Coastal Habitats & Species—Survival in an Estuary

Summary: Students will investigate the range of conditions that selected animal and plant species need to survive in an estuarine environment. They examine and analyze data for abiotic factors to determine if a particular species would survive in an estuary under the given conditions.

Concepts to teach: Ecology, estuaries, pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, salinity, conductivity

Goals: Deepen students understanding of estuarine systems by examining abiotic factors and extreme conditions.

H.2L.2; H.2E.4; H.3S.2

Specific Objectives: Students will:

  1. Describe three types of estuarine environments.
  2. Describe the particular environmental conditions necessary for organisms to survive in an estuary.
  3. List four principal abiotic factors that influence the survival of aquatic life in estuaries.
  4. Determine the range of pH, temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen tolerated by some common estuarine species.

Activity Links and Resources:


  • See the Check for Understanding section in the Survival in an Estuary lesson for suggestions on how to assess student learning.