· Oceans cover about 70 percent of the surface of Earth.
· Important features of the ocean floor near the continents are the continental shelf, the continental slope, and the continental rise. These areas are covered with thick layers of sediments (sand, mud, rocks).
· The depth of the ocean varies. Ocean trenches are very deep, and the continental shelf is relatively shallow.
· Ocean water is a complex mixture of gases (air) and dissolved solids (salts, especially sodium chloride). Marine organisms are dependent on dissolved gases for survival. The salinity of ocean water varies in some places depending on rates of evaporation and amount of runoff from nearby land.
· The basic motions of ocean water are the waves, currents, and tides.
· Ocean currents, including the Gulf Stream, are caused by wind patterns and the differences in water densities (due to salinity and temperature differences). Ocean currents affect the mixing of ocean waters. This can affect plant and animal populations. Currents also affect navigation routes.
· As the depth of ocean water increases, the temperature decreases, the pressure increases, and the amount of light decreases. These factors influence the type of life forms that are present at a given depth.
· Plankton are tiny free-floating organisms that live in water. Plankton may be animal-like or plant-like. Animal-like plankton are called zooplankton. Plant-like plankton (phytoplankton) carry out most of the photosynthesis on Earth. Therefore, they provide much of Earth’s oxygen. Phytoplankton form the base of the ocean food web. Plankton flourish in areas where nutrient-rich water upwells from the deep.
In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will
· create and interpret a model of the ocean floor and label and describe each of the major features.
· research and describe the variation in depths associated with ocean features, including the continental shelf, slope, rise, the abyssal plain, and ocean trenches.
· design an investigation (including models and simulations) related to physical characteristics of the ocean environment (depth, salinity, formation of waves, causes of tides, and currents, such as the Gulf Stream).
· interpret graphical data related to physical characteristics of the ocean.
· explain the formation of ocean currents and describe and locate the Gulf Stream.
· design an investigation (including models and simulations) related to ecological relationships of the ocean environment.
· interpret graphical data related to the ecological characteristics of the ocean, such as the number of organisms vs. the depth of the water.
· analyze how the physical characteristics (depth, salinity, and temperature) of the ocean affect where marine organism can live.
· create and interpret a model of a basic marine food web, including floating organisms (plankton), swimming organisms, and organisms living on the ocean floor.