Biodiversity in an Estuary

Coastal Ecology—Biodiversity in an Estuary

Summary: In this activity, students investigate the incredible biodiversity that exists in estuarine environments. They begin by exploring using Google Earth to explore a National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida. Students then produce an estuary biodiversity concept map and individual organism profile that becomes part of an estuary wildlife exhibit. This activity can be modified for use with NERRs in the Pacific Northwest.

Concepts to teach: Biodiversity, endangered species, producers, consumers, habitat types, concept map

Goals: Understand the relationships between habitats, characteristics of the habitats, and the species that inhabit the estuary.


Specific Objectives: Students will be able to:

  1. Describe the physical and biological components of habitats that exist as part of an estuary.
  2. Explain the relationships between primary producers, consumers, and secondary consumers.
  3. Describe some adaptations of living organisms to the changing conditions within an estuary.
  4. Explain why biodiversity is important and worth preserving in an estuary.

Activity Links and Resources:


  • Descriptions and instructions for student concept maps and wildlife exhibits are included in the Estuary Education lesson plan.