see url This website presents the latest research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics STEM education. Users can also join an e-mail list to receive updates directly. Education World offers hundreds of free lesson plans and worksheets in all subjects for teachers, along with information on technology and professional development. The site has a section for administrators as well. Collaborate, share, and learn with this professional network of educators.
Check out the site's Earth science demos, ideas for interdisciplinary lessons, and collection of tools and templates. At the section for teachers , you'll find teacher-tested classroom resources to integrate in lesson planning, including activities and webquests for grades six through college related to global warming and infectious disease.
Teachers can engage students through virtual and in-house field trips for middle and high school students. Climate Kids has information, games, activities, and videos that help students in grades 4—6,explore the answers to the "big questions" about climate change: How do we know the climate is changing?
What can we do to help? What's the big deal about carbon? Information on related careers is also provided. The Teach section contains a host of climate-related teaching resources, including lessons, activities, image galleries, links, and a tool for developing lessons that support the Next Generation Science Standards. Access short video segments for grades 3—12 that highlight real-world connections to science. Middle level segments at Real World discuss mathematics applications used in space science, including centripetal force and calculation of shuttle launch windows.
NASA Spotlites videos are paired with interactive lessons and subject-matter expert interviews to offer real-world connections. Educators can search for STEM education resources and opportunities on this site. Annenberg Learner's multimedia resources help teachers increase their expertise in their fields and improve their teaching methods. Many programs are also intended for students in the classroom and viewers at home. The company funds and distributes multimedia resources for teachers K and college levels to teach their subjects, including science and math, and to stay up-to-date in their fields.
One popular science resource is The Habitable Planet. This environmental science course for high school teachers and adults presents content and activities developed by leading environmental scientists and researchers.
Each unit features an online textbook and related videos, interactive labs, visuals, scientist bios, a professional development guide, and a glossary. See www. Subscribe to Annenberg's YouTube channel to see and share course and workshop previews and clips. Like Annenberg Learner on Facebook for updates on events, highlights, and discussions about using Annenberg Learner materials.
Follow AnnLearner on Twitter for daily postings that highlight website content and special events. Targeted primarily for middle and high school educators, the resources include curriculum, videos, webinars, research news, and outreach opportunities. Teachers can access classroom activities and strategies for teaching climate science from the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network or extend their background knowledge through Climate Webinars for Educators.
For example, Climate Conversations is a four-part webinar series featuring moderated panel discussions with expert scientists addressing issues such as water in the west and the relationship between climate change and extreme weather events. The resources—which include more than 7, games, videos, animations, and simulations produced by digital content companies such as Khan Academy, PhET Interactive Simulations, The Concord Consortium, and other groups—are designed for both student and teacher use.
Students can view the content at home for homework help, test prep, and concept review, while registered teachers can create accounts to design customized playlists that address specific instructional needs in their classrooms. Targeted for educators of grades 6—12 but adaptable to other levels and settings, Kaizena is a Google Docs add-on that enables teachers to provide timely, specific feedback to students about their work.
Students turn in work online through Google Drive, and teachers use the tool to record voice messages to return along with the graded work. The tool allows teachers to attach assignments for further learning, discuss revisions with students, and track progress on specific skills. At the website, teachers can download the tool as well as see actual examples of how colleagues are incorporating the tool in various subjects. For example, in science, the examples show how teachers are using the tool as part of a long-term group geography project and as a tool to facilitate communication during the science report—writing process.
Most appropriate for upper elementary to high school levels grades 4—12 , resource highlights include the ARRL Education and Technology Program ETP Curriculum Guide and the Radio Lab Handbook, both of which contain lessons on communications electronics, transmitting and receiving devices, and wireless phenomena. Other hands-on activities can be found in the ETP Kits and Projects section, which offers materials and guidance for teaching basic electronics, demonstrating wave forms and modulation, conducting a radio direction finding activity, building a seismometer, and understanding satellite communications.
In addition to the lessons, registered teachers can join the Forum on Amateur Radio in the Classroom to connect with colleagues and share ideas about teaching wireless technology topics in the classroom. The resources were developed through partnership programs with higher education institutions and K—12 curriculum developers and teachers and include a wide variety of Earth and energy-related classroom activities, visualizations, pedagogical resources, career information, and workshop opportunities for both students and teachers.
The site also contains how-to instructions for building and harvesting a worm bin e. Discover the Forest is a conservation program to inspire students ages 8—12 and families to reconnect with nature by experiencing it firsthand. Developed by the USDA Forest Service, the Ad Council, and Finding My Forest, the program connects visitors to local forests and parks and provides games, activity ideas, and other resources to help them maximize enjoyment when they get there.
The Nature Next Door Challenge helps develop students' love of nature through simple activities such as inventing new outdoor games, conducting fitness workouts outside, going on scavenger hunts, and more. With this game app, students learn about their natural surroundings as they solve geo-triggered, augmented reality challenges in parks and forests. Space Rangers is part of the Start with a Book initiative of the national, nonprofit Reading Rockets program, which offers parents, caregivers, summer program staff, and librarians ideas for getting kids hooked on reading, exploring, and learning all summer long—and beyond.
The Space Rangers toolkit includes five topics for exploration through fiction and nonfiction books, hands-on activities, new vocabulary, and fun writing prompts. Each topic also includes recommendations for kid-friendly websites and apps. A space exploration timeline, a list of inventions from space, complete book and vocabulary lists, as well as printable name tags, journal covers, certificates, and Growing Readers tip sheets are included in the Appendix.
This handy tool from parts manufacturer World Wide Metric makes it easy for everyone—including K—college students and teachers at all levels—to calculate and compare amounts of pressure, temperature, length, weight, and volume in various measurement systems, including customary and metric measure. The sets are free except for the cost of return shipping. Featuring articles, photo essays, and videos and transcripts, this multimedia exhibit developed by creators at the Exploratorium museum examines how scientists gather, assess, and make use of evidence to establish scientific truths and construct a functional understanding of the world.
The featured case study explores questions about human origins through a series of interviews with anthropologists and other scientists. Share this article with students to show them how advertising works to influence their decisions and teach them to be critical consumers who rely on research and evaluation rather than emotion or sentiment when making purchasing and other decisions. At the PLT website, visitors can access a collection of more than 30 nature activities to inspire K—8 students and families to explore their environment and connect with nature.
The activities also include links to related PLT activities and resources for each topic. Wood anatomist, research botanist, plant curator, professor of plant systematics. Most appropriate for high school and undergraduate college levels, the brochure highlights nine scientists working in various fields of botanical research around the globe. In the profiles, the scientists discuss the events and passions that led them to pursue their chosen careers, describe what their positions entail, and identify some of the reasons they find them rewarding.
The brochure also includes links to learn about current issues in botany, specialties in plant biology, the requirements for a career in botany, salaries and job availability, and more. The National Library of Medicine's Tox Town helps students and teachers learn about environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals pictured in an imaginary city, farm, town, U. Within each neighborhood, students can click on a location or environmental health concern, like drinking water, to find what chemicals might be in their drinking water.
Tox Town also links to selected web resources about drinking water. Or students can click on toxic chemicals to learn about them. Tox Town's target audience is high school and college students, educators, and the concerned public. Descriptions of chemicals and of environmental health concerns written for Tox Town score within grades reading levels on the Flesch-Kincaid readability scale.
Through the curriculum investigations, middle level and high school students address five essential questions: 1 How is this disease distributed, and which hypotheses explain that distribution? Northrop Grumman and Scholastic are providing a free science and math program for middle and high school teachers nationwide. The program features detailed lessons for teachers on technology and science, reproducibles that allow students to explore math and science through word problems, a classroom poster designed to promote critical thinking, and student magazines that profile young engineers and provide resources for further research in these fields.
The program highlights the real-world applications of science and technology from various engineering and science disciplines, including space science, submarine engineering, and geolocation technology. Lessons in the program meet national standards and benchmarks for science, math, technology, and language arts. Educate students about the historic Apollo 11 spaceflight and celebrate its 50th anniversary on July 20 with these lessons and activities for grades K from NASA.
Resources for after-school enrichment, summer camps, and public events are also included. At CitizenScience. The projects address various science disciplines archaeology, biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology, health and medicine, physics, space science, and others and offer opportunities for student participation and data-collection experiences.
For example, projects might involve tracking harmful algal blooms Cyanoscope—Environmental Protection Agency Collaborative Project , documenting ladybugs in habitat Lost Ladybug Project , verifying land cover type on satellite images Adopt a Pixel , searching for exotic stars by analyzing radio data from the Green Bank Telescope Pulsar Search Collaboratory , and measuring fossilized shark teeth Students Discover. Users can filter searches by agency, status active or completed , or science discipline. Make science and health relevant for students by exploring the impact of daily food and beverage choices on overall health.
The standards-supported curriculum—versioned for both middle and high school levels—includes background information for teachers, five learning modules, student worksheets, glossary, and standards information. Targeted for middle and high school levels, this Five-Minute Challenge offers hands-on practice in analyzing data and introduces careers in the veterinary industry. Students interpret an infographic with facts about various animal-related careers, then record positives and negatives about each career based on what they discover. Check out this website for games and other resources to inspire young scientists preK—4 to learn about NASA and its missions.
The site also has space-themed games, puzzles, coloring pages, and mazes that support Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards and reinforce skills in core subjects. For example, Roving on Mars lets students test their driving skills as they learn facts about the red planet, while another game, AstroMatic, invites students to calculate their weight and age on different planets.
Students first make observations about two iconic images of the Earth as seen from the Moon. Next, students analyze data relating to one of four Earth science variables that NASA monitors cloud cover, vegetation, surface temperature, and precipitation and create a visualization documenting the changes they observe in their chosen variable over time. Students then pair with a classmate to compare their visualization with one on a different Earth science variable and make inferences about how the two variables may be related.
Other accompanying materials, such as links to Earthrise images, Earth system poster cards, and student data sheets, can also be found at the website. Teacher Resources includes an introductory PowerPoint presentation and links to lessons, articles, videos, and websites to build background knowledge on the topic.
Guidelines for Data Collection presents survey protocols and data sheets to enable students to accurately collect and record marine debris data. In Guidelines for Data Analysis, the process of entering data in the MDMAP database is described and suggestions for creating visual displays from the data are provided. Community Engagement and Outreach offers activity ideas for generating awareness of marine debris. Excite students about careers in biomedical research and improve community health literacy with resources from the Science Education and Partnership Award SEPA program.
The projects—which are created through partnerships between biomedical and clinical researchers and educators, schools, and other interested organizations—include an assortment of technology-based curriculum, games, apps, and other interactive resources for use in the classroom, community, or home. For example, This Is How We Role elementary , a curriculum developed with Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, explores careers in veterinary science and how to prevent health conditions that impact people and their pets.
Pennsylvania educator Frank McCulley created the website to support student learning in his high school physics courses. This interdisciplinary lesson for high school learners fuses science, technology, mathematics, ethics, and language arts into a week-long experience exploring biotechnology. During the lesson—developed by the TGR Foundation as part of the TGR EDU: Explore curriculum—students not only learn how infectious diseases are spread, but also uncover specific concerns of the Zika virus and debate whether genetic modification of mosquitos is an appropriate method to stall or eliminate the spread of disease.
Materials include a downloadable lesson plan and an accompanying PowerPoint presentation with guiding questions and embedded videos to help explain complex topics. Explore human population issues with K—12 students with lessons and reading resources from Population Education. Search the resource database to find interdisciplinary science activities. Downloadable lessons are indicated with a page icon and include a video demonstration of the activity along with the lesson plan. Highlights include activities such as Crowding Can Be Seedy K—2 , a role play and gardening lesson that helps students understand the effects of population density, and Waste a-Weigh K—2 and 3—5 , in which students weigh and record their lunch waste for a week to understand how conservation efforts can reduce the total amount of trash generated.
For the Common Good helps students in grades 6—8 determine consumption strategies that maximize resources for an entire group, while Carbon Crunch shows students in grades 9—12 how population growth and industrialization have impacted the environment. This easy-to-use software can engage middle level and high school students in systems thinking and model-building. Developed by the Concord Consortium and the CREATE for STEM Institute at Michigan State University, the software enables students to use a drag-and-drop method to build various customized phenomenon representations from the basic diagramming of a system structure to static equilibrium and dynamic time-based models.
Teachers and students can access the software and supporting resources on how to use it at the website. TeachRock uses popular music to engage students in work that supports standards across disciplines, including science, technology, engineering, arts, and math STEAM. Use this game from PBS Kids to introduce K—3 students to the basics of systems thinking, strategy, and toolmaking. Players explore the Kart Kingdom world, crafting gadgets and customizing characters as they move through various game levels completing quests.
The gadgets help and change how students move through each level. Sometimes more than one gadget can be used to complete a puzzle, and students must decide which gadget is the best. The game can be played in the classroom or at home. How did the gadgets help you complete the game quests? Howwas teamwork used to help solve problems? Teachers can design customized question sets at this website to uncover student preconceptions in K—12 STEM disciplines and support authentic discourse and argumentation in the classroom. The online question sets engage students in relevant science discussion and provide a safe place for them to share ideas without judgment.
As students respond to the question sets, and differences inevitably emerge, students develop communication skills as they verbally reason with peers to reach consensus. The website also has tutorials for using the resource in the classroom. A nationwide initiative from the Captain Planet Foundation teaches K—12 students about threatened and vulnerable animals and plants and where they live and empowers them to design and implement real-life solutions.
Currently, students can participate in two projects: Pollinator Quest grades 3—5 , which focuses on creating habitats for pollinators, and Minnesota Freshwater Quest grades 5—8 , which focuses on identifying threats to species and human health in community waterways. Future projects will address topics like improving soil health and planting trees Healthy Soil Quest, grades 5—8 ; helping the longleaf pine ecosystem Longleaf Pine Quest, grades 3—5 ; reducing plastic pollution Plastics-Free Oceans Quest, grades 3—8 ; and learning about the gray wolf Rocky Mountain Wolf Quest, grades 8— Funded by NASA, this project specializes in browser-based digital learning and a teaching network for educators.
At the website, educators can access a collection of digital interactives on Earth- and space science—themed topics and accompanying lesson plans for middle and high school levels and informal science audiences. Teachers can also join the Infiniscope community to connect with colleagues interested in customizing interactives or collaborating to design new Earth and space digital technology resources for the classroom.
GLOBE Observer, an app-based citizen science project, has a toolkit for informal educators at libraries, museums, parks and outdoor education centers, and after-school programs. The toolkit contains resources and activities for educators to integrate the citizen science initiative at their institution and involve participants, including K—12 students, in authentic science research. Organized by protocol i. For example, GLOBE Observer observations from students and other citizens can be used to help scientists track changes in clouds, water, plants, and other life in support of climate research and to verify data from NASA satellites.
More specifically, reports of mosquitoes can be paired with satellite observations of vegetation and temperature to learn what conditions mosquitoes thrive in. Participants who take cloud observations while a satellite is overhead are e-mailed matching satellite data for comparison. The toolkit also has tips on data collection and a resource library with activities, books, videos, and presentations to provide background knowledge, as well as handouts and promotional materials to help educators generate interest in participation.
Students in grades 3—5 can play their way to understanding the roles of science, technology, engineering, and math STEM in agriculture with this app. In Keys to Stewardship, the science-focused game, students work to complete tangrams, learning about crop rotation and other farming practices. In the technology focused game, the Great Seed Search, students pilot a plane around the world, collecting seeds and learning about agricultural products, geography, and other cultures along the way.
In Thrive, the engineering-focused game, students identify healthy soil, develop strategies to improve soil quality, and enhance water quality to grasp how soil is a vital part of the natural environment. In Operation Peanut Butter, the math-focused game, students follow the path of peanuts from the field to the peanut butter jar, practicing fractions and other math concepts at each location. Designed in comic-book format to appeal to all students, including reluctant readers, struggling readers, special-needs learners, and English language learners, the mini-unit explores where trash and wastewater come from, where they go, and how to reduce the amount of solid waste and wastewater we produce.
Registration is required to download the materials. Developed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and Scholastic, these lessons, videos, and activities for grades 6—12 introduce basic science, its importance to human health, and careers in science research. Through four lessons and videos andan accompanying magazine, students learn about the science of living systems Exploring the Science in Our World , the tool sets of research scientists Exploring Research Tools , the benefits of studying research organisms Small Cells, Big Findings , and the diversity of science careers Exploring the Research Path.
STEMconnector—an organization committed to increasing the numbers of science-, technology-, engineering-, and math-ready e. That report identified five critical gaps to achieving STEM-readiness within the system, and it found no one solution to create progress at scale. The Input to Impact report attempts to help solve these issues by establishing a common definition for success in the STEM ecosystem and providing a framework for measurement that can be used to both target STEM talent investments for greater impact and measure progress towards goals. Visit the website to download free registration required an executive summary or a full copy of the report.
A social media toolkit with key highlights from the report is also available. Most appropriate for elementary and middle levels, Meerman's website features attention-grabbing demos and lessons plans that excite students about learning science. Lesson plan highlights include DIY Lava Lamp, which explores the properties of substances such as oil and water; Rotocopters, which introduces the principles of flight through building and testing aircraft made from balloons, plastic cups, and tape; and Salt and Germination, which is a simple experiment demonstrating the effects of salinity on seed development and growth.
Another resource of interest is the Making Waves simulator. With this tool and accompanying lesson plan , students create a wave animation to study the differences in wave behavior in deep and shallow waters. SEE Turtles, a nonprofit environmental conservation organization in Beaverton, Oregon, has several resources to inform students and educators in grades 6—12 about endangered sea turtles, why they are threatened, and what they can do to help.
Visit the website to view videos of sea turtle migration and nesting; read facts sheets on endangered sea turtle species; and download lesson plans exploring topics such as sea turtle adaptations, threats, food webs, poaching, and the impact of plastics in the oceans on sea turtles. Teachers can also download the Turtle Talks Activity Book, which presents 20 pages of turtle-themed games, puzzles, coloring sheets, and glossary interspersed with facts and information about endangered sea turtles and how to help protect them. The Great Herbs for Kids Handout presents growing requirements and other information about several easy-to-cultivate herbs including sage, sunflowers, chives, and lemon verbena.
Other notable resources focus on sensory gardens, such as the handouts Herbs for the Sensory Garden and Sensory Gardens for Special Education Students. In addition to highlighting the benefits of creating such gardens with students, these documents suggest activities to help teachers connect the garden to curriculum in math, science, health, and other subjects. The activities are diverse and adaptable—they can be used in both formal and informal settings and can be modified to suit various grade levels and time available. Visit the website to download printable PDFs of the activities and access background information and learning standards connections.
The activities address New York state standards, however, teachers in other locations can use the standards as a guide to identify similar learning goals in their states. Culled from Smithsonian collaborators e. Middle level students study marine animal adaptations in Long Live the Sharks and Rays Discovery, grades 6—8 , while in Haunted by Hurricanes Virginia Sea Grant, grades 9—12 , high school students learn about how hurricanes form and examine how changing weather patterns affect hurricane development and patterns.
The encyclopedias covering topics in science and alternative energy and sustainable living follow a standard encyclopedic format, presenting topics alphabetically and including text, images, and related links for each entry. These books feature text, images, diagrams, and glossaries and address a wide range of topics, including heat, matter, optics, sound, flight e. Astronomy From the Ground Up AFGU —Astronomical Society of the Pacific's community of informal educators from museums, science centers, nature centers, and parks around the country—offers several interesting resources to engage audiences of all ages in learning about our solar system.
One highlight is the Pocket Solar System model. Most appropriate for upper elementary and middle levels, this simple solar system scale model is created by folding a length of adding machine tape in fractional increments one half, one fourth, one eighth, one sixteenth, and so on until the planets and large bodies between the Sun and Pluto and the Kuiper belt are all marked on the tape. The model helps students visualize the vast emptiness of the outer solar system and the relative crowdedness of the inner solar system, and it doubles as a tool for reviewing fractions!
My Sky Tonight, another noteworthy resource developed collaboratively by AFGU and partners, brings age-appropriate astronomy and science understandings to preschool learners and families. These research-based astronomy activities include accompanying videos and address topics such as shadows, the Moon, day and night, and more. The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago MSI has several apps, videos, and hands-on activities to engage elementary and middle level teachers, students, and their families in the joy of science discovery.
Play with levers, pulleys, and other simple machines—and explore physics—in the interactive app Simple Machines, or watch The Hatchery, a time-lapse video of chicks hatching, to observe life cycle processes in action. The site also features simple activities for exploring biology, chemistry, environmental science, and physics topics in the classroom or at home. For example, students can investigate energy transformations in activities such as Wind Turbines and Roller Coaster; study genetic material from fruit in Strawberry DNA; learn how worms keep a garden healthy in Worm Farm; and explore how sound works by building a Straw Pipe.
This UK-based website has tons of soil resources for teachers and students of all levels from elementary to high school. The secondary resources for ages 11—16 address the same themes as the primary resources but are presented in encyclopedic format with in-depth text, images, and case study examples to extend learning. Each secondary section also includes an online quiz to consolidate understanding. Other tools of interest on the website are a photo library of 2, copyright-free images of soil and the TerrainBuilder erosion simulator, which enables students to explore the effects of water erosion on differing landscapes.
This website is a one-stop location for K—12 education resources about migratory birds and bird conservation. Search a data base of resources contributed by members of the bird conservation community, including fact sheets, curricula, and activities; increase your Bird IQ with animations, fun facts, and interactive quizzes for all ages; or explore bird basics and more through downloadable resources developed for World Migratory Day, many of which are available in both Spanish and English e.
Other notable downloads encourage learners to get outside and investigate, such as the activities Life Cycle Wheels grades 3 and up , Go Birding Geocache grades 4 and up ; and Leading a Birdwalk educators. Thinking about trying a school gardening project with elementary and middle level students? Get inspired by the PowerPoint presentations from participating teachers in the CitySprouts program, a Massachusetts-based education initiative for K—8 schools focused on urban gardening.
The presentations feature a diverse range of projects from planting and harvesting ancient grains to using technology in the school garden and more. The projects, which were conducted by students and teachers from various grades in PreK—7, showcase the many ways and subjects that garden-based learning can be incorporated into the curriculum at any level.
The bronze level free offers members access to multimedia resource collections to bring science, literature, history, the Arts, and other subjects to life in classrooms or at home. Each collection contains stories and resources e. An in-depth User Guide presented in story format—complete with supportive guides, tools, and videos—is available to help teachers and other users integrate the Awesome Stories website into the classroom or other learning environments.
Developed by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation BEF , and targeted for environmentalists of all ages—including students and teachers from the middle and high school levels—this website features tools and information to explore your personal environmental footprint i. Calculate your carbon and water footprints, then visit the Expand Your Knowledge section to learn more about energy and water use along with simple but effective ideas to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve water. The Take Action section encourages users to join the Change the Course campaign, a national freshwater restoration program in which every online pledge to conserve water is matched by funding from corporate sponsors to restore 1, gallons to critically depleted rivers, streams, and wetlands.
K—12 students and teachers alike can develop agricultural literacy with the resources at this website. Visit the Teacher Center to explore agriculture and farm life in degrees through Virtual Reality experiences and virtual field trips; search for K—12 ag lessons in the National Agricultural Literacy Curriculum Matrix; learn about agricultural production in all 50 states; or subscribe to AgroWorld, an E-zine for grades 9—12 packed with news bits, classroom resources, and other student-friendly science, technology, and society connections to agriculture.
The Student Center features resources highlighting careers in the industry, including video interviews with agriculture professionals from different fields and interactive websites e. Or, click on Science Heroes to read career profiles of researchers from various disciplines e. This searchable and standards-based online curriculum map for K—12 teachers includes lessons from the Foundation as well as curriculum from other states.
Discover the amazing world of soils with images and information from the Dig It!
The museum exhibit closed some time ago, but its content—along with new material on soils—is available online. Suitable for K—8 audiences, website highlights include a soil quiz to test knowledge; a set of interactive postcards showcasing soils from each of the 50 United States, and a collection of career profile cards spotlighting soil science—related professions, such as conservationist, ecologist, educator, engineer, and planetary scientist. Interested students can use this resource to learn about schools that offer healthcare-related degrees and about careers in the medical field.
The site features school ranking lists, videos, and useful information for the career decision making process. Visitors can learn which careers are growing the fastest and are in demand. Information is provided about career opportunities in each state. The Ecology Society of America ESA has several resources to enhance ecology instruction and understanding at the undergraduate collegiate level. This resource presents a set of recommendations for ecology curricula. The framework can be used as a benchmark for instructors currently teaching undergraduate General Ecology and also as a guide for instructors developing new courses.
The EcoEd Digital Library, another notable resource, is a forum for scientists and educators to locate and contribute peer-reviewed resources for teaching undergraduate ecology. Microalgae are important components of the marine protists discussed above , as well as the phytoplankton discussed below.
They are very diverse. It has been estimated there are ,, species of which about 50, species have been described. They are specially adapted to an environment dominated by viscous forces. Macroalgae are the larger, multicellular and more visible types of algae, commonly called seaweeds. Seaweeds usually grow in shallow coastal waters where they are anchored to the seafloor by a holdfast.
Seaweed that becomes adrift can wash up on beaches. Like microalgae, macroalgae seaweeds are technically marine protists since they are not true plants. A seaweed is a macroscopic form of red or brown or green algae. Sargassum seaweed is a brown alga with air bladders that help it float. Sargassum fish are camouflaged to live among drifting Sargassum seaweed. The unicellular bubble algae lives in tidal zones. The unicellular mermaid's wineglass are mushroom-shaped algae that grow up to 10 cm high.
Killer algae are single-celled organisms, but look like ferns and grow stalks up to 80 cm long. Unicellular organisms are usually microscopic, less than one tenth of a millimeter long. There are exceptions. Mermaid's wineglass , a genus of subtropical green algae , is single-celled but remarkably large and complex in form with a single large nucleus, making it a model organism for studying cell biology. Selective breeding in aquariums to produce hardier strains resulted in an accidental release into the Mediterranean where it has become an invasive species known colloquially as killer algae.
Back in the Silurian , some phytoplankton evolved into red , brown and green algae. These algae then invaded the land and started evolving into the land plants we know today. Later, in the Cretaceous , some of these land plants returned to the sea as mangroves and seagrasses.
Marine plants can be found in intertidal zones and shallow waters, such as seagrasses like eelgrass and turtle grass , Thalassia. These plants have adapted to the high salinity of the ocean environment. Plant life can also flourish in the brackish waters of estuaries , where mangroves or cordgrass or beach grass beach grass might grow.
Sea dragons camouflaged to look like floating seaweed live in kelp forests and seagrass meadows . Mangroves and seagrasses provide important nursery habitats for marine life, acting as hiding and foraging places for larval and juvenile forms of larger fish and invertebrates.
Plankton from Greek for wanderers are a diverse group of organisms that live in the water column of large bodies of water but cannot swim against a current. As a result, they wander or drift with the currents. They are a crucial source of food for many marine animals, from forage fish to whales. Plankton can be divided into a plant-like component and an animal component.
Phytoplankton are the plant-like components of the plankton community "phyto" comes from the Greek for plant. They are autotrophic self-feeding , meaning they generate their own food and do not need to consume other organisms. Phytoplankton consist mainly of microscopic photosynthetic eukaryotes which inhabit the upper sunlit layer in all oceans. They need sunlight so they can photosynthesize. Most phytoplankton are single-celled algae, but other phytoplankton are bacteria and some are protists. They form the base of the primary production that drives the ocean food web , and account for half of the current global primary production, more than the terrestrial forests.
Diatoms are one of the most common types of phytoplankton. Green cyanobacteria scum washed up on a rock in California. The coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi. Algae bloom of Emiliania huxleyi off the southern coast of England. Zooplankton are the animal component of the planktonic community "zoo" comes from the Greek for animal. They are heterotrophic other-feeding , meaning they cannot produce their own own food and must consume instead other plants or animals as food. In particular, this means they eat phytoplankton.
Zooplankton are generally larger than phytoplankton, mostly still microscopic but some can be seen with the naked eye. Many protozoans single-celled protists that prey on other microscopic life are zooplankton, including zooflagellates , foraminiferans , radiolarians and some dinoflagellates. Other dinoflagellates are mixotrophic and could also be classified as phytoplankton; the distinction between plants and animals often breaks down in very small organisms. Other zooplankton include pelagic cnidarians , ctenophores , molluscs , arthropods and tunicates , as well as planktonic arrow worms and bristle worms.
Nassellarian radiolarian. Calcified test of a planktic foraminiferan. Noctiluca scintillans is a bioluminescence dinoflagellate. Venus girdle , a ctenophore. Tomopteris , a planktonic segmented worm with unusual yellow bioluminescence . Many marine animals begin life as zooplankton in the form of eggs or larvae, before they develop into adults. Dinoflagellates are often mixotrophic live in symbiosis with other organisms. Two dinoflagellates and a tintinnid ciliate. Euglena mutabilis , a photosynthetic flagellate. Some dinoflagellates are bioluminescent.
At night, ocean water can light up internally and sparkle with blue light because of these dinoflagellates.
The luminescence, sometimes called the phosphorescence of the sea , occurs as brief 0. In researchers found whales carry nutrients from the depths of the ocean back to the surface using a process they called the whale pump. There whales defecate a liquid rich in nitrogen and iron. Instead of sinking, the liquid stays at the surface where phytoplankton consume it.
In the Gulf of Maine the whale pump provides more nitrogen than the rivers. If phytoplankton dies before it is eaten, it descends through the euphotic zone and settles into the depths of sea. Zooplankton make up most of the marine animal biomass , and as primary consumers are the crucial link between primary producers mainly phytoplankton and the rest of the marine food web secondary consumers. Marine carbon cycle . Marine silicon cycle. In a team of microbiologists led by Edward DeLong made a crucial discovery in the understanding of the marine carbon and energy cycles.
They discovered a gene in several species of bacteria   responsible for production of the protein rhodopsin , previously unheard of in the domain Bacteria. These proteins found in the cell membranes are capable of converting light energy to biochemical energy due to a change in configuration of the rhodopsin molecule as sunlight strikes it, causing the pumping of a proton from inside out and a subsequent inflow that generates the energy.
Overfishing is occurring in one third of world fish stocks, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Ocean acidification is the increasing acidification of the oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When carbon dioxide dissolves in water it forms hydrogen and carbonate ions. This in turn increases the acidity of the ocean and makes survival increasingly harder for shellfish and other marine organisms that depend on calcium carbonate to form their shells.
Marine pollution results from the entry into the ocean of industrial , agricultural, and residential wastes. Nutrient pollution is a primary cause of eutrophication of surface waters, in which excess nutrients, usually nitrates or phosphates , stimulate algae growth. Toxic chemicals can adhere to tiny particles which are then taken up by plankton and benthic animals , most of which are either deposit feeders or filter feeders. In this way, toxins are concentrated upward within ocean food chains. Many particles combine chemically in a manner which depletes oxygen, causing estuaries to become anoxic.
Pesticides and toxic metals are similarly incorporated into marine food webs, harming the biological health of marine life. Many animal feeds have a high fish meal or fish hydrolysate content. In this way, marine toxins are transferred back to farmed land animals, and then to humans. Phytoplankton concentrations have increased over the last century in coastal waters, and more recently have declined in the open ocean. Increases in nutrient runoff from land may explain the increases in coastal phytoplankton, while warming surface temperatures in the open ocean may have strengthened stratification in the water column, reducing the flow of nutrients from the deep that open ocean phytoplankton find useful.
Estimates suggest something like 9 million tonnes of plastic is added to the ocean every year. It is thought this plastic will need years or more to biograde. Once in the ocean, plastics are shredded by marine amphipods into microplastics. There are now beaches where 15 percent of the sand are grains of microplastic. In the oceans themselves, microplastics float in surface waters amongst the plankton, where they are ingested by plankton eaters.
Habitat loss is occurring in seagrass meadows , mangrove forests , coral reefs and kelp forests , all of which are in global decline due to human disturbances. Shifting baselines arise in research on marine ecosystems because changes must be measured against some previous reference point baseline , which in turn may represent significant changes from an even earlier state of the ecosystem. Areas that swarmed with a particular species hundreds of years ago may have experienced long term decline, but it is the level a few decades previously that is used as the reference point for current populations.
In this way large declines in ecosystems or species over long periods of time were, and are, masked. There is a loss of perception of change that occurs when each generation redefines what is natural or untouched. Biodiversity is the result of over three billion years of evolution. Until approximately million years ago, all life consisted of archaea , bacteria , protozoans and similar single-celled organisms.
The history of biodiversity during the Phanerozoic the last million years , starts with rapid growth during the Cambrian explosion — a period during which nearly every phylum of multicellular organisms first appeared. Over the next million years or so, invertebrate diversity showed little overall trend and vertebrate diversity shows an overall exponential trend.
However, more than 99 percent of all species that ever lived on Earth, amounting to over five billion species,  are estimated to be extinct. The dramatic rise in diversity has been marked by periodic, massive losses of diversity classified as mass extinction events.
Most diversity and biomass on earth is found among the microorganisms , which are difficult to measure. Recorded extinction events are therefore based on the more easily observed changes in the diversity and abundance of larger multicellular organisms , rather than the total diversity and abundance of life. Based on the fossil record , the background rate of extinctions on Earth is about two to five taxonomic families of marine animals every million years. The Great Oxygenation Event was perhaps the first major extinction event.
Since the Cambrian explosion five further major mass extinctions have significantly exceeded the background extinction rate. Vertebrates took 30 million years to recover from this event. During the sixth century BC, the Greek philosopher Xenophanes BC recognised that some fossil shells were remains of shellfish. He used this to argue that what was at the time dry land was once under the sea.
Later, during the fourth century BC, another Greek philosopher Aristotle — BC attempted a comprehensive classification of animals which included systematic descriptions of many marine species,   and particularly species found in the Mediterranean Sea. The most striking passages are about the sea-life visible from observation on Lesbos and available from the catches of fishermen. His observations on catfish , electric fish Torpedo and angler-fish are detailed, as is his writing on cephalopods , namely, Octopus , Sepia cuttlefish and the paper nautilus Argonauta argo.
His description of the hectocotyl arm , used in sexual reproduction, was widely disbelieved until its rediscovery in the 19th century. What the modern zoologist would call vertebrates and invertebrates, Aristotle called "animals with blood" and "animals without blood" he did not know that complex invertebrates do make use of hemoglobin , but of a different kind from vertebrates.
He divided animals with blood into live-bearing mammals , and egg-bearing birds and fish. Invertebrates "animals without blood" he divided into insects, crustacea further divided into non-shelled — cephalopods — and shelled and testacea molluscs. In contemporary times, marine life is a field of study both in marine biology and in biological oceanography. In biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land.
Marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather than on taxonomy. For this reason marine biology encompasses not only organisms that live only in a marine environment, but also other organisms whose lives revolve around the sea. Biological oceanography is the study of how organisms affect and are affected by the physics , chemistry , and geology of the oceanographic system. Biological oceanography mostly focuses on the microorganisms within the ocean; looking at how they are affected by their environment and how that affects larger marine creatures and their ecosystem.
Biological oceanography takes a bottom up approach in terms of the food web, while marine biology studies the ocean from a top down perspective. Biological oceanography mainly focuses on the ecosystem of the ocean with an emphasis on plankton: their diversity morphology, nutritional sources, motility, and metabolism ; their productivity and how that plays a role in the global carbon cycle; and their distribution predation and life cycle. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The plants, animals and other organisms that live in the salt water of the sea or ocean, or the brackish water of coastal estuaries. Killer whales orca are marine apex predators that hunt many large species. Oceans also contain microscopic marine life , such as bacteria and phytoplankton. Elevation histogram showing the percentage of the Earth's surface above and below sea level. See also: Hydrosphere. The Earth's water cycle. Life timeline. This box: view talk edit. Single-celled life. Multicellular life.
Earliest water. Earliest life. Earliest oxygen. Atmospheric oxygen. Oxygen crisis. Sexual reproduction. Earliest plants. Ediacara biota. Cambrian explosion. Earliest apes. See also: Human timeline , and Nature timeline. Further information: Evolutionary history of life and Timeline of evolutionary history of life. Microbial mats are the earliest form of life on Earth for which there is good fossil evidence. The image shows a cyanobacterial -algal mat. Stromatolites are formed from microbial mats as microbes slowly move upwards to avoid being smothered by sediment.
Main article: Marine microorganism. See also: Evolution of cells. Marine microbial loop. See also: Marine bacteriophage and Viral evolution. Bacteriophages phages. Multiple phages attached to a bacterial cell wall at ,x magnification. Diagram of a typical tailed phage. These are cyanophages , viruses that infect cyanobacteria scale bars indicate nm. In terms of individual counts, tailed phage are the most abundant biological entities in the sea. See also: Bacterioplankton. Protists according to how they get food. Algae see below. Slime moulds and slime nets.
Choanoflagellates , unicellular "collared" flagellate protists, are thought to be the closest living relatives of the animals. Two dinoflagellates. Play media. See also: Microanimal and Ichthyoplankton. See also: Marine fungi , Mycoplankton , and Evolution of fungi. Main article: Marine invertebrates. See also: Avalon explosion and Cambrian explosion. There has been much controversy over which invertebrate phyla, sponges or comb jellies , is the most basal.
Barrel sponge. Egg-shaped cydippid ctenophore. Placozoa have the simplest structure of all animals. Food uptake by Trichoplax adhaerens. Their tentacles sting and paralyse small fish. See also: Embryological origins of the mouth and anus. Further information: Marine worm and Sea worm. See also: Evolution of molluscs and Evolution of cephalopods. Bigfin reef squid displaying vivid iridescence at night. Cephalopods are the most neurologically advanced invertebrates. Hypothetical ancestral mollusc. Some palaeontologists think Lobopodia represents a basal grade which lead to an arthropod body plan.
Tardigrades are a phylum of eight-legged, segmented micro-animals able to survive in extreme conditions. See also: Evolution of brachiopods. Fossil showing the mouth of the earliest known deuterostome , mya. Colorful sea lilies in shallow waters. The acorn worm is associated with the development of gill slits , described as "the foremost morphological innovation of early deuterostomes". Ray-finned fish. Marine tetrapod sperm whale. Skeletal structures showing the vertebral column and internal skeleton running from the head to the tail. Main article: Marine vertebrate.
Further information: Fish , diversity of fish , and evolution of fish. Main article: Cartilaginous fish. Teleosts have homocercal tails. Further information: Bony fish and teleost. Ocean sunfish. Clown triggerfish. See also: Tetrapods and evolution of tetrapods. Main article: Marine reptile. See also: Evolution of reptiles. Marine iguana.
Leatherback sea turtle. Saltwater crocodile. Main article: Seabird. Waterbird food web in Chesapeake Bay. Gentoo penguin swimming underwater. Albatrosses range over huge areas of ocean and regularly circle the globe. Main article: Marine mammal. See also: Evolution of cetaceans , Evolution of sirenians , and List of marine mammal species. Beluga whale. Main articles: Algae and Marine plants. See also: Evolutionary history of plants , Plant evolution , Timeline of plant evolution , and Evolution of photosynthesis. Cyanobacteria from a microbial mat.
Cyanobacteria were the first organisms to release oxygen via photosynthesis. Prochlorococcus marinus. Evolution of mangroves and seagrasses. Seagrass meadow. Further information: Plankton , Bacterioplankton , Ichthyoplankton , and Mycoplankton. Colonial phytoplankton. Radiolarian protist drawn by Ernst Haeckel in Arrow worm. Moon jellyfish. Marine amphipod. Ocean sunfish larva. A surf wave at night sparkles with blue light due to the presence of a bioluminescent dinoflagellate, such as Lingulodinium polyedrum.
A suggested explanation for glowing seas . See also: Mixotrophic dinoflagellate. Whale pump nutrient cycle. See also: Ocean food web , Pelagic sediment , and Siliceous ooze. Marine food web. See also: Fish migration , Freshwater ecosystem , Freshwater fish , and Continental shelf pump. See also: Biogeochemical cycle , Geobiology , Biomineralization , Hydrogen cycle , Mercury in fish , and Marine sulfur cycle. Biological pump.
Oxygen cycle. Marine nitrogen cycle. Marine phosphorus cycle. Mercury cycle. Energy gathering mechanism in marine bacteria via Proteorhodopsin . Fishing down the foodweb Overfishing of high trophic fish like tuna can result in them being replaced by low trophic organisms, like jellyfish. We are gradually winning this war to exterminate them. Marine extinction intensity during the Phanerozoic.
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