What happens to the delicate larvae of ocean creatures when they’re exposed to increasing acid levels in the ocean? That’s the question marine biologists Steve Palumbi of Stanford and Eric Sanford of UC Davis are trying to answer through experiments with sea urchin larvae off the California and Oregon coasts.

Their theory is that the increased acidity in the oceans—caused in part by increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere—makes it difficult for marine species to grow their shells. In this short documentary, you’ll see the scientists test their theory by designing and building a time machine in their lab, transporting sea urchin babies to the ocean of the future.

This video comes courtesy of our friends Dan Griffin and Robin Garthwait of GG Films and Steve Palumbi of Stanford University. We’ll be featuring more of their great work in the coming months. In the meantime, head over to the GG Films website and Microdocs.org.