Long Story Shorts
A YouTube video series of fun, quick explainers about all things coastal science!
The videos below are part of our YouTube video series Long Story Shorts. Each episode also has a cheat sheet for teachers that identifies concepts in the videos that may be useful in the classroom. And all episodes have closed captioning options in both English and French.
Produced by Kristina Blanchflower, Katrina Pyne, and Josh Silberg
Animations by Kristina Blanchflower and Katrina Pyne
Illustrations by Mercedes Minck
What is Broadcast Spawning?
If potential parents can’t meet face-to-face, broadcast spawning is the perfect way for animals to make babies. So many ocean creatures send sperm to meet egg out in the world.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Hydrothermal Vents:
– Sexual reproduction in mussels: broadcast spawning and how it works
– Spawning events/cycles
– Metamorphic life cycles
– Adaptations to the environment
Can Life Thrive Without the Sun?
Hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean have changed the way we think about how animals get energy. These hot water chimneys can teach us about life on Earth, and potentially beyond!
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Hydrothermal Vents:
– An explanation of hydrothermal vents: what they are and how they form
– Biodiverse life forms associated with hydrothermal vents: archaea, bacteria, yeti crabs, deep sea tube-worms, sea spider, dumbo octopus
– Deep sea food chains
How Many Animal Species Are There, Really?
It’s harder than you might think to know how many animal species live on Earth. Some new species are hiding in plain sight—it’s called cryptic diversity. Genetic tools and careful observations are revealing more biodiversity than we ever knew.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Cryptic Diversity:
– Cryptic diversity: what is it, how was it identified in the past and now in the present
– DNA barcoding, genetics
– Why knowing about cryptic diversity matters
– Blood stars, mosquitoes
What Kinds of Hermaphrodites Live in the Sea?
The birds and the bees have nothing on these creative reproducers of the deep. Animals in the ocean can be male and female at the same time, or even switch between sexes.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Hermaphrodites of the Sea:
– Sexual reproduction in the ocean and the importance of doing it differently
– Different types of hermaphrodites that live in the ocean: simultaneous, sequential
– Sea slugs, comb jellies, spot prawn, parrotfish
What Causes Red Tides?
Red tides are the worst-named algal anomaly out there—they’re not always red, but these blooms of algae can be harmful to humans and other animals.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Red Tides:
– Red tides and harmful algal blooms: what are they, what causes them, how can they affect other life in and near the ocean (both positively and negatively), misconceptions about them
– Ocean food webs
– Phytoplankton, algae
What is Ancient DNA?
New advancements in ancient DNA (aDNA) are teaching us about life long ago. How do scientists find aDNA and process it? Very carefully.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Ancient DNA:
– Ancient DNA explained: how it works, its associated challenges, and what it’s able to tell us about past plants and animals
– DNA sequencing, applied genetics, PCR
What Do Male and Female Animals Look Different?
Sexual dimorphism shows up all over the animal kingdom*. Here’s why.
*The “di-” in dimorphism—meaning two possibilities—describes certain situations, but the concept of biological sex in nature is more complex than the binary.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Sexual Dimorphism:
– Sexual dimorphism in animals: what it is, the nature of biological sex, what purpose does it serve (mate competition, differences in parental care)
– Birds, lions, elephant seals, kangaroos, seahorses, deer, cougars
What is Mixotrophy?
Plants and algae get energy from the sun, and animals get their energy from eating plants, algae, and other animals. It’s simple, right? Nope! Nature likes exceptions. Meet the mixotrophs.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Mixotrophy:
– All living organisms need energy, but how do they get it?
– Heterotrophs (i.e. humans and other animals)
– Autotrophs (i.e. most plants)
– Mixotrophs (i.e. sundews, Venus fly traps, phytoplankton)
What’s the Deal with Bioluminescence?
Lots of organisms in the ocean can glow. But what is bioluminescence? And how is it used?
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Bioluminescence:
– Bioluminescence: what it is, how does it work, what purposes does it serve
– Chemical reaction that releases visible light
– Shrimp, jellyfish, anglerfish
What is Ocean Stratification?
The ocean has layers that mix—sometimes. What are the layers made of? And why is it bad news when they don’t?
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Ocean Stratification:
– Water density and how it’s impacted by temperature and salinity
– Mixing between ocean layers: how and when it happens
– As global temperatures rise, the ocean layers are becoming more stable
– More stable layers are problematic: effects on nutrient circulation and weather
Long Story Shorts Season 1 Q&A
Our first season of Long Story Shorts has wrapped and now it’s time to answer your questions! Come behind the scenes to find out how this sweet little series was made and stick around for a sneak peak at what’s coming down the pipes next!
Why Do Fish Have Gas?
Fish have bladders, but not the one you’re thinking of. These swim bladders put the buoyancy control of scuba divers to shame.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Swim Bladder:
– Scuba-diving and buoyancy compensators
– Swim bladders: what they do, how they work, open and closed types of swim bladders, alternatives to swim bladders
– Herring, rockfish, black tip reef shark, flounder
What is Symbiosis?
You might think symbiosis is when two different species live in perfect harmony— but that’s just one kind of interaction. See what happens when symbiosis takes a dark turn.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Symbiosis in the Sea:
– Symbiosis: what is it, different types (mutualism, commensalism, parasitism)
– Coral, algae (zooxanthellae), remora, shark, crab, barnacle (Sacculina)
What is a Coastal Geohazard?
Life can be pretty hazardous if you live on the coast—on top of wild weather events like hurricanes and tropical storms, you might find yourself in the middle of geological hazards like earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides. But did you know that one geohazard can domino into another, creating a cascade of chaos?
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Coastal Chaos:
– Coastal weather events: hurricanes, tropical storms
– Coastal geological hazards: tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides
– Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire
– Tectonic plates, subduction, volcanoes, convergence, geohazard cascade, melting glaciers
– Warning centers, detecting seismic activity, assessing danger
What is the Biggest Migration on Earth?
Every day, trillions of animals in the ocean play the biggest game of hide-and-seek … and the losers get eaten. This daily commute is called diel vertical migration, and you’ve probably never heard of it—until now.
Teacher cheat sheet of what’s included in Ocean Hide and Seek:
– Georges Cuvier
– Diel vertical migration: what is it?
– Water flea (Daphnia), zooplankton, fish