Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

A Century of Discovery of Sea Urchins and Relatives


Meet Dr. Dave Pawson, a zoologist at the National Museum of Natural History. He studies echinoderms, which include animals like sea urchins, sea stars, and sea cucumbers, in the deep sea.
During this webcast, which originally aired Nov. 9, 2017, Dr. Pawson shares the rich history of deep-sea exploration and the first echinoderms that were collected for the Smithsonian over 100 years ago by Austin Clark, aboard the research vessel Albatross. As the program continues, Dr. Pawson shares how deep-sea research and exploration tools and techniques have evolved and describes his own exploration experiences aboard submarines and with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
This program is part of the Smithsonian Science How webcast series, which is designed to bring natural history science and research to upper-elementary and middle-school students.

Teaching Resources

Deep Sea Urchins and Other Echinoderms: Key Terms, Concepts, and Related Resources

National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Life Science

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-1: Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-2: Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
  • MS-LS2-3: Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

Earth Science

MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • MS-ESS3-4: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Resource Type
Grade Level
Animals & EcosystemsLife Science