Science teachers are awesome! Middle and high school teachers are on the front lines of science education, teaching a generation that not only can save our planet, but must. To do our small part to help these heroes, Ocean Genome Legacy and the Outreach Program at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center have released two new and improved online educational modules.
Plight of the Sea Stars. While humans continue to struggle with COVID-19, sea stars are suffering from a plague of their own. OGL’s newest module focuses on sea star wasting disease, an illness that is devastating sea star populations on both coasts of the United States. This lethal disease, which can quickly spread through water and physical contact, causes sea stars to lose arms, develop lesions, and eventually die.
Why do we care? Sea stars eat sea urchins, and sea urchins eat kelp. In the past few years, sea star wasting disease has decimated sea star populations, leaving the sea urchins free to devastate the great Pacific kelp forests. The collapse of these kelp forests means the collapse of the ecosystems that support fisheries, and are home to a huge diversity of important sea creatures.
Samples from OGL played an important role in supporting sea star wasting disease research. Read here to learn more about this disease and what scientists are doing to combat it.
Who’s That Fish? This month, OGL also updated our “fish forensics” module. This lesson examines the different methods that scientists use to identify fish, a task vital to population management and seafood security. Participants have the chance to perform some detective work of their own, identifying fish species using a dichotomous key and DNA barcoding. The module now includes a video that walks users through the activity, explaining the importance of proper fish identification along the way. Materials for the activity are available here.
If you’d like to see all of OGL’s education materials, check out our education resource portal.
Interested in helping us develop educational tools and share our mission? Support OGL here.