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Marine WATERs - Western Australia - Teacher Education Resources Government of Western Australia

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Physical and Biological Processes

Oceans have a profound influence on heat exchange, the water cycle, climate and sustaining life on planet Earth.

This module presents resources to help understand and explain how the ocean works – the chemical, geological, biological and physical processes. It helps students investigate how these influences and forces shape the characteristics of marine ecosystems which affects the distribution and abundance of marine organisms.

Lesson Plans

Investigating Earth

In this series of lessons, students will learn the composition of the Earth, tectonic plates, convection inside the Earth, mid-ocean ridges and seafloor spreading.

SEE Food

Using the children’s book See Food, written by Guundie Kuchling, students will gain an understanding of how food chains, food webs and food pyramids work through illustrations and hands-on activities.

The Plankton Challenge

Students will construct a plankton model and simulate real life adaptations through using different types of materials. The aim is to construct a model that exhibits neutral buoyancy.

The Tide is High

Students will understand the forces that influence tides and the significance of the Lunar cycle. Students will interpret tidal movement by analysing tidal patterns and predicted tide tables.

Water Density

Students will explore the effect of salinity and temperature on water density and mixing of seawater, in the context of understanding how seawater is circulated in the ocean through currents.

Coriolis Effect

Students will understand the concept of the Coriolis Effect by attempting to draw a straight line on a rotating disc and apply this principle to understanding ocean gyres.

Acid Test

Students will investigate the phenomena of ocean acidification and test the effects of increasing acidity on shell-forming marine organisms.

Salty Seas

Students will explore the properties of seawater through dissolving salts and observing evaporation and freezing.

Getting Deeper

Students will explore the features and depth profile of the ocean floor through viewing bathymetry maps, diagrams and animations, culminating in the construction of a shoe box model of the ocean floor.

Oceans Divided

Students will interpret an atlas and explore the world’s oceans through mapping five oceans and other key features.

Marine Connections

Students will investigate marine ecosystems by examining the structure of marine food chains and food webs for Shark Bay.


Ocean Warming

The ‘marine heat wave’ that  was observed off the coast of Western Australia in the summer of 2010/11, saw ocean waters around the mid-west coast rise more than 3°C above average. Learn more about this event from this poster.

Who goes with the flow?

A poster featuring the pathway of the Leeuwin current along the Western Australia coastline.

Too Much of a Good Thing (Estuaries)

This poster highlights the impacts of oversupply of nutrients in estuaries.

Fact Sheets

Fisheries Fact Sheet: Western Rock Lobster

Colourful and protected by a strong carapace, the western rock lobster is one of the family of 'spiny' lobsters - and the target of WA's largest and most valuable fishery. This fact sheet explores the basic biology of the western rock lobster.


An indicator for climate change? The corals of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands.

Western Fisheries article by Steve Ireland, November 2011, pg. 52-53

Little Drifters are Beacons of Climate Change

Humble though they may seem and occupying a low position in the marine food web, plankton are vital to the health not only of oceans, but also of the world’s atmospheric and terrestrial environments. Increasingly, plankton are also seen by

Predicting the Leeuwin System

The urgency to understand and adapt to the Earth’s changing climate has caused an explosion in climate studies and collection of data about atmospheric and oceanic weather systems. Cathy Anderson reports on a new scientific study to better understand the

Deep Mysteries of the Perth Canyon

It is deeper and longer than the Grand Canyon. It attracts hundreds of hungry whales to the Western Australian coast each summer. And it is right off the coast of Perth, just west of Rottnest Island. Carmelo Amalfi delves into

C’mon and Embrace the Smell...

or How Sea Wrack Plays a Vital Role in Raising Fish Seaweed and seagrass washed up on the beach may look unsightly and smell even worse, but they provide a nutritional haven for many marine species. Steve Ireland explains

The Water of Life

Cathy Anderson discovers some astonishing facts about a substance many of us take for granted: sea water, Western Fisheries article by C. Anderson Mar 2009, pg. 50-55

Getting a Bite to Eat

Fish in Western Australia’s south-western estuaries and nearshore areas have evolved to eat and thrive on the types of food that are naturally available to them – just like humans. However, as Steve Ireland discovers, they also share our ability

In Depths

Indian Ocean Territories – In Depth

Referred to as the Indian Ocean Territories (IOTs), the remote location of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is the key to their unique and spectacular marine biodiversity.

Living with the Leeuwin Current – In Depth

At 5,500 kilometres, the Leeuwin Current is the world's longest continuous coastal or boundary current.

Houtman Abrolhos System – In Depth

The Houtman Abrolhos, commonly referred to as "The Abrolhos", consist of 122 islands lying 60 kilometres west of Geraldton on Western Australia's mid-west coast.


Examples of Coastal Erosion

Explore examples of coastal erosion worldwide. This presentation is a resource related to the 'Exposing Erosion' Lesson Plan. Follow us on Facebook Fisheries Division Woodside Energy