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WheredotheCrittersLiveSoCalifornia

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1 Where do the critters live? Objective Participants will determine where marine organisms might be found near southern California based on current ocean temperatures. Correlations National Science Education Standards Grades 5-8: A, C Grades 9-12: A, C California State Science Education Standards Grade 6: 5b, e, 6b Grade 7: 2a, d, e, 7b Grades 9-12: Life Sciences 6a-g, 7d Ocean Literacy Principles and Fundamental Concepts: 1 & 5 _____________________________________________________________________ Introduction Any aspect of the physical environment that affects living organisms is called a “physical factor”. Aquatic organisms are greatly affected by various physical factors such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, depth, and several others. In the open coastal ocean, temperature can be a strong determinate of animal distribution. This is a web-based activity that uses ocean temperatures to understand where various ocean organisms could be found. Students are asked to answer a series of questions about the potential location of organisms. They will use links that provide water monitoring data for various locations. The real-time data will then be compared to the optimal temperature of each organism. From this comparison, students can determine the potential location of each organism. Note: The data reported from the buoys are surface temperatures, and some of these species are found in midwater or near the bottom, so this exercise is only a general guide. However, students should find significant differences in the surface temperatures at different locations. Materials - Computer - Internet access Procedure 1. Study the table below containing the optimal water temperature ranges for these ocean organisms. Critter optimal Predicted Critter name water temperature (°C) location in CA2 Kelp Bass 16-20 _____________________ California Halibut 10-25 _____________________ California Sheephead 10-26 _____________________ CA Spiny Lobster 8-14 _____________________ White Seabass 16-20 _____________________ Yellowtail 20-30 _____________________ Eelgrass 0-25 _____________________ Giant Kelp 15-20 _____________________ 2. Go to the NOAA National Buoy Data Center website: http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/maps/Southwest.shtml 3. Retrieve water temperatures at several offshore sites from Diablo Canyon, CA to La Jolla, CA and record below. Use the station ID codes to locate the buoys. Look at the water temperature data for each buoy and record a maximum and minimum for the past 5 days from the given data. Remember: (°F - 32) x 5/9 = °C 4. Match each organism in the table above with the locations listed below where they could be found living. Write the name of the corresponding location(s) next to each organism’s name. Location (Station ID code) Water Temperature Range (°F and °C) Diablo Canyon (46215) ___________________________ Goleta Point (46216) ___________________________ Los Angeles (OHBC1) ___________________________ Oceanside Offshore (46224) ___________________________ La Jolla (LJAC1) ___________________________ Suggested questions 1. Which organisms would you expect to find off the coast of Los Angeles at this time? 2. Which organisms would you expect to find close to Diablo Canyon at this time?3 3. Which organisms would you expect to find near La Jolla at this time? 4. Are there any organisms that might live through the whole range that you just investigated? Think about and discuss: Animals are sometimes found outside of their optimal/normal temperature ranges. Why do you think this occurs? Do you think they can survive there for long? Alternative suggestion: You can have your students figure out what buoys are in your area (or an area chosen by students) rather than giving them a list of buoys. Make sure they include buoy names and buoy numbers and you can ask them to also provide the latitude and longitude of the buoys. References Temperature ranges for fish http://www.saltwatersportsman.com/article.jsp?ID=21011164 Temperature for California Spiny Lobster http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/els/01657836/2003/00000065/00000001/art00239 Temperature range for Giant Kelp http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/about/ecosystems/kelpdesc.html Temperature range and more information on eelgrass http://www.coastkeeper.org/eelgrass-in-newport-bay/ Converting °F to °C and back http://www.manuelsweb.com/temp.htm (°F - 32) x 5/9 = °C °C x 9/5 + 32 = °F Resource California’s Living Marine Resources Free to download from California Department of Fish and Game http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/status/ contains life history information and fishery status of many California fish and


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