Considering the volume of material on the Internet, one of the hardest tasks teachers face is finding user-friendly resources that provide worthwhile information and activities for students. MarineBio.org does exactly that. Developed by the MarineBio Conservation Society, this site presents extensive details about aspects of the world’s oceans in a format appropriate for all grades levels and abilities.
From the homepage alone, one can learn about spotted wobblegong sharks, orcas, vampire squids, moon jellies, and green sea turtles with just the click of a button. Diving deeper, six major headings take viewers to what they want to know. Those interested in discussing the issues facing marine science and the protection of the oceans should follow the link to “Marine Conservation,” which includes several video clips, as well as resources on how people can take part in protecting the oceans. The “Marine Life” page provides a very comprehensive, searchable database of all the ocean’s inhabitants, covering, in detail, everything from phytoplankton to the great whales, each broken down by group. (Some groups are still “under construction.”) If a visitor would like to learn more about the physical aspects of the oceans, they should click on the link labeled “The Ocean”; for simply a giant collection of interesting facts about marine life and marine science, visitors can search through the “Explore and Discover” page.
The two other major places to check out when visiting MarineBio are the “Education and Careers” page, as well as the “Deep Resources” page. While “Deep Resources” may better serve the needs of professionals in the field with its collection of links to relevant journals and reference books, the “Education and Careers” page will help students understand how to become a marine biologist. They will find advice about what background a person should have and also discover links to free online video courses in general science.
All the pages of MarineBio have a live comments section where people can leave feedback, ask questions, or interact with the community in some way. The homepage presents an up-to-date newsfeed with current news related to marine science. The entire site appears to be very credible, having a board of directors and board of advisors – all of whom are professional scientists – and an extensive list of contributors involved in marine science.
MarineBio is a fantastic website that would be most useful to any teacher of marine science. While the overall reading level of the text seems to best fit the middle and high school levels, the infusion of videos and interactive maps also make it useful for younger learners. Teachers can send students to this site when conducting research on marine plants, animals, or characteristics of the ocean, as well as use it to present current research to their classes. One of the big ideas in the Next Generation Science Standards is the encouragement of scientific thinking and argument. Teachers using MarineBio can use many of the topics covered as launch pads for class discussions. While portions of the site solicit donations and membership to the MarineBio Conservation Society, all of its resources are available for free. Overall, MarineBio is a fantastic site that informs visitors about many aspects of the ocean world.
REMY DOU taught high school life science for eight years before becoming an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow (2011–2013). Currently, he works as a Graduate Assistant at Florida International University where he contributes to STEM education research.