Project #83027 - Exploration Activity 2 Discussion - How Does Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Change the Chemistry of Seawater?

Each of you independently measured the arm lengths of multiple sea urchins and determined an average length with a standard deviation. At the end of the activity you compared your data to a predetermined data set. Here I want you to evaluate your data compared to that of your classmates.

View OUR class averages here --> Data Form (Links to an external site.)

Think about how you would answer these questions in preparation for writing your discussion post:

Does OUR class data set result in the same conclusion as those presented at the end of the activity?

What is the significance of this difference in arm length for the sea urchin? Think about the food web that sea urchins are a part of. How will this impact the food web?

Watch this video on ocean acidification and identify other organisms affected both directly & indirectly by ocean acidification. 

Link (Links to an external site.)Write a 250-300 word post that addresses the questions above & END by posing one new "discussion" question to your classmates after watching the video (this should generate discussion and not just be a yes/no answer). You are required to reply to at least one peer and attempt to answer their question.

 

Classmates responce below

This video defined what our society will look like if we do not stop emitting as much CO2 as we currently are. If we continue to be careless about our oceans we could eventually alter the waters chemistry. We saw through our experiment how much of a difference a little reduction in pH can cause to a marine organism. The 0.4 difference in pH made a huge difference in the sea urchins arm growth. After looking at the class data set you can really see how consistent the experiment is and how the difference in pH can truly affect an organism. The class data set results was in fact the same as the end results in my experiment. 

The difference in arm length of the sea urchin was much shorter in the pH of 7.7 than that of the pH of 8.1. This change in growth affects the sea urchin's chances of survival. With a shorter arm span the sea urchin cannot feed as well resulting in slower growth. This can ultimately lead to the death of many sea urchins due to being more vulnerable to predators. In response to the decrease population of sea urchins, this could lead to a decrease in the bigger organisms that feed off them. Sea otters, for example, are creatures that rely on sea urchin as a source of food. To give a further illustration here is a food web: sea urchins are a source of food to sea stars, which are a source of food to crabs, which are a source of food to larger fish/ octopuses. Therefore, when sea urchins are affected all of the organisms who rely on them are affected as well. 

Throughout the video they name certain organisms that are affected by ocean acidification. Such organisms include: Shellfish, Corals, Plankton, and Terapods (planktonic snails). These are organisms that are directly affected by the rise in acidity. Coral reefs, in particular, are extremely affected by a decrease in pH because they already have a hard time developing in warm climates so by increasing the acid content in the environment it make development twice as difficulty. Another reason is coral reefs reproduce their skeletons at a slow rate so an increase in acidity deteriorates their skeleton faster then they can reproduce. When small organisms are affected directly, such as Terapods, then larger organisms are also affected indirectly, such as big fish. This ripple effect is how entire populations and ecosystems lose strength and eventually die off.

My question to you is: How could YOU reduce the amount of pollution and CO2 that is being emitted in our oceans? Name some things YOU could change about your life style that could help protect the marine environment. 

Subject Science
Due By (Pacific Time) 09/23/2015 10:30 pm
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