Sami Saves the Seashells by the Seashore | Ocean Acidification | Amaze Your Brain at Home
Celebrate Earth Day this week with an experiment and discuss one form of climate change. Witness ocean acidification in action and evaluate how the increase …
Hey, everybody! It's Sami here from the Perot
Museum of Nature and Science. And in
honor of Earth Day this week, I thought
that we could do some experiments at
home all about climate change, which is a
pretty complex process because some of
these changes are hard for us to
actually see happening. So, we're only
going to focus on one variable today
that affects climate change. And that's
increasing carbon dioxide or co2 in the
atmosphere. And then the symptom of that
variable of climate change that we're
gonna do our experiments on, is ocean
acidification. We're interacting with
carbon dioxide all the time. It's what
our lungs exhale. What our car's exhaust
produce. And it's what the trees around
us soak up during photosynthesis. As
atmospheric co2 increases, some of it
actually dissolves into surface waters.
And you guessed it: a huge source of
surface water is our oceans. To see this
I'm gonna add a few drops of bromothymol
blue or an indicator that changes color
when the acidity changes within our cup.
Warm colors mean more acidic. Remember
how our lungs exhale co2? Now our oceans
might not look any different, but even a
small amount of above normal
acidification has a huge impact on the
critters that call oceans home.
Especially carbonate-based ones low on
the food chain like mollusks, corals, and
some types of plankton. I have some
mollusk shells here. Maybe you have some
If not, grab an eggshell or even some
tums! Yep, that's right.
Tums are made of calcium carbonate too.
That's why we take them when our
stomachs are feeling extra spicy. Now, our
oceans are not nearly as acidic as
even on a bad day. But remember, we're
modeling this process and trying to
speed it up. That way we can see the
impact in this three-minute video. Almost
immediately after adding your shells to
the vinegar, you can start to see bubbles
forming. This is the calcium carbonate
actually dissolving in the acid.
Eventually, after an unfortunate night
sleep for the imaginary mollusks living
inside of these shells, their home and
protection have completely dissolved.
This is happening right now to coral
reefs and marine environments all over the planet on a faster
rate than these ecosystems can repair
themselves. Our oceans do so much for our
planet. They regulate the climate, they
support almost 80% of life on Earth, and
almost 60% of humans live on or near the
coast. So, I asked some of my friends: why
are oceans important to them? The ocean
is important to me because the waves
make me feel peaceful.
Hey, Sami! My favorite vacation is to
head to the beach and get to explore and
hunt for seashells and for shark's teeth.
The ocean produces over half the world's
oxygen, and it's beautiful. And I love
long walks on the beach! So, let us know:
why are oceans important to you? We'll
see you next time when we get to amaze
our brains together at home!