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Oceanic Food Web

Office of Biological and Environmental Research of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research Information System (BERIS)

This visualization illustrates the carbon cycle throughout the oceanic zones, beginning at the surface and traveling to the deep. The concept map-like connections encourage students to link the abiotic and biotic interactions within the oceanic food web.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

The abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is controlled by biogeochemical cycles that continually move these components between their ocean, land, life, and atmosphere reservoirs. The abundance of carbon in the atmosphere is reduced through seafloor accumulation of marine sediments and accumulation of plant biomass and is increased through deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels as well as through other processes.
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2d
Life—including microbes, plants, and animals and humans—is a major driver of the global carbon cycle and can influence global climate by modifying the chemical makeup of the atmosphere. The geologic record shows that life has significantly altered the atmosphere during Earth’s history.
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3e

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Image could be used to help high school or undergraduate students make more complex connections in understanding pelagic marine food webs. A single organism could be highlighted and the path of energy traced throughout its interactions. Food web could be viewed in terms of oceanic levels, and students could compare interactions based on depth.
  • Can use as pre- and post- test with questions.

About the Science

  • Carbon flow and carbon fate in the ocean biological and physical pump.
  • Comment from expert scientist: Overall, this is a good review of the oceanic food web. The figure is interesting.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • The dynamic interactions of a marine pelagic food web are always challenging to document. This visualization does a good job at introducing some of the major players in a food web and initiating the connections for students. The additional text explaining the carbon flow and the references provided give educators the background needed to clarify misconceptions.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Image can be viewed at full size or medium resolutions.

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