Guest speakers from

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Dr. Elizabeth (Eily) Allan

Postdoctoral Investigator, Department of Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering; Department of Biology

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Dr. Allan investigates creatures cloaked in the darkness of the Ocean Twilight Zone through innovative eDNA analysis.  She samples, detects and identifies the genetic traces left behind in the environment by animals as they move through the water — similar to how a snail leaves a trail.  Dr. Allan earned her doctorate at the Stanford University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering before joining the Ocean Twilight Zone project at WHOI.

Dr. Emma Cotter

Postdoctoral Investigator, Department of Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Dr. Cotter uses sonar to detect and classify Ocean Twilight Zone organisms – ranging in size from tiny zooplankton to large fish.  She explores what the Deep-See system is capable of “seeing” through a range of frequencies (50 – 410 kHz) and how acoustics waves can reveal and even track organisms.

Dr. Cotter holds a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington, where she developed a monitoring package for marine renewable energy.  There she integrated all the different data streams collected by package sensors into software controlling data acquisition.

Living Light in the Ocean Twilight Zone

Welcome to a multidisciplinary activity around light in the dysphotic zone.

Understand the attenuation of light under the water and how it ties to biological adaptations for surviving and collecting food in the OTZ. How do colors of light serve different functions in the deep? 

To use or adapt the activity to your class, visit the Scoutlier Shared Library and search for “Ocean.” Make a copy to edit and share it.

Educators share their observations and models of the Living Light activity.

Also check out Survive the Ocean Twilight Zone for a combination of inquiry and design in exploring the biodiversity and daily life of creatures. Experiment with the physical hydromechanics of feeling and feeding at a low Reynolds number, as you hunt like the ocean’s smallest animals. Then imagine and compete against your group with an OTZ life form of your own design

  1.  Lab – Life at Low Reynolds numbers
  2. Eating in the OTZ ;  Animals, nightly migration, and biological structures
  3. Design and describe your own OTZ life form
See Visitors from the Ocean’s Twilight Zone – New York Times

Science Bites

These resources are great for lesson-level phenomena and introducing authentic science to build toward core ideas. They may be used in support of the NGSS Performance expectations listed below each topic.

Use the Scoutlier Design Bank for easy ways to implement these resources with a general Ask Questions and Build a Model template and practice NGSS-style science in your classroom.

Introduction to the Ocean Twilight Zone

The world’s greatest migration, the global carbon pump, aquaculture and human impact (HS-LS2-4, HS-L2-7, HS-ESS2-6)

eDNA and innovative engineering for learning about the jellies and human impact in the twilight zone (HS-LS2-4, HS-L2-7)

Innovative engineering and eDNA science for studying jellyfish in the next frontier. Video from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Ocean Twilight Zone Project

Deep ocean acoustics and instrumentation for exploring the Ocean Twilight Zone (HS-PS4-5)

Other Science Resources


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