Who calls the world's waterways home? That's actually a harder question to answer than you mighty think. According to scientists, about one million species live in the Earth's oceans - that's not counting freshwater habitats! According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, scientists estimate that 91 percent of ocean species have yet to be classified and that more than eighty percent of our ocean is unmapped! In this section, we invite you to explore some of the species we do know about, from horseshoe crabs to water plants to monsters of the deep!
How About Some Clean Water?
How can you get some clean water in nature? You need a sponge! No, not the sponge at your sink, the sponges living in the ocean! Join Mariana Bonfim, Research Assistant at the Temple Ambler Field Station, to learn fascinating facts about these amazing aquatic animals that help filter and clean water.
The Wonderful World of Water Plants
Often when people think about plants, they might think about spring blooms bursting forth from the earth. There are many plants, however, that make their homes primarily in water. Join Benjamin Snyder, Manager of the Temple Ambler Greenhouse Education and Research Complex — part of the Ambler Arboretum and used extensively by faculty and students in Temple’s Horticulture and Landscape Architecture programs offered by the Tyler School of Art and Architecture — as he explores hydrophytes in the Greenhouse. Another name used for plants that require high amounts of water is hydrophyte. These plants are often found growing in or immediately around water. Take a tour of the Greenhouse as Snyder shares facts about Egyptian papyrus, Umbrella plant, Giant Reed, Water lettuce and more!
Learn About a "Living Fossil" with Dr. Rob Jennings
What do you really know about horseshoe crabs beyond wanting to run away from them at the beach? These “living fossils” might seem might seem quite alien but they are also quite extraordinary. Join Dr. Rob Jennings, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Biology and Laboratory Manager for Teaching Labs in the Biology Department at Temple University, on a quick tour of how they actually use those claws and spines in this video from Temple Ambler EarthFest's Science of Scary. You’ll learn that they are not only very friendly, they’re surprisingly important to their ecosystems— and they benefit humans in some unexpected ways!
Some Deep Sea Exploration
How deep is the ocean? How about we travel down 26,000 feet with the Cordes Laboratory in the Biology Department at Temple University to find out in this video from Temple Ambler EarthFest's Science of Scary? From zero to 70 feet, we might meet a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, which can reach up to 120-feet long! Travel down between 660 and 3,300 feet, you might come across a Giant Oarfish, a real-life sea serpent (but it’s actually a fish) that can grow to 26-feet-long and weigh up to 600 pounds. Between 2,000 and 10,000 feet, you’ll find Deep-Sea Anglerfish — think nightmarish fangs and a bioluminescent lure protruding from their heads. Deep, deep down at 26,000 feet, say hello to the Snailfish, which survives in the depths of the Mariana Trench, which is 800 times more pressurized than the surface! Presented by Emily Cowell, Melissa Betters and April Stabbins, Cordes Laboratory, Biology Department.
Life in Water
As a marine biologist, Dr. Rob Jennings, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Biology and Laboratory Manager for Teaching Labs in the Biology Department at Temple University, spends a lot of time learning about what it’s like to live in the water.
In honor of World Water Day, Dr. Jennings is sharing some of the surprising ways that marine organisms’ experience living in the water is truly quite different than our own experience of being in the water.
Good Bugs Mean Healthy Rivers
Join EarthFest Presents: World Water Day event partner the Delaware River Basin Comissions's Aquatic Biologist as he collects a water sample from the Delaware River to see what types of macroinvertebrates he finds. Macro...what??? Macroinvertebrates are aquatic insects that can help scientists tell how healthy a river is. They are an important part of biological monitoring studies! After watching the video, visit here to take the quiz and download your DRBC macroinvertebrate junior expert badge!
Tour the Ambler Arboretum "Swamp"
Bet you didn’t know that the Ambler Arboretum has its own swamp! Join Ambler Arboretum Director Kathy Salisbury as she provides a tour of this lesser traveled water environment in the Arboretum. In this tour, Kathy also highlights Skunk Cabbage, a fascinating plant that most definitely lives up to its name.
Make ‘Em Sweat: Plant Guttation
Did you know that plants sweat? They do…sort of. Ever notice small water droplets on the leaves of your houseplants and wonder how they got there? There is obviously no rain or dew in your house! Those droplets are a natural plant process called guttation. Guttation, according to Benjamin Snyder, Manager of the Temple Ambler Greenhouse Education and Research Complex — part of the Ambler Arboretum and used extensively by faculty and students in Temple’s Horticulture and Landscape Architecture programs offered by the Tyler School of Art and Architecture — is a way for plants to remove excess water from their tissues. There are certain environmental conditions that make this a necessary action of the plant.
Elmwood Park Zoo - Rocky and Piper the River Otters
Ever wonder how EarthFest Presents: Celebrating the Earth partner the Elmwood Park Zoo otters keep warm in the winter? Join keeper Lexi, and their otters Rocky and Piper to learn all about it! The playful North American river otter is well adapted for semi-aquatic living. The mammals have thick, protective fur to help them keep warm while swimming in cold waters. They have short legs, webbed feet for faster swimming, and a long, narrow body and flattened head for streamlined movement in the water. Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.
Meet Penny the American Alligator!
The American alligator is a rare success story of an endangered animal not only saved from extinction but now thriving. State and federal protections, habitat preservation efforts, and reduced demand for alligator products have improved the species' wild population to more than one million and growing today. You can visit Penny at the Elmwood Park Zoo! Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.
Zoo School Live! - Frogs
Hop into this episode of Zoo School Live! from the Elmwood Park Zoo to meet with keeper Eric and an army of amazing frogs! Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.
Macroinvertebrate Monitoring and Lab Tour
In this video from the Academy of Natural Sciences, see the Academy's scientists from the Patrick Center head to Cobb's Creek to sample macroverterbrates. These bottom-dwelling animals include crustaceans and worms but most are aquatic insects. Video used with permission from the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Elmwood Park Zoo — Macroinvertebrates
The Elmwood Park Zoo’s "Zoo School Live" provides a chance for everyone to meet some of the Zoo’s wonderful residents “up-close” virtually each week. In this video, we’re heading into the shallower waters of our local Pennsylvania waterways for futher study of macroinvertabrates. Woody the wood turtle (who happens to be a reptile) also pays a visit! Video used with permission from the Elmwood Park Zoo.
Academy of Natural Sciences - A Visit to the Kirkwood Preserve
In this video from the Academy of Natural Sciences, see the Academy's Fisheries department on their trip to Kirkwood Preserve to survey fish, asses their distribution and abundance, and assess the impacts of humans on the fish that live there. Video used with permission from the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Nature's Natural Engineers - The American Beaver
Second only to humans, beavers alter their environment more than any other organism on the planet. They build their own lakes! These tireless animal engineers face the challenges of predators and the full fury of the elements. Learn more about the American beaver in this video from National Geographic Kids!
Coral Reefs 101
What are coral reefs? Coral can be found in tropical ocean waters around the world. But how much do you know about reefs and the tiny animals — polyps — that build them? Learn all about coral and why warming waters threaten the future of the reef ecosystem in this video from National Geographic.
Home and Garden on the Ocean Floor
Join Paul Callomon in this video from the Academy of Natural Sciences as he presents snails that collect stones, discarded shells and other objects from their immediate environment and glue them onto their shells. He then presents oysters that possess long "thorns" on their shells which are used to grow gardens. The camouflage for both of these unusual mollusks is superb.