Acid Ocean

Public summary: 

Ever wondered what ocean acidification actually means? Find out what happened to the oceans and the life that thrives there when CO2 is added to the atmosphere!

Useful information
Kit List: 

Disposable cups
Disposable straws
Universal Indicator
Shells/ limestone
Weak acid (need to see if vinegar/ lemon juice are sufficient)

Packing Away: 

Wash any remaining acid off shells and dry before putting away



Overall: what actually happens to the oceans when CO2 increases in the atmosphere. This means more CO2 dissolves into the oceans as well

Basic demo

Fill cups with water/ universal indicator.

Discuss respiration briefly; we breathe in oxygen and breathe out CO2

Participants blow into cups through straws; the CO2 this emits will make the liquid change colour, indicating acidification.

Talk about what they think making the ocean more acidic will do to the creatures that live there. Say that shells/ some rocks are make of limestone.

Test what happens to shells/ limestone when acid is dropped on them (they fizz and dissolve, like a tooth in coca cola).

Older students
Talk about the ocean as a buffer - can absorb lots of CO2 (e.g. by dissolving carbonate deposits), keeps it out of the atmosphere, but does change conditions for the creatures that live in the ocean.

Risk Assessment
Date risk assesment last checked: 
Thu, 06/02/2020
Risk assesment checked by: 
Date risk assesment double checked: 
Thu, 06/02/2020
Risk assesment double-checked by: 
Beatrix Huissoon
Risk Assessment: 
Hazard Risk Affected Person(s) Likelihood Severity Overall Mitigation Likelihood Severity Overall
Small parts (shells) Choking hazard/ possible sharp edges All 3 3 9 Remove broken shells/ shells with sharp edges. Keep small parts away from very young children 1 3 3
Acid Burn skin All 2 3 6 Use very diluted acid/ lemon juice or vinegar if possible. Store in dropper bottle so not much acid can possibly come into contact with skin. Keep close eye on participants 1 3 3
Straws and cups Disease transmission between participants Public 2 2 4 Change straws and cups between participants 1 2 2