Exploring Primary Productivity

Catherine Hill, Arizona Western College
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Interacting with Data: Using interactive on-line graphs and datasets created by the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) from data collected from six oceanic arrays using hundreds of instruments, students can explore the relationships between chlorophyll production and multiple variables. They record their observations and extrapolate generalizations.

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Introductory oceanography class for either non-majors or majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Ability to read graphs.
Basic understanding of Primary Productivity, specifically the role that chlorophyll plays.

How the activity is situated in the course

Culminating project. It could work as a lab following Primary Production as it is composed of 6 stand-alone modules.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Primary Productivity/Chlorophyll Production as it relates to:
Dissolved Organic Matter; Temperature; Season and Hemisphere; Proximity to Land; Proximity to the Poles, Tropics or Mid-Latitudes; and local Major Current and its Temperature.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Analysis of Data
Pattern Recognition
Extrapolating data to general patterns
Recognizing limitations of data

Other skills goals for this activity

Ability to manipulate the datasets and graphs presented by the Ocean Observatories Initiative.

Description and Teaching Materials

The Students will follow the instructions on the lab worksheet manipulating datasets in graphic form to highlight different variables.

The lab worksheet which will include a link to:
1. Six OOI datasets

2. A wikipedia commons map
3. Five linked worksheets for the students to enter their observations
Internet Access is required.
Worksheet II (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 11kB Feb25 21)
Worksheet IV (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 12kB Feb25 21)
Worksheet V (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 12kB Feb25 21)
Worksheet VI (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 12kB Feb25 21)
Worksheet VII (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 32kB Feb25 21)

Teaching Notes and Tips

You will need to be lenient on the specific datapoints identified by students as Maximums and Minimums as well as certain seasonal dates. There is a lot of data in these graphs. Sometimes they spot points that I have overlooked!


75% or better on the assignment.

References and Resources