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e d u c a t i o n

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Everblue team did what we do best: brought the ocean to you online in a way that is easy, fun, and informative!

We partnered with scientists from around the world to create unique at-home education programs to support teachers, parents, and students. Each activity is based on a published marine research paper, and available for FREE below! Scroll through to learn more about the activity and research topic, and click each lesson image to download a PDF.

Follow us @oceaneverblue to get all the latest information, and to learn more about our programs to connect you with current ocean science. 

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oceans to rivers


For this lesson, Everblue is going from freshwater to saltwater! Students will learn about the importance of salmon and other fishes that migrate between the ocean and rivers, as well as human impacts, from hopscotch, a food web activity, and a board game. This lesson is based on a paper that explored the effects of damming rivers in the northeastern United States.

RESEARCH PAPER: Damming, lost connectivity, and the historical role of anadromous fish in freshwater ecosystem dynamics. Steven Mattocks, Carolyn J. Hall, and Adrian Jordaan. 2017.


Algae with amphipods and bubbles

In this lesson, students will explore the concept of ocean acidification through a series of games, physical activity, and an at-home kitchen chemistry lesson! This lesson is based on a paper by Julie B. Schram et al. published in 2016 in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series. This research looked at how amphipods (tiny relatives of shrimp) are affected by changing pH in the ocean environment they live in.

RESEARCH PAPER: Seawater acidification more than warming presents a challenge for two Antarctic macroalgal-associated amphipods. Julie B. Schram et al. 2016.

stone crabs

A drawing of a stone crab on parchment paper

This lesson is about to get crabby! In this lesson, students will learn about crab biology and anatomy, test their reflexes, and engage in critical thinking about sustainable fisheries through an interactive crabbing game. This lesson is based on a paper published in 2018, that looks at the stone crab fishery in Florida, USA and how it affects the reflexes and health of the crabs. After completing the lesson, students will get to wonder: what makes a fishery sustainable? How can we make fisheries more sustainable so they will last from generation to generation and preserve the health of the local ecosystem?

RESEARCH PAPER: Predicting discard mortality in Florida stone crab, Menippe mercenaria, using reflexes. Stephanie M. Kronstadt, Ryan Gandy, Colin Shea. 2018.

restore the reef

Several species of reef fish swimming above coral

Get ready to dive into the reef! In this lesson, students will think about how natural spaces have been changed by humans. Activities in this lesson include a fun card game and interviewing activity to learn about community-based marine reserves. This lesson highlights research by Ruleo Camacho, a marine scientist from Antigua and Barbados who studies reef health and management.

RESEARCH PAPER: Creating a TURF from the bottom-up: Antigua’s community-based coral reef no-take reserve. Ruleo Camacho and Robert Steneck. 2016.


A penguin

Let's take a trip to Antarctica to study gentoo penguins using observations! This lesson is based on a 2019 paper by James B. McClintock, Charles D. Amsler, Margaret O. Amsler, and William R. Fraser, who have spent their careers researching the Antarctic. These scientists noticed a unique feeding pattern where the penguins would take short trips to an algae raft just offshore to eat small krill! In this lesson, students learn how useful observational data is to the scientific process.

RESEARCH PAPER: Intertidal foraging by gentoo penguins in a macroalgal raft. James B. McClintock, Charles D. Amsler, Margaret O. Amsler, and William R. Fraser. 2019.

climate change

A polar bear with a melting iceberg

In this lesson, students will grow their problem-solving skills and knowledge of climate and ocean science by conducting their own mini-research projects! They will learn how to adapt their projects based on the tools provided to them, and the information they have available. This lesson is based on a paper by Ellie S. Jones and will not only teach students about climate change, but about how scientists perform research projects over long periods of time, and how they deal with uncertainty and changing technologies.

RESEARCH PAPER: Changes in climate change: A review of the International Panel on Climate Change reports from 1990 to 2014. Ellie S. Jones. 2018. (Oregon Institute of Marine Biology research.)

big blue whales

A whale ascending to the surface

Ever wondered why whales are so big? But also… why aren’t they bigger? What limits their growth? And, how do scientists learn so much about the biggest animals on the planet? In this week’s lesson, students will answer these questions and more by exploring research by scientist Jeremy A. Goldbogen from Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station! This paper was published in the journal Science in December 2019 and explores the limits and drivers of whale size.

RESEARCH PAPER: Why whales are big but not bigger: Physiological drivers and ecological limits in the age of ocean giants. J. A. Goldbogen et al. 2019.

plastic with a purpose

Different types of plastic littering the ocean and beach

This lesson will encourage students to think about the waste we produce, where it comes from, and how we can use art and citizen science to engage both plastic producers AND individuals in the mission to use less plastic. It is based on a paper by Dr. Katie Conlon on adaptive injustice in plastic waste solutions. Dr. Conlon is a plastics scientist based out of Portland State University in Oregon, but her research has also taken her to India and Sri Lanka, where she studies plastic waste streams and management.

RESEARCH PAPER: Adaptive injustice: Responsibility to act in the plastics economy. Conlon. 2019.


A lionfish

In this lesson, we’ll be learning from lionfish! Students will meld their math, geography, and biology skills together to learn about invasive lionfish in the Caribbean. Then, they’ll spend some time thinking critically and using problem-solving to figure out how to manage these tropical reefs to keep them healthy. This lesson is based on another paper by Dr. Jahson B. Alemu I, an applied marine ecologist interested in applying ecosystems thinking to help solve conservation problems.

RESEARCH PAPER: The status and management of the lionfish, Pterois sp. in Trinidad and Tobago. Jahson B. Alemu I. 2016.

sharks and rays

A guitarfish and wedgefish swimming

Sharks and rays and shark-like rays, oh my! Welcome to the wonderful world of cartilaginous fishes. This week, students will learn all about different kinds of sharks and their relatives! Students will use a key to correctly identify different species, and will learn about fishing pressure on sharks and how to protect them! David A. Ebert, one of the paper's authors, is a world expert on shark-like rays. His exciting current research looks into learning more about undiscovered and understudied species of cartilaginous fishes.

RESEARCH PAPER: The thin edge of the wedge: Extremely high extinction risk in wedgefishes and giant guitarfishes. Peter M. Kyne et al. 2020.

adapting animals

Swimming copepods

This lesson takes students into the microscopic world of tiny planktonic crustaceans called copepods. You'll learn about how they move and how they’ve adapted to their environment, as well as how their environment is shaped by temperature and oxygen! Christine J Cass, one of the authors for the paper this lesson is based on, studies the ecology and physiology of zooplankton. She is excited about the interesting energetic adaptations that animals have to their environments. Much of her research focuses on the California Current ecosystem!

RESEARCH PAPER: Eucalanoid copepod metabolic rates in the oxygen minimum zone of the eastern tropical north Pacific: Effects of oxygen and temperature. Christine J. Cass and Kendra L. Daly. 2014.

coral bleaching

Bleached coral

We're returning to the reef with this lesson! In our very first lesson, we looked at the reef community as a whole. This time, we’re focusing on the corals themselves. Based on a paper that studied the effects of ocean warming on Caribbean coral species, students aged 3-8 grade will learn about coral biology, different kinds of animal relationships, and how changing ocean temperatures affect corals and the other organisms they support.

RESEARCH PAPER: Mass coral bleaching in 2010 in the Southern Caribbean. Jahson Berhane Alemu I and Ysharda Clement. 2014.

sedimentation exploration

A mountain with a river connecting it to the ocean. Several evergreen trees are along the river.

Curious how the Everblue team managed to make dirt exciting and educational? Check out this lesson on marine sediments! In this week’s lesson, students will learn how all kinds of scientists study the ocean; how mountains, rivers, and oceans are connected; and how human activity can affect sediment in the ocean. The paper this lesson is based on was a joint effort between universities in the Pacific Northwest, including Oregon State University and Humboldt State University, to study coastal system sediment accumulation.

RESEARCH PAPER: Natural and human impacts on centennial sediment accumulation patterns on the Umpqua River margin, Oregon. Robert A. Wheatcroft, Jeffry C. Borgeld, et al., 2013.

the sound of sand dollars

A sand dollar

Dive into this lesson on sound in the sea! During a sonar study of the mouth of Humboldt Bay, researchers noticed a few bands of backscatter, or unexplained objects found by the sonar scans. In 2001, a cohort at Humboldt State University investigated this data from 1995 and 1998 and discovered that the unexplained backscatter was from thousands of sand dollars crowding the ocean floor at the mouth of the bay! In this lesson, students will learn how sound travels in the ocean, how animals use it to communicate, and how scientists harness it to discover more about the sea! 

RESEARCH PAPER: Enhanced acoustic backscatter due to high abundance of sand dollars, Dendraster excentricus. Lori E. Fenstermacher et al., 2001.

swimming salps

A salp chain with mathematical symbols

This lesson highlights groundbreaking research from Dr. Kelly Sutherland on salps! A salp is a gelatinous floating animal that lives in the open ocean. Salps and their relatives, pyrosomes, have recently become of great interest since new climate conditions have allowed them to bloom in large numbers, particularly off of the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States.

RESEARCH PAPERS: Comparative jet wake structure and swimming performance of salps. Kelly R. Sutherland and Laurence P. Madin. 2010.

A comparison of filtration rates among pelagic tunicates using kinematic measurements. Kelly R. Sutherland and Laurence P. Madin. 2009.

Filtration of submicrometer particles by pelagic tunicates. Kelly R. Sutherland et al. 2010

tropical reef storytelling

Half colored fish and coral with colored pencils

This lesson is based on the research of Dr. Alemu, an applied marine ecologist interested in applying ecosystems thinking to help solve conservation problems. In this lesson, students will get creative while coloring different fish, coral, and seaweed species, and then apply their knowledge in an interactive storytelling game where they learn how all of the animals and plants on tropical reefs interact with and affect each other!

RESEARCH PAPER: Fish assemblages on fringing reefs in the southern Caribbean: Biodiversity, biomass and feeding types. Jahson B. Alemu I., 2014.

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