This lab investigates the exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and the ocean’s surface. It is based on the fact that carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean and provides the source of that plants and plankton living in the ocean rely on for photosynthesis. Students will discover that the amount of carbon dioxide the ocean can contain depends on the temperature of the water and its salinity (whether it is sea water or fresh water) and that cold water can hold more carbon dioxide in solution than warm water. They will observe that when carbon dioxide dissolves in water, it forms carbonic acid which makes the water acidic, and they will test for the acidity caused by the presence of dissolved carbon dioxide using Universal Indicator, which turns yellow when the solution is acidic. This activity tests whether sea water or fresh water absorbs more carbon dioxide.