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UNIT ONE - LESSON ONE

Lesson One - Introduction

What is it?

The ocean is a unique ecosystem. Just like on land plants and animals depend on each other. Plants serve as food and shelter for some animals, while some animals serve as food to bigger animals. For the ocean to stay healthy, all the parts have to work together. Today we’re going to talk about one key component to a healthy ocean environment.

Please click on each picture to learn more.

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Image 1

This seaweed is often called kelp. It’s a giant kelp whose scientific name is macrocystis pyrifera. It is often described as a giant bladder kelp. It is actually a giant brown algae.

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Image 2

Have you seen algae growing in ponds or in your pool? It’s the same thing, only bigger, with a slightly more complex structure. Algae, like plants on land, can photosynthesize.

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Image 3

Giant Kelp grows very fast, as much as 2 feet per day, and grows in ‘forests” like the one you see here. It’s those forests that create an environment for animals to flourish.

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Image 4

Some forests are small, the size of a baseball diamond, some are huge and go on for miles along the coastline. These kelp forests help the oceanic ecosystem by supporting many kinds of animals like this green abalone. For some it is food. For some it is shelter. And for some it is a hunting ground.

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Kelp produces something called alginate. Alginate is an ingredient found in many products like shampoo, toothpaste, salad dressing, pudding, frozen foods pharmaceuticals and dairy products like ice cream. Because it grows so fast it can be harvested often.

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Many kelp forests are located in protected marine areas in different parts of the world.

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Unit One - Lesson One

Summary

  • Picture 1 - Macrocystis Pyrifora grows in large and small forests. It grows very fast, up to two feet per day.
  • Picture 2 - These forests of brown algae are key to a balanced ecosystem. They serve as food and shelter to crustaceans, like this spiny lobster, mollusks, fish and mammals.
  • Picture 3 - The alginate produced by these giant algae is harvested and used in many products like ice cream.

Please click on each picture to learn more.

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Image 1

Macrocystis Pyrifora grows in large and small forests. It grows very fast, up to two feet per day.

Student Device Simulation

Image 2

These forests of brown algae are key to a balanced ecosystem. They serve as food and shelter to crustaceans, like this spiny lobster, mollusks, fish and mammals.

Student Device Simulation

Image 3

The alginate produced by these giant algae is harvested and used in many products like ice cream.

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Unit One - Question One

The official name for this seaweed, or giant kelp is:

Results

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Unit One - Question Two

One unique feature of these giant algae is:

Results

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UNIT ONE - LESSON TWO

On the Edge of Disaster

Unit One - Lesson Two

On the Edge of Disaster

Instead of roots M. pyrifera features a holdfast, a tough, complex structure that looks like roots, that "hold" fast to rocky surfaces on the bottom of the ocean. It has stems called stipes, and "leaves" called blades. Each blade features an air bladder that helps the entire plant float erect toward the surface. Unlike plants on land, this giant kelp doesn’t produce seeds, but reproduces by releasing spores that drift out into the oecan and settle on rocks and reefs where they grow into new plants. In 1984 the kelp forests in Southern California were hit hard from multiple fronts. The water warmed due to the El Niño. The heavy rain dumped tons of debris into the water, making it cloudy. The severe storms with the accompanying surge, ripped the kelp from the bottom and piled it on the beaches. And if that wasn’t enough, there was a population bloom of purple sea urchins, that instead of feeding on broken off pieces of healthy kelp, foraged instead for any kelp at all. As new plants tried to grow they were eaten. What followed was nearly 20 years of barren ocean bottom landscapes. The once thriving ecosystem of the kelp forests were gone. Gone too were the animals that relied on the kelp for food and shelter. Volunteer groups got involved and began growing kelp in school classrooms and planting the juvenile plants on the bottom of pre-prepared reef sites.

As you watch the video pay attention to the different ways man is working to assist nature to maintain balance for the California Coastline.

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Image 1

Macrocystis Pyrifera reproduces through the release of spores that float free and anchor on the bottom of the ocean.

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Image 2

The structure includes a “holdfast,” tough material that serves to anchor the plant to the bottom.

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Image 3

To reproduce this kelp requires cold water.

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Image 4

To photosynthesize it requires clear water.

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Image 5

Without a stable substrate, the plant has nothing to hold it to the bottom, so requires rocky reefs or man-made reefs like oil derricks and scuttled ships.

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Volunteer groups got involved and began growing kelp in school classrooms and planting the juvenile plants on the bottom of pre-prepared reef sites.

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Unit One - Lesson Two

Summary

Mother nature handed our good friend the Giant Kelp and the coastline of California a knock out blow.

What did man do?

Picture 1 - We took action to protect and help our precious ecosystem that is home for all things including humans.

Picture 2 - Volunteer groups got involved and began growing kelp in school classrooms and planting the juvenile plants on the bottom of pre-prepared reef sites.

Picture 3 - Civil and state laws were passed to curtail construction waste and run-off.

Please click on each picture to learn more.

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Image 1

Volunteer groups got involved and began growing kelp in school classrooms and planting the juvenile plants on the bottom of pre-prepared reef sites.

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Image 2

To photosynthesize it requires clear water.

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Image 3

Civil and state laws were passed to curtail construction waste and run-off.

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Unit One - Question Three

What two factors lead to the die-off of the giant kelp?

Results

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Unit One - Question Four

Giant kelp requires, (choose two):

Results

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Wrap Up

Question 1: The official name for this seaweed, or giant kelp is:

Answer Percent
a) Macrocystis giganticus 10.1
b) Macrocystis pyrifera 69.9
c) Macrogigantic pyriferosa .3

Question 2: One unique feature of these giant algae is:

Answer Percent
a) They grow in undersea forests 15.8
b) They are home to many unique creatures 19.4
c) Each individual can grow 2 feet per day 5.3
d) All of the above 70.3

Question 3: What two factors lead to the die-off of the giant kelp?

Answer Percent
a) The 1984 El Niño and too many boaters 15.8
b) The 1984 El Niño and street run-off 19.4
c) Overfishing and sewage 5.3
d) Overfishing and over population 70.3

Question 4: Giant kelp requires, (choose two):

Answer Percent
a) Cold clear water 15.8
b) Fewer boats in the water 19.4
c) A rocky bottom 5.3
d) A windy shoreline 70.3
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This giant kelp serves many purposes:

  • It protects the coastline
  • It provides food and shelter for many animals
  • It provides a hunting ground for many animals
  • Is a renewable resource
  • Can be harvested for food and products
  • Is a sign of a healthy coastal ecosystem
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Image 1

It protects the coastline.

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Image 2

It provides food and shelter for many animals.

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Image 3

It provides a hunting ground for many animals.

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