Associated Shape of Life Content
Whether one rates success in terms of numbers, number of species, range of habitats exploited or simply as a total mass of animal tissue, the limbed creatures clearly have the advantage.
Marine arthropods are the most abundant group of animals in the ocean.
Students explore the diversity and adaptations of marine arthropods.
Much of our interaction with marine arthropods is through eating crustaceans like lobsters and crabs. In 2021 the Dungeness crab fishery in some areas of the west coast was closed to avoid whale entanglements with the gear.
Marine arthropods are likely to be impacted by climate change in many ways and some are already feeling the heat. Ocean warming is likely to alter the distribution and lifecycle of ecologically important Antarctic krill.
Copepods are tiny marine arthropods that are very diverse and are the most numerous multi-celled animals in the aquatic community. As zooplankton, they play a major role in the ocean’s food web.
Scientists have found evidence of a complex brain in a fossil arthropod that’s estimated to be 520 million years old. This extinct crustacean’s brain supports some scientists’ hypothesis that once a basic brain evolved, it changed little.
Read THE MARINE ARTHROPODS A Successful Design from the Shape of Life book.
Antoni Gaudi, the famous Spanish architect, found his inspirations from nature. From trees to light to whale bones, Gaudi used solutions from nature for structural support or decoration. He is not unique in using natural engineering to solve problems in our daily lives. In this lesson, we will investigate how, through the process of evolution, animals have solved their engineering problems and how people have mimicked those natural solutions.
After note taking during the phyla episodes of the shapeoflife.org, student pairs will randomly pick an invertebrate from the hat. After doing more in-depth research on their chosen invertebrate, student pairs will design and create a flyer that will promote the invertebrate’s special abilities. Furthermore, the students will find at least one video clip of their invertebrate from the shapeoflife.org website to present to the class as evidence of their claims. Finally the student pair will argue why their invertebrate should be crowned the “World’s Most Awesome Invertebrate.”
A list of questions about the characteristics of marine arthropods to use after viewing the video Marine Arthropods: A Successful Design.
In this activity students explore how animals are classified. For centuries taxonomists have been classifying the diversity of animal life based on observations and measurements of animals’ body plans. And now, with DNA sequencing, scientists have for the most part confirmed the work of earlier taxonomists. Students will learn the characteristics that define five of the major invertebrate phyla by watching videos, reading and sorting animal cards. The phyla are: Cnidarians, Annelids, Arthropods, Molluscs, and Echinoderms.
By Nancy Burnett, Founder, Shape of Life
I just went to a wonderful workshop about plankton. We may as well fess up to the fact that there’s a whole world out there in the ocean that we haven't told you about, yet. Most marine animals that we know and love started out in life looking very different from what they look like as adults.
At the beginning of life, they hatch out of eggs that float in the water or are attached to the bottom of the ocean. The tiny larvae feed, grow and change form in the ocean as part of the zooplankton. These fragile, otherworldly creatures swim or drift in the currents for months at a time before settling to the bottom to change into adults.
Our last blog by Jane Silberstein revealed the beauty of the coral reefs of Fiji (I wish I had been on that trip!) and how climate change affects those extraordinary reefs.
Jane shared how changing ocean chemistry – ocean acidification – makes it more difficult for corals to build their reefs because they can’t absorb the necessary calcium carbonate. It’s our actions over the last 200 years that have changed the ocean: we have released about two trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And about a quarter of that has been absorbed by the oceans.
Read more about how you can help slow ocean acidification…