Ocean Literacy Principle #5

Ocean Literacy Principle #5

Photo ©Kip Evans

  1. Ocean life ranges in size from the smallest virus to the largest animal that has lived on Earth, the blue whale.
  2. Most life in the ocean exists as microbes. Microbes are the most important primary producers in the ocean. Not only are they the most abundant life form in the ocean, they have extremely fast growth rates and life cycles.
  3. Some major groups are found exclusively in the ocean. The diversity of major groups of organisms is much greater in the ocean than on land.
  4. Ocean biology provides many unique examples of life cycles, adaptations and important relationships among organisms (such as symbiosis, predator-prey dynamics and energy transfer) that do not occur on land.
  5. The ocean is three-dimensional, offering vast living space and diverse habitats from the surface through the water column to the seafloor. Most of the living space on Earth is in the ocean.
  6. Ocean habitats are defined by environmental factors. Due to interactions of abiotic factors such as salinity, temperature, oxygen, pH, light, nutrients, pressure, substrate and circulation, ocean life is not evenly distributed temporally or spatially, i.e., it is “patchy”. Some regions of the ocean support more diverse and abundant life than anywhere on Earth, while much of the ocean is considered a desert.
  7. There are deep ocean ecosystems that are independent of energy from sunlight and photosynthetic organisms. Hydrothermal vents, submarine hot springs, and methane cold seeps rely only on chemical energy and chemosynthetic organisms to support life.
  8. Tides, waves and predation cause vertical zonation patterns along the shore, influencing the distribution and diversity of organisms.
  9. Estuaries provide important and productive nursery areas for many marine and aquatic species.

Alignment of Scope & Sequence to Fundamental Concepts

This chart indicates how the Scope and Sequence aligns with Ocean Literacy Principle 5. The grade band runs across the top; the fundamental concepts for Principle 5 run down the left column. There are three levels of alignment:

[blank]= no alignment; x = mentions concepts; XX = addresses concepts in depth

Fundamental Concepts

Principle 5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.

K-2 3-5 6-8 9-12
5a x x XX XX
5b   x XX XX
5c x x XX XX
5d x XX XX XX
5e   XX x x
5f x XX XX XX
5g x x x x
5h     XX XX
5i   x x x