|Australia - acidification|
Linking schools across the oceans
South Coogee Primary School, Perth, Australia
and Moroni High School, Tarawa, Kiribati
21 October 2013
Through the Sandwatch program South Coogee Primary School in Perth, Australia is linking with Moroni High School, Tarawa, Kiribati to share information, culture and experiences relating to the coast. Sandwatch will be an opportunity for students to collect coastal data, create photo and video recordings and write stories and poems on the importance of the coast in their lives. Sharing information from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean will enhance the students understanding of the coast and the issues that they face under a changing climate.
Adopt a Beach in Perth connects students with their local coast and is an initiative of Perth Region NRM’s Coastal and Marine Program, City of Cockburn, Verve Energy and Caring for Our Country.
Ocean Acidification: Background Information
Carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere when fossils fuels are burnt,
When carbon dioxide is dissolved in the ocean a chemical reaction occurs that produces carbonic acid,
An increase in carbon dioxide leads to an increase in carbonic acid production and a lowering of the ocean pH level or increasing acidity,
Ocean water becomes more acidic which inhibits shell growth in marine animals e.g. mussels, crabs, oysters, fish, and slows the growth of coral.
When vinegar (acetic acid) is added to the samples, those containing calcium carbonate will react producing carbon dioxide (gas bubbles) and calcium acetate.
Which samples produced bubbles?
Shells Yes or No
Sand Yes or No
Limestone Rock Yes or No
Granite Rock Yes or No
Cuttlebone Yes or No
Ask the students to:
Discuss with the students what can be done to:
Websites for more information
Ocean Acidification Experiment
To determine which coastal resources may be subject to the effects of increasing ocean acidification.
Students from South Coogee Primary School, under the guidance of teacher Steven Lushey, Coastcare Officer Craig Wilson and City of Cockburn, Environment and Waste Education Officer Vicky Hartill, visited Coogee Beach on Monday 21 October 2013 to complete a series of Sandwatch activities. Activities for the excursion included ocean acidification experiment, beach width measuring and marine debris survey.
At each of the three monitoring sites, samples of the following materials were collected and stored in plastic cups.
Granite Rock (collected off site)
Approximately 20 mls of Acetic acid (white vinegar obtained from a supermarket) was added to each of the samples and any reaction recorded.
Resource materials that contained calcium carbonate reacted with vinegar (acid) forming bubbles of the gas carbon dioxide as the calcium carbonate dissolves..
As the oceans become more acidic due to increasing levels of dissolved carbon dioxide, marine organisms that rely on the formation of calcium carbonate to build their shells or skeletons (crabs, oysters, coral and others) will be affected.
The release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is expected to increase ocean acidification.
Carbon dioxide is produced from the burning of fossil fuels or from natural causes such as volcanoes.
We need to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in an attempt to reduce the level of ocean acidification.
Measure the width of the beach from the marker stick to the high water mark and record on the data sheet.
Site 1: Jetty
Site 2: Beach Access Path
Site 3: Port Coogee Seawall
The width of the beach at sites 1 & 2 has changed slightly, however site 3 has narrowed noticeably. The presence of the Port Coogee rock wall may be affecting the beach width and a further reading in another 12 months will confirm any trends.
Beach Width Measurement Sites
Marine Debris Survey
While you are searching the beach for the ocean acidification experiment samples, collect any marine debris that is on the beach and record the type of debris it is on the data sheet then bag it.
48 students cleaned 450 metres of Coogee Beach collecting 7 kg and debris. Very little debris was present and comprised plastic food wrappers and empty drink bottles.
Ocean acidification experiment at Coogee Beach.