Exploration Expedition Option #2: Exploring a Marine Ecosystem Virtually

Exploration Expedition Option #2: Exploring a Marine Ecosystem Virtually
Many institutions are providing great virtual field trips all over the world for remote learning. Here’s your chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef, the Pacific Northwest, coastal Peru, or California’s elephant seals!

Your assignment will include:

· The title of the virtual field trip, the institution presenting the virtual field trip (ex: Nature Conservancy), and a link to the video

· Photo or screenshots of at least 3 interesting scenes or slides (may include a photo of you watching or working on this!).

· A paragraph describing the place, including the type of the ecosystem (see image on assignment page), at least 2 organisms you observed, and an observation of how humans interact with that marine ecosystem. Try to connect to what we’ve learned in class this semester and explain your screenshots. Tell us at least two interesting things you learned about/at your destination. (250-word minimum)

· A paragraph stating your opinions and reflection about your expedition (How did you choose your destination? What did you think about it? What was your favorite part of your trip and why? Do you want to go back or recommend it to your classmates?). (250-word minimum)

Suggested sources include:

· Expedition to the Great Barrier Reef

· (Links to an external site.)

· (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED with worksheet to fill out based on videos, collecting, and analyzing data from a real study – follow instructions instead of assignment above)

· David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef virtual expedition

· (Links to an external site.)

· (this is interactive where you check out 5 different sites, including a research ship – recommended by past students!)

· Learn about pollution (including eutrophication and biomagnification, which are major problems for many marine ecosystems) in this SimBio virtual lab

· (Links to an external site.)


· Discovery Education: Polar Bears on the Tundra

· (Links to an external site.)


· PBS’s Changing Seas

· (Links to an external site.)

· episodes (at least 2 episodes for >40 minutes), such as

· American Samoa’s Resilient Coral Reefs,

· Peru’s Desert Penguins,

· Majestic Mantas (Mexico’s Pacific coast),

· Dolphins: Breaking the Code (dolphin behavior in Bahamas), or

· Lord of the Wetlands (crocodiles in Jamaica)

· Netflix’s Our Planet episodes on Frozen Worlds, Coastal Seas, or High Seas ( watch at least one episode available on Netflix or free on YouTube

· (Links to an external site.)

· during COVID-19 pandemic)

· Mission Blue (

· trailer

· (Links to an external site.)


· & on Netflix) tells the story of world-renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle as she travels the globe on an urgent mission to shed light on the dire condition of Earth’s oceans.

· Sea of Shadows (National Geographic documentary “multinational team of scientists, activists, journalists and undercover agents go up against drug cartels and illegal traffickers to save the most endangered whale on Earth” the Vaquita in Gulf of CA, Mexico – available on

· YouTube

· (Links to an external site.)


· and other services with purchase or subscription)

· Galapagos: Hope for the Future

· (Links to an external site.)

· from Charles Darwin Foundation and other organization (trailer only – Kristin can give you information to watch free)

· Nature Conservancy Virtual Field Trips

· (Links to an external site.)

· (watch at least one video)

· The Secret Life of Corals: A Dominican Republic Adventure

· View from a Canoe: Exploring the World’s Largest Coastal Temperate Rainforest (Pacific Northwest coastline featuring people of the First Nations)

· Coral Reefs of Palau

· Coastal Peru: A Coastal Ecosystem

· Sanctuaries 360 videos

· (Links to an external site.)

· from the U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries (watch all videos and be sure to move 360 degrees!)

· Coral restoration

· Hawaiian reefs

· Sea lion encounter at CA Channel Islands (nearby!)

· NOAA’s Every Full Moon Collection

· (Links to an external site.)

· – choose and list a combination of videos from below and more for at least 40 minutes

· Shipwrecked! (including Titanic, World War II, and more!)

· Adventures of a Maritime Archaeologist

· The Future of Ocean Farming

· Trash Talk: Marine Debris

· Endangered Ocean

· Animals of the Ice

· Mysteries of the Deep with Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

· (Links to an external site.)

· (watch at least one of the videos)

· California State Parks PORTS Program (designed for K-12 students, but still interesting – watch at least one of the videos)

· Discover Northern Elephant Seals at Hearst San Simeon State Beach

· (Links to an external site.)


· A Kayak Adventure though Point Lobos State Marine Reserve

· (Links to an external site.)


· UC Santa Cruz Natural Reserves

· (Links to an external site.)

· (watch at least the 4 videos listed below of coastal ecosystems)

· Fort Ord

· Younger Lagoon (this is right next to the UCSC Marine Lab where Kristin completed her Ph.D!)

· Año Nuevo (elephant seals!)

· Landels-Hill Big Creek

· The Extraordinary Sea Otter

· (Links to an external site.)

· (Sea Otter Savvy and Defenders of Wildlife) – Tour the special places that play a part in the past, present and future recovery of California’s sea otters! This is not a video, but a map you can explore. Rather than exploring a particular place or ecosystem, you can learn all about a particular species.

· Blue Realm natural history series

· (Links to an external site.)

· on YouTube from Real Wild – includes fascinating episodes such as (watch at least 1 episode > 40 minutes)

· Ship Sinkers (artificial reefs)

· Whale Sharks: Gentle Giants of the Sea

· Can We Save the Manatee?

· Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Creature Features

· (Links to an external site.)

· – watch at least two short videos and do at least one activity appropriate to your age (great dancing and art video/activities for kids, but you can skip those!). Kristin recommends the Salt Marsh

· (Links to an external site.)

· .

· Florida’s Everglades wetlands – combine videos to watch at least 40 minutes about America’s largest wetlands.

· How a Giant Lazy River of Grass Became the Everglades by Smithsonian Channel

· (Links to an external site.)


· American Experience: The Swamp by PBS

· (Links to an external site.)

· (2 hrs long documentary free with Amazon Prime or PBS membership, first chapter totally free

· (Links to an external site.)

· mostly on history)

· Meet the Residents of Everglades National Park

· (Links to an external site.)


· by National Geographic

· Everglades Invasives by Everglades National Park

· (Links to an external site.)


· (2011 – kind of old)

· Florida Everglades: Research for Restoration

· (Links to an external site.)


· (40 minutes – not necessarily a great resource, but looks pretty good)

· Everglades Mountains and Valleys series

· (Links to an external site.)

· by Everglades National Park (at least

· Mangroves

· (Links to an external site.)


· and

· Florida Bay

· (Links to an external site.)


· – others in this 2012 kid-friendly series are probably great too, but these are the most focused on marine ecosystems)

Option #2 for an Exploration Expedition: Investigating a Marine Ecosystem Virtually
Many educational institutions throughout the world provide fantastic virtual field trips for remote study. This is your chance to visit the Great Barrier Reef, the Pacific Northwest, coastal Peru, or the elephant seals of California!

Your task will comprise the following:

The title of the virtual field trip, the organization that is delivering the virtual field trip (for example, the Nature Conservancy), and a link to the video

Photographs or screenshots of at least three fascinating scenes or slides (you may add a photograph of yourself watching or working on this!).

A paragraph explaining the location, including the type of habitat (see image on assignment page), at least two creatures you observed, and how humans interact with that marine ecosystem.

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