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OPIHI Introduction Presentation

The OPIHI PowerPoint presentation was developed to give students an overview of the goals of the OPIHI project and provide some background information on basic intertidal ecology. Perhaps most importantly, this presentation is designed to get students interested in and excited about taking part in the OPIHI project. Your students are going to be recording data that will be used in scientific studies by researchers and resource managers, this is exciting - and also a big responsibility! This presentation will hopefully get your students to think of themselves as scientists, and be motivated to work hard as they will be part of a larger group of student scientists and researchers from throughout Hawaii who are involved in OPIHI.

OPIHI Introduction Intertidal PowerPoint Presentation

About the OPIHI Presentation:

  • You may choose to use this presentation to introduce ecological concepts to your class or as a summary / refresher of concepts already covered.
  • Please feel free to modify the PowerPoint to tailor the presentation to your class's goals.
  • Personalize the show for your students by substituting pictures of your intertidal site to demonstrate concepts.
  • Questions are embedded in the OPIHI slideshow to make it more interactive, and encourage you to stop and write on the board.
  • Each slide has notes that highlights ecological terms and describe the story of each picture.
  • The presentation is lengthy - 35 slides! You may choose to shorten it by taking out slides or splitting the presentation up over a couple of days.

Topics Covered in OPIHI PowerPoint Presentation (slide #'s in parenthesis):

  • You may choose to use this presentation to introduce ecological concepts to your class or as a summary / refresher of concepts already covered.
  • What is the intertidal? / Intertidal zones (1 - 4)
  • Harsh conditions of the intertidal (5 - 13)
  • Adaptations of organisms to stressful intertidal environment (14 - 18)
  • Intertidal understudied in Hawaii (19 - 24)
  • Importance of intertidal / Why monitor intertidal? (25 -' 31)
  • OPIHI: sites and methods (32 - 25)

Embedded throughout presentation:

  • Introduction to intertidal safety
  • Ecological terms
  • Threats to intertidal
  • Uniqueness of Hawaiian intertidal organisms.

Additional Site-Specific Information for End of Presentation

At the end of the presentation, it is helpful to introduce your class to the intertidal site(s) you will be monitoring by adding site picture slides. This will begin to get your students familiar with their study site(s) and allow you to reference the site(s) during the classroom preparation activities, reminding them why they are learning about sampling and monitoring techniques. This portion of the presentation can start with a picture of your island where you point to the site(s) your school is monitoring. If you are on Oahu, you can copy the slide already in the presentation. It's important to emphasize the number of different intertidal sites that are being monitored by different schools around the islands. Most intertidal sites are only monitored by one school, which hopefully leads to a sense of class stewardship towards their site(s).

Some site pictures are included on this website. You can show these pictures to show your class the variety of intertidal sites, or just show the site(s) they will be monitoring. It is helpful to have multiple pictures of your site(s) from many angles, including views inland. This allows students to see the surrounding land area and hypothesize if nearby land use may be affecting the species composition at their site. (Urbanization may have affected water quality and thus species composition.) For instance, is the site located near a city or in a more rural area? Is the site utilized for recreational purposes? Are their factories or farms nearby? Is the area around the site forested? Is the site located at the end of a steep slope or is the area around the site flat?

Here is a list of OPIHI intertidal sites with pictures (pdf).

Big Island




Additional Slide on Importance of Establishing Baseline Data:

Monitoring a new, never before monitored area is especially important as the data your class collects establishes a baseline from which changes in the intertidal community can be measured. This slide demonstrates the importance to tracking changes by following two different coral heads over time. These pictures show how coral reefs have become degraded over time by showcasing the death of two huge coral heads. If these coral reefs were not discovered and monitored until the last photos, we would never know that not many years ago a large healthy coral existed in this area. We don't know what the Hawaiian intertidal will be like in the future, and we have very little information on what it was like in past. Thus, by starting to monitor the intertidal today, we'll be able to track changes in the future and hopefully be able to prevent the intertidal from becomes as degraded as these corals.

Questioning Strategies:

Do you know anything about these areas [where you will be monitoring]?
Even if you've never looked at the intertidal at this site before - have you even driven past it? Gone to a nearby beach?

If you are going to multiple sites, have pictures from each site, which will allow you to ask:
What do you think might be different or similar about these areas? Is one site sandy and another rocky? Are they close to one another or far away? Is one site located closer to a city or town? Would you expect to find different things at each site? Why or why not?

Developing a Hypothesis

The student's answers to these questions can form the basis of a hypothesis. An easy definition of "hypothesis" is "a predictive statement based on prior knowledge". In this case, your student's prior knowledge may not be much, but they have already started to learn about the intertidal and can pool today's knowledge with other topics learned in class, as well as experience gained from going to the beach and the pictures of their site. Based on this information your students can generate a predictive statement about the intertidal. If you are only going to one site, but have access to data collected from the site through OPIHI from previous years, their predictive statement can incorporate predictions about changes in the species of the site over time. If you do not have access to data from previous year, your students can makes predictions about the species composition of a site. For instance, a site near the harbor may have a lot of different kinds of invasive algae. A patchy site with both sand and rock may have more species present on the rocks as sand is not as sturdy thus many have as a much stability as does anchoring oneself to a rock.

Remind your students that hypothesizes can change - they are not set in stone. If you class is going out to a site many times, you might allow them to modify their hypothesis after the first trip as they will now have more prior knowledge and thus their predictions can be more precise.

OPIHI: Our Project in Hawaii's Interdental - Contact: philippo@hawaii.edu