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Database Provider


The Nature Conservancy


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Article
  • Video, 2 minutes, 24 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New York, Long Island

A Collective Effort to Help Eelgrass Adapt to Climate Change

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  • This article and video discuss current research studying the resiliency of different eelgrass populations in a changing climate in hopes of restoring eelgrass populations along the coast of Long Island.
  • Students will learn about this effective carbon sink, which provides an essential habitat for marine species and many ecosystem services, and how human impacts threaten it.
Teaching Tips


  • This article includes examples of similar research related to assisted migration and geographic variation in species, providing excellent options for further study.
  • The video describes the issues facing eelgrass succinctly and shows the duties of a marine science researcher.
  • Since eelgrass is an important carbon sink, this could lead to a conversation about prioritizing ecosystems for protection and restoration in a rapidly changing climate.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with basic ecological terms and concepts such as species range, migration, tolerance, growing conditions, genetic diversity, carbon sinks, and different geographic populations of species.


  • Have students watch the video in pairs before reading the article, and have them write down and discuss two things they would like to learn more about.
  • Consider reading the article as a class with a map of Long Island pulled up on the board and stop after every few paragraphs to discuss.
  • Ask students if they think common gardens are an effective solution for finding heat-tolerant eelgrass variants and if researchers could use citizen scientists to help with eelgrass restoration.
Scientist Notes
This resource from The Nature Conservancy highlights work to restore eelgrass, a foundational species, along the coast of Long Island, New York. The resource expresses that eelgrass is at risk from climate change and is, at the same time, a powerful carbon sink that is a vital part of mitigating climate change. This resource is exceptionally well-sourced, with links to the project report and peer-reviewed articles. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-3 Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Geography
      • D2.Geo.4.9-12 Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
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