOS NVS Data Explorer to explore oxygen conditions off the Pacific NW coast right now. Filter for observing stations that measure Dissolved Oxygen (DO).
    • A detailed description of how to use the NVS Data Explorer is included in the Well, Well, Well lesson plan from NANOOS (Gr. 6-12)

Assessment:

  • How does climate change affect oxygen levels in the ocean?
  • What role does upwelling play in coastal hypoxia in the Pacific Northwest?
  • Students compare and contrast the causes of “dead zones” in the Pacific NW to those found in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Using NVS Data Explorer or other products from NANOOS, what can be said about oxygen conditions in the ocean right now?
,

Ocean Acidification

Impacts—Ocean Acidification

Summary: The ocean is becoming more acidic because of carbon dioxide emissions. The change threatens the health marine organisms that depend on available calcium carbonate to make their shells. In this topic guide, students use models and real data to explore the relationship between atmospheric CO2 and ocean pH, and the impacts that pH changes have on marine organisms.

Concepts to teach:

Goals:

  1. Increased levels of atmospheric CO2 leads to a decrease in ocean pH
  2. Ocean acidification leads to decreased amounts of available calcium carbonate that many marine organisms need to make their shells
  3. Scientists use data to create models that forecast future conditions

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Use data to describe the process and driving factor behind ocean acidification
  2. Use online tools to recreate climate change model scenarios and examine effects of increased CO2 on ocean acidity and carbonate saturation levels
  3. Identify expected future impacts of ocean acidification on marine organisms and ecosystems

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Understanding Ocean Acidification from Data in the Classroom—Use NOAA data to learn about ocean acidification.
    • Teacher’s Guide and resources
    • Level 1 Explore NOAA data to understand patterns and relationships that explain variation in ocean pH
    • Levels 2-4 helps students use NOAA data to explore the impacts of ocean acidification
  • The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program has collected excellent OA educational resources for high school learners, including:
    • The Understanding Ocean Acidification Data in the Classroom unit, above
    • The Power of pH: Changing Ocean Chemistry from Monterey Bay Aquarium – Review what pH is and how CO2 released from the burning of fossil fuels increases the acidity of the ocean
    • Ocean Acidification Lab from WHOI and OA Subcommittee, Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program—These classroom activities are designed to help students understand the science behind ocean acidification.
      dioxide released from the burning of fossil fuels increases the acidity of the ocean.
    • Virtual Urchin: Our Acidifying Ocean—With this interactive online laboratory experiment, students discover the effects of acidified sea water on sea urchin larval growth
  • Multimedia Resources about Ocean Acidification

Assessment:

  • The Data in the Classroom resource includes assessment components, including
    • Check for Understanding interactive questions at the end of Levels 1, 2, and 4
    • The Teacher Guide contains detailed questioning strategies, student worksheets and answer keys
    • Level 5 in the Data in the Classroom unit challenges students to come up with their own hypothesis about ocean acidification and then look for NOAA data that will support or reject that hypothesis.
,

Upwelling

Science Concepts—Upwelling

Summary: From the NANOOS Well, Well, Well lesson: “In this activity, students investigate the relationship between winds, surface currents, sea surface temperature and upwelling and downwelling off the coast of Oregon and Washington. Students analyze data to make predictions on today’s upwelling or downwelling conditions.”

Concepts to teach:

Goals:

  1. North winds cause surface coastal waters in Oregon to move offshore and be replaced by cold, salty, nutrient-rich deep waters that flow to the surface.
  2. Wind strength, duration and direction can affect the degree of upwelling that occurs.
  3. Upwelling events can be predicted and identified by analyzing wind, current and temperature conditions.

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Explain the process of upwelling
  2. Use a model to demonstrate processes that affect upwelling
  3. Analyze the relationship between wind, surface currents and sea surface temperature to make predictions on water conditions.

Activity Links and Resources:

Assessment:

  • Is upwelling occurring today? What evidence supports your conclusion?
  • In what season does upwelling typically occur?
  • How does upwelling affect primary productivity in coastal waters?
,

Blue Carbon

Science Concepts—Blue Carbon

Summary: This topic guide begins with a review of photosynthesis and progresses to the role marine wetlands play in carbon storage. Through photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Animals, in contrast, breathe in oxygen, and breathe out carbon dioxide. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been adding more carbon into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels, and this imbalance in the carbon cycle has led to changes in the Earth’s climate. The role that plants naturally play in carbon uptake is becoming increasingly important as humans look for ways to deal with increasing amounts of carbon in the atmosphere. Plants living in the ocean have a tremendous role to play in carbon storage, and salt marshes are particularly good at storing carbon. Understanding the important role marine wetlands play in carbon sequestration can help humans prioritize wetlands protection and restoration efforts.

Concepts to teach:

  • Crosscutting Concepts
    • Energy and Matter
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas
    • LS1.C – Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
    • LS2.B – Cycles of matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
  • Science Practices
    • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Developing and Using Models, Constructing Explanations, Engaging in Argument through Evidence

Goals:

  1. Through photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide from the air
  2. Most of a tree’s mass is made up of carbon
  3. Salt marshes store a lot of carbon because the organic material is slow to decompose

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-LS1-5. Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy.
  • HS-LS1-6. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Articulate an explanation of photosynthesis to describe how plants put on mass
  2. Define Blue Carbon
  3. Describe the role marine wetlands play in storing carbon

Activity Links and Resources:

Assessment:

  • Use Van Helmont’s question as a formative assessment to elicit ideas about how plants put on mass.
  • Redesign Van Helmont’s experiment.
  • Both exercises from the Bringing Wetlands to Market include specific performance tasks that can be assessed
,

Carbon on the move

Science Concepts—Carbon on the move

Summary: Carbon is an important element that comprises part of all living organisms and is found in many nonliving parts of our planet and atmosphere. In this topic guide, students explore the carbon cycle to discover how carbon moves between atmosphere, biosphere and lithosphere. With a clear understanding of the carbon cycle, students are better prepared to understand the mechanisms underlying global climate change.

Concepts to teach:

  • Crosscutting Concepts
    • Energy and Matter
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas
    • LS2.B – Cycles of matter and Energy Transfer in Ecosystems
    • ESS3.C – Human Impacts on Earth Systems
  • Science Practices
    • Developing and using models, Constructing explanations and designing solutions, Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

Goals:

  1. Carbon moves around the planet in various forms and substances
  2. A carbon source, living or non-living, releases CO2 into the atmosphere
  3. A carbon sink absorbs and holds CO2 from the air or water
  4. Human activities are emitting excess carbon into the atmosphere

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-LS2-4. Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Identify objects in their surroundings that contain carbon, as well as an example of a carbon sink and a carbon source.
  2. Describe how carbon moves through the system.
  3. Identify anthropogenic factors that have contributed to an increase in atmospheric carbon in recent decades.

Activity Links and Resources:

Assessment:

  • Students make observations and classifications during their Carbon Walk. They identify whether or not an object contains carbon, and find examples of carbon sinks and carbon sources.
  • Use the Infographic or another source to write a mathematical explanation for changes in the balance of atmospheric carbon.
  • From OCEP teacher Nancy Buchanan: After playing the Carbon Cycle Game, students write a paragraph about their trip through the cycle, including 1) where they went and 2) how they got to each destination. Students create a “map” documenting their journey through the carbon cycle.
  • Carbon Cycle Exploration Assessment Sheet from the Environmental Initiative at Lehigh University, this traditional worksheet solicits short answers to questions about the carbon cycle and Keeling curve.
,

Inland Planning

Planning—Inland Planning

Summary: Connections between inland and ocean ecosystems are embodied by the life cycle and geographic distribution of salmon. These anadromous species depend on inland freshwater streams and rivers for spawning, but they also depend on the ocean for their adult existence. Natural resource managers in the Pacific Northwest have spent a lot of time and resources managing and restoring inland habitat for salmon in order to preserve, recover, and enhance salmon populations. Today’s managers must examine how climate change will affect inland salmon habitats, and identify how to adapt restoration and management practices accordingly.

Concepts to teach:

Goals:

  1. Climate change causes reduced summer stream flow, increased winter peak flow and increased stream temperatures in Pacific Northwest freshwater ecosystems.
  2. These characteristics negatively impact salmon.
  3. To promote resilient salmon ecosystems, managers identify include climate change impacts into habitat restoration actions

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Identify effects of climate change that negatively impact salmon freshwater ecosystems
  2. Identify habitat restoration actions that may address climate change impacts on salmon freshwater ecosystems

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Review the Salmon Studies topic guide in Module One
  • Readings:
    • Restoring salmon in a changing climate—PowerPoint slides from the January 2013 WRIA Climate Change Workshop
    • Salmon Research and Climate Change—from USFWS, describes how ‘in the Pacific Northwest, the effects of climate change will probably alter the timing of stream flows, reduce summer flows, increase stream temperatures, raise sea level, and change shorelines and ocean current patterns. A critical challenge …is to increase our understanding of how climate affects ecosystems that support salmon and to develop long-term strategies for maintaining ecological health.”
    • A. Card, 2014 FishSens magazine article – Salmon shift migration timing to cope with a changing climate
  • See the Citizen Biomonitoring topic guide in Module Two—Explore local water quality and determine to what degree the habitat is suitable for salmon

Assessment:

  • Assign students to prepare a report based on their readings and/or field data to address one or more of the following topics:
    • What climate change effects are likely to impact salmon in freshwater areas? (Ex. reduced summer stream flows, increased peak flows, increased stream temperatures, etc)
    • Describe a habitat restoration action that would improve population resilience (Ex. preserving shade trees in riparian areas, restoring floodplains to increase habitat diversity, etc)
    • What do local water quality data indicate about the suitability of local freshwater salmon habitat?
,

Coastal Decision-Making

Planning—Coastal Decision-Making

Summary: How and why should different perspectives be considered when deciding how to use and protect coastal resources? In the NOAA lesson “I’ll Stay Here If It Kills Me,” students use role-playing to explore the human dimensions of coastal decision-making. In most of the role-playing exercises, each student assumes the role of a person, organism, or process affected by a particular issue and studies the impacts of this issue on human life and human activities from the perspective of that stakeholder. Students examine how obtaining public support (or “buy in”) influences outcomes, and they explore potential barriers to obtaining public support and action.

Concepts to teach:

Goals:

  1. Coastal resources are used and impacted by a variety of stakeholders
  2. Stakeholders do not always agree on what constitutes the “best” use of these resources
  3. It is important to achieve maximum public support (“buy-in”) for actions to protect coastal resources and control the ways in which these resources are used.

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Identify and discuss four components of “human dimensions” involved in coastal decision-making
  2. Describe a process to build public support for coast resource protection and will be able to explain why this support is important
  3. Describe at least three perspectives that exist among different groups of stakeholders regarding a specific coastal resource issue.

Activity Links and Resources:

Assessment:

  • Assessment questions are included in the “I’ll Stay Here If It Kills Me” lesson plan.
,

Inland Glaciers

Impacts—Inland Glaciers

Summary: As we have seen in other topic guides, the ocean stores solar radiation and its currents distribute heat to shape climate zones throughout the globe. Ocean processes affect not just coastal climates, but also temperature and precipitation far inland. In this topic guide, students learn about how changes in temperature and precipitation affect the ice mass of Cascade Range glaciers. They use data-based graphic representations of ice mass balance in the Cascade Range to see how glaciers are changing over time, and learn what impacts these changes have on inland environments.

Concepts to teach:

Goals:

  1. Ecosystems far from the coastline are affected by ocean processes
  2. Oregon’s topography produces very different climate zones
  3. Increased temperatures result in loss of glacier ice mass
  4. Loss of glacier ice mass reduces water availability inland

Standards:

  • NGSS Performance Expectations
    • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
  • Ocean Literacy Principle 3: The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Describe how prevailing air mass movement from the Pacific Ocean impacts weather and climate in Oregon’s interior regions
  2. Use graphs and visual representations from long term data sets to describe climate change trends

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Pre-reading:
    • G.R. Miller and H.M. Mogil, 2011. Weatherwise article. Oregon’s Weather and Climate: Wet, dry, hot and cold—Prevailing air mass movement from the Pacific Ocean impacts weather and climate in Oregon’s interior regions. This article explains how Oregon’s latitude, topography, and proximity to the ocean shape its diverse climate zones.
  • Visualization Tools:
    • How have glaciers in the Pacific Northwest changed over past decades? Graphic visualizations of glacier extent in the Cascade Range show changes in glacier mass.
      • Climate and Glacier Change—from Module 4 of The Virtual Glacier, Portland State University—Use this online simulation to see how a real glacier responds to variations in climate.
      • Glacier Rephotography of the American West—from Portland State University – Explore photographs that show glaciers changing over time at Oregon’s Mt. Hood and Sisters.
      • Timeline of Glacier Change from Mt. Rainier National Park—Explore changes over time at Washington’s Mt. Rainier.
  • Readings:
    • Articles about Oregon Glaciers. Although increased water from glacial melt may be beneficial in the short term, the retreat of glaciers could ultimately result in a decline in streamflow.
      • OSU Research on Collier’s Glacier: Oregon’s largest glacier in continued decline.
      • A.W. Nolan, et. al, 2010 articlePresent-day and future contributions of glacier runoff to summertime flows in a Pacific Northwest watershed: Implications for water resources
      • M. Milstein, 2008 Waterwatch articleA region’s vitality melting away. This article explores the impacts of Mt. Hood glacial melt on agriculture
    • Water Resources—impacts from climate change, summarized by the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute
    • The Oregon Climate Change Adaptation Framework, 2010—Assessment of Very Likely and Likely risks associated with climate change, and short-term Action Items for addressing these risks
      • Extreme heat events (p. 15-19) Very likely
      • Reduced water availability (p. 20-25) Very likely
      • Wildfire (p. 26 -31)
      • Drought (p. 39-43)
      • Change in species distribution (p. 49-54)
      • Loss of wetland ecosystems (p. 62-69)
  • Climate Change Indicators Data:
    • EPA Climate Change Indicators in the US.—Observed long-term data trends related to the causes and effects of climate change, including:
    • U.S. Drought Monitor website—view national, regional, and state reports

Assessment:

  • How do studies of glacier mass balance help researchers understand climate change?
  • What climate conditions produce glacier mass loss?
  • How is glacier mass loss connected to ocean processes?
  • How is glacier mass loss expected to impact inland environments?