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:
- Describe the physical and biological components of habitats that exist as part of an estuary.
- Explain the relationships between primary producers, consumers, and secondary consumers.
- Describe some adaptations of living organisms to the changing conditions within an estuary.
- Explain why biodiversity is important and worth preserving in an estuary.
Activity Links and Resources:
- Biodiversity in an Estuary – from the NOAA Estuary Education website [pdf]
- South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
- Modify the lesson plan above for use with Oregon’s only NERR: South Slough
- Compare and contrast the Rookery Bay NERR with South Slouth NERR
- Plan a field trip to SSNERR – Call 541-888-5558
- Interactive Educational Estuary Poster from Padilla Bay NERR
- This online poster can be used to convey information and/or as a model for the type of wildlife exhibit discussed in the Estuaries 101 lesson plan.
- Descriptions and instructions for student concept maps and wildlife exhibits are included in the Estuary Education lesson plan.