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5: Major Marine Phyla - Biology
For the last six weeks, my twenty-nine sixth graders have been studying marine biology. They have been exposed to the subject through their background reading in their Tidal Biology packet (xeroxed) and through the Marine Biology Electronic Learning Packet. They also have created a tide pool scene in the classroom complete with a large colored mural, shells and other specimens, and sand. My students' basic knowledge thus far has been evaluated through open-note quizzes. They will also be tested on the identification and characteristics of specific marine animals. However, in order to raise their level of understanding of the the characteristics of marine phyla, students will now be involved in a number of projects and activities that develop their thinking and inquiry skills.
These sixth graders are unique in several ways. They are very proficient in computer use. They have been word processing since the beginning of the year, they have completed several HyperStudio stacks, and they have all created web sites. They have not yet had experience with data bases, although many have used spreadsheets in my math class. Roughly half of my students are online at home and nearly three quarters have computers at home. Linguistically, they are a homogeneous group with average to above-average skills. There are many gifted students in the group and four students who receive resource specialist care for some part of the day.
Because of the depth of a unit such as this, the focus of this project will be only on tide pool animals, their classification, characteristics, and their struggle for survival. Below is a list of the general goals for this teaching unit.
- Build a data base of marine phyla
- Create a unique animal that fits the characteristics of any single phylum
- Create a HyperStudio stack or a web site on the five phyla we have studied
- Provide a written description of a featured animal through Expert's Journal entry
Lesson 1: The Marine Phyla Data Base
The class will brainstorm, order and categorize concepts about marine biology animals. They will construct a retrieval chart using the Inductive Strategy of Hilda Taba in a teacher-directed series of lessons. Once the retrieval chart is organized and relatively complete, students will be introduced to a data base, shown how to enter data in a form and grouped in such a way as to allow all students to enter records from the class chart. Materials required for this lesson are students' Tidal Biology packets, the Marine Biology Electronic Learning Packet, butcher paper, colored markers, index cards, tape, and a data base application (ClarisWorks in this particular case).
Marine biology can be contrasted with biological oceanography. Marine life is a field of study both in marine biology and in biological oceanography. 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 is similar to marine biology, but it studies ocean life from a different perspective. 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).    Biological oceanography also investigates the role of microbes in food webs, and how humans impact the ecosystems in the oceans.  
Marine habitats can be divided into coastal and open ocean habitats. Coastal habitats are found in the area that extends from the shoreline to the edge of the continental shelf. Most marine life is found in coastal habitats, even though the shelf area occupies only seven percent of the total ocean area. Open ocean habitats are found in the deep ocean beyond the edge of the continental shelf. Alternatively, marine habitats can be divided into pelagic and demersal habitats. Pelagic habitats are found near the surface or in the open water column, away from the bottom of the ocean and affected by ocean currents, while demersal habitats are near or on the bottom. Marine habitats can be modified by their inhabitants. Some marine organisms, like corals, kelp and sea grasses, are ecosystem engineers which reshape the marine environment to the point where they create further habitat for other organisms.
Intertidal and near shore Edit
Intertidal zones, the areas that are close to the shore, are constantly being exposed and covered by the ocean's tides. A huge array of life can be found within this zone. Shore habitats span from the upper intertidal zones to the area where land vegetation takes prominence. It can be underwater anywhere from daily to very infrequently. Many species here are scavengers, living off of sea life that is washed up on the shore. Many land animals also make much use of the shore and intertidal habitats. A subgroup of organisms in this habitat bores and grinds exposed rock through the process of bioerosion.
Estuaries are also near shore and influenced by the tides. An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it and with a free connection to the open sea.  Estuaries form a transition zone between freshwater river environments and saltwater maritime environments. They are subject both to marine influences—such as tides, waves, and the influx of saline water—and to riverine influences—such as flows of fresh water and sediment. The shifting flows of both sea water and fresh water provide high levels of nutrients both in the water column and in sediment, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world. 
Reefs comprise some of the densest and most diverse habitats in the world. The best-known types of reefs are tropical coral reefs which exist in most tropical waters however, reefs can also exist in cold water. Reefs are built up by corals and other calcium-depositing animals, usually on top of a rocky outcrop on the ocean floor. Reefs can also grow on other surfaces, which has made it possible to create artificial reefs. Coral reefs also support a huge community of life, including the corals themselves, their symbiotic zooxanthellae, tropical fish and many other organisms.
Much attention in marine biology is focused on coral reefs and the El Niño weather phenomenon. In 1998, coral reefs experienced the most severe mass bleaching events on record, when vast expanses of reefs across the world died because sea surface temperatures rose well above normal.   Some reefs are recovering, but scientists say that between 50% and 70% of the world's coral reefs are now endangered and predict that global warming could exacerbate this trend.    
Open ocean Edit
The open ocean is relatively unproductive because of a lack of nutrients, yet because it is so vast, in total it produces the most primary productivity. The open ocean is separated into different zones, and the different zones each have different ecologies.  Zones which vary according to their depth include the epipelagic, mesopelagic, bathypelagic, abyssopelagic, and hadopelagic zones. Zones which vary by the amount of light they receive include the photic and aphotic zones. Much of the aphotic zone's energy is supplied by the open ocean in the form of detritus.
Deep sea and trenches Edit
The deepest recorded oceanic trench measured to date is the Mariana Trench, near the Philippines, in the Pacific Ocean at 10,924 m (35,840 ft). At such depths, water pressure is extreme and there is no sunlight, but some life still exists. A white flatfish, a shrimp and a jellyfish were seen by the American crew of the bathyscaphe Trieste when it dove to the bottom in 1960.  In general, the deep sea is considered to start at the aphotic zone, the point where sunlight loses its power of transference through the water.  Many life forms that live at these depths have the ability to create their own light known as bio-luminescence. Marine life also flourishes around seamounts that rise from the depths, where fish and other sea life congregate to spawn and feed. Hydrothermal vents along the mid-ocean ridge spreading centers act as oases, as do their opposites, cold seeps. Such places support unique biomes and many new microbes and other lifeforms have been discovered at these locations. 
Marine and Aquatic Sciences
Classes are lecture only, with a lab, on campus or online.
Marine and Aquatic Sciences
A Marine Science course is an excellent choice for a student looking to fulfil his or her SBCC General Education requirement. The labs for BIOL 124 and BIOL 125 use the harbor and the local beaches as field trip destinations. Students interested in a Marine Biology major should take the Biological Sciences majors sequence. Students are encouraged to supplement this sequence with courses in Marine Science. However, students should be aware that the Marine Sciences courses will not count towards the Biological Sciences major.
Within Area 5 of IGETC students need to complete one class from Area 5a (Physical Sciences) and one class from Area 5b (Biological Sciences). One of these classes needs to have a lab and the two classes together need to total 7 - 9 semester units.
4 units, lecture + lab. Offered on campus Fall semesters only. Instructor: Michelle Paddack
This course provides a broad knowledge of the biological nature of the world's oceans. Biological Oceanography is the science that relates the living organisms found in the oceans to the physical oceanographic conditions found in their particular regional habitat. In lab, you use oceanographic measuring instruments to study the ocean's characteristics including chemicals, temperature, light, pressure, and currents. You also use biologic sampling equipment to gather marine organisms. Sample syllabus.
There are four Student Learning Outcomes for this class:
1. Adaptations - Describe basic adaptations that occur in marine pelagic organisms to facilitate buoyancy, migrations, and reproduction.
2. Communities - Compare and contrast marine benthic communities in tropical, polar, and deep-sea marine environments.
3. Lab - Recognize the major pieces of oceanographic equipment, what each one samples or measures, and what the sample or measurement can tell about the ocean.
4. Physical - Summarize the major physical aspects of the oceans (salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, pH), how each one varies or does not vary, and how each one affects marine life (geographically and/or seasonally).
4 unit, lecture + lab. Offered on campus Spring semesters only. Instructor: Michelle Paddack
This course emphasizes the ecological relationships of the common marine plants and animals found along the Santa Barbara County coastline. Through lecture, laboratory work, and field trips, you study marine plants, marine invertebrates and vertebrates and their life cycles, tidal cycles, intertidal niches and zones, adaptive mechanisms of estuarine plants and animals, and marine food chains. Oceanic characteristics (temperature, oxygen, salinity) are studied in the context of the survival of these marine organisms. Sample syllabus.
The course objectives for this class are:
1. Define the major ecological principles operating in marine communities.
2. Describe marine plankton as the base of most marine food webs.
3. Identify the major groups of marine organisms.
4. Compare the major littoral habitats (sand, rock, mud), the species of marine organisms commonly found in each one, and their adaptations to the habitat.
5. Specify the major marine physical and biological forces at work in littoral zones (these concepts can be applied anywhere in the world).
3 units, lecture only. Online. Offered occasionally. Instructor: Larry Friesen
The course objectives for this class are:
- explain general biological principles as displayed in the rich diversity of aquatic life forms and associations.
- discuss the interrelationships among electromagnetic radiation, the physical environment and living organisms in marine and freshwater ecosystems.
- identify the common living organisms in marine and freshwater habitats and describe the characteristics by which they are classified.
- describe the methods used in collecting, recording and interpreting data related to water analysis, biodiversity evaluation and tracking.
- compare and contrast the adaptations of organisms from different aquatic ecosystems and different phyla.
- describe the history, advances, diversification and biogeography of aquatic life on Earth through time.
3 units, lecture only. Offered online in the Fall and Spring semesters and usually one summer sessions. Instructor: Michelle Paddack
This course introduces students to the basic concepts of marine science, including an introduction to oceanography and marine biology. Students gain a general understanding of ocean properties, marine ecology of the tropics, poles, temperate and deep-sea regions, and marine environmental concerns. This is a three-unit non-major's biology course which satisfies the SBCC General Education requirement in Natural Sciences. This course is transferable to the UC & CSU as a general education life science course. Biology majors are welcome to take this course, however they will not receive credit toward their major for this course. Sample syllabus
- Animating Narratives: Disney, Documentaries, & Designing College Personal Statements
- Computers and COVID: An Introduction to Programing and Computational Biology
- Critical Thinking
- Disease Detectives : An Introduction to Epidemiology
- Introduction to 2D Art: Making art with drawing, painting, and more!
- Introduction to Bioinformatics
- Introduction to Biophysics
- Introduction to Cognitive Science
- Introduction to Human Emotion: An Emotional Approach to Critical Thinking and Critical Writing
- Introduction to Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
- Introduction to Modern World History
- Introduction to Python Programming
- Language and Identity for Bilingual Writers
- Media Matters: Stereotypes and Social Change in Popular Media
- Music, Life, and Knowledge
- Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Climate Change and the Ocean
- Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Marine Biology
- Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Marine Invertebrates
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