The structure of sea ice is different than fresh water ice. Sea ice has many little channels in which microscopic plants, animals, and other organisms can live. Freshwater ice does not have these channels.
(4+ hours preparation)
Well in advance of the activity, you'll need to prepare the ice samples. This is easy to set up the night before to ensure your ice samples are completely frozen.
People often think about well-known species such as the polar bear being affected by melting sea ice in the Arctic, but other species will be affected too. Animals, such as sea stars (starfish) and sea urchins, live on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. They rely on food falling from above in the form of marine snow. It is called marine snow because it looks like falling snowflakes underwater, and is created by algae that live in the holes in the bottom of the sea ice. With sea ice, there is no marine snow, and without marine snow, there is much less food for sea stars and sea urchins.
Find out more about the different living things in the Arctic and how they are connected using the lesson What organisms live in the Arctic? from the Frozen Oceans at home for Ages 7-11 unit.
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