Sora Journal

Student Showcase - "Commotion in the Ocean"

By Sora Schools

In the “Commotion in the Ocean” STEM Expedition, students learn about the changing chemistry of the ocean and how it affects the world. They create a public service announcement analyzing the cause and effect of ocean acidification levels of a particular ecosystem or region of their choice.

Three students presented their projects from this Expedition. 

Darah M. 

Darah focused her project on ocean acidification in Koh Tao, Indonesia. First, she explored the declining pH level of the ocean.

“There’s something called carbonic acid that is produced in the water and that harms a lot of ocean creatures with a certain type of shell. The water gets so corrosive that it makes them lose their shells,” said Darah. 

She also researched the impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs in the area. 

“Something that stood out to me is that 25% of ocean life depends on coral reefs for survival,” said Darah.

In Koh Tao, the coral coverage reduced from 41.2% to 27.1%. When the temperature of the water rises, the coral can’t photosynthesize with the algae. As part of her project, Darah created a petition to try to raise awareness for ocean acidification in Koh Tao. 

Augie S.

Augie’s project is a public service announcement video called SOS - Save Our Shores. 

Augie’s video showcased the transformation of ocean coral being bleached due to ocean acidification and explained the science behind it.

The video explained that if the ocean’s pH gets too low, coral won’t be able to maintain its skeleton and will begin to dissolve, unable to repair itself.

“What happens when the coral is gone? The Great Barrier Reef is a large ecosystem with an equally large food web made of 9000 known species, so losing the ecosystem itself creates a domino effect that will come back to us,” Augie said, closing the video.

“I think you should be super proud that you were able to learn something in 6 weeks and be able to do an actual science communication piece that communicates information in a really understandable and fun way to hear, I think you should be super proud,” said Diego Echanove, the STEM expert hosting this portion of the Student Showcase. 

A. Porter

Porter shared that they were currently on a boat as they shared their presentation about ocean research! How exciting that Sora students can truly be anywhere. 

Porter created a comic-style PSA with a professor jellyfish character to teach younger children about ocean acidification. 

“An ocean basically eats CO2 and becomes more acidic,” said Porter. Porter’s comic strip explained the process of ocean acidification and coral reef bleaching. 

Porter’s project focused on the change in pH in the Gulf of Mexico, including a chart showing the pH in 1970, 2000, and a predicted pH for 2030. 

“I made a call to action and a few different solutions,” said Porter. “There are options like recycling, boycotting big carbon emission producers, signing a petition, taking the bus. There’s not a one-solution fits all but there are small solutions that we can work together to create a big solution one day hopefully.”

Read more about the 2024 Student Showcase here