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origin of the Universe


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primordial overdensities

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Ocean Science Quest

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Complexity of Life







Organism Life Cycle

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Ocean Science Quest Tabloid Newspapers

Ocean Science Quest Exhibit ©Bob Field 2003


Eight fictitious "Daily Sea Star" and "Natural Enquirer" tabloid newspapers collectively explore the theme that the diversity and abundance of life depend on interactions of energy and matter in the oceans, atmosphere, solid Earth, and Sun. The truth-is-stranger-than-fiction approach is intended to be provocative, informative, and entertaining.


The story begins with sea otters in a kelp forest and explores a series of global themes emphasizing sunlight, gravity, and heat transfer. Some readers may recognize elements of Dr. Art Sussman's systems (energy, matter, and the web of life) and Sam Ham's thematic interpretation principles.

1 Sea Otters - The sea otter struggles to survive in a chilly habitat that is not naturally suitable for warm-blooded animals, particularly small, furry ones with little body fat. The sea otter is at the top of a food web based on the absorption of sunlight. click to expand or collapse

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2 Kelp Forest - The kelp forest is the dominant energy collector in an ecosystem that is heavily influenced by the sea otter. The limited range of the kelp forest is the result of compromises inherent in its adaptations to a subtidal ecological niche. click to expand or collapse

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3 Ocean Systems - Like the sea otter and the kelp forest, the liquid ocean itself is an open system that survives only through the absorption of solar energy that offsets its continuous heat to expand or collapse

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4 Seasonal Change - The rhythm of life and the survival of liquid oceans depend on seasonal changes of astronomical origin. click to expand or collapse

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5 Animal Diversity - The diversity, abundance, and distribution of animals depend on interactions of the Sun and the land with the oceans. click to expand or collapse

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6 Tide Pools - The distribution of life in the extreme environment of a tide pool depends on solar, lunar, and global forces that influence tides. click to expand or collapse

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7 Global Climate -The absorption and scattering of sunlight by the atmosphere, oceans, and continents determine the global climate that is essential to liquid oceans and to life on Earth. click to expand or collapse

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8 Student Projects. click to expand or collapse

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