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Authors

The Kid Should See This, PBS NewsHour

Grades

6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Science, Biology, Physics

Resource Types

  • Video, 10 minutes, 47 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Article
  • Video, 14 seconds

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - South

Why Are Mangrove Trees So Important?

Synopsis
  • This video and short article describe the spread of mangrove trees further north as climate change reduces the amount of hard freezes along the Florida coast. 
  • The potentially positive ecological effects of an increased mangrove range are discussed, along with research projects like the Wet Feet Project, which studies the transition of mangroves further north along the Atlantic coast. 
  • The video also highlights the ecosystem services provided by mangrove ecosystems such as wave mitigation, erosion control, fish nurseries, and blue carbon storage. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This video highlights some interesting effects of climate change that could help balance out some of the losses of mangroves from other human activities or excessive saltwater intrusion.
  • The term "blue carbon" is highlighted, which helps students understand the importance of protecting coastal habitats.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar the concept of increasingly severe weather as an effect of climate change.
  • The additional short video provides an example of the power of mangroves to absorb wave energy, which could be replicated in a class experiment or demonstration.

Differentiation

  • Consider having students research weather patterns in Florida over the past few decades to understand the causes of changing ecosystems.
  • Have students pair up to discuss the potential pros and cons of expanded mangrove forests along the Florida coast.
  • Biology and environmental science classes could use this resource to discuss the benefits of mangrove forests as hotspots of biodiversity, carbon sequestration powerhouses, coastal storm protectors, and water filtering plants.
  • Other resources related to this topic include The Solution to Climate Change is All Around Us and A Natural Solution to Climate Change.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a 12-minute video produced by PBS and it details the importance of mangroves, not only for the current benefits they provide, but also the potential benefits of expanded mangrove forests due to climate change. This resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • MS-LS1-5 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • HS-LS2-5 Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    • PS2: Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
      • MS-PS2-1 Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
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