Biology Lessons

Animal Behavior

Tag, You’re It! – This lesson provides a guideline for students to become Citizen Scientists as they explore relationships between migratory patterns in marine organisms with short and long-term changes in Sea Surface Temperature (SST). This lesson simulates a LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) study by allowing students to track shark migratory patterns over time using the OCEARCH Shark Tracker software and applications and NANOOS Visualization System (NVS) Climatology data sets. Students will compare OCEARCH’s satellite tracking data for pelagic apex predators (sharks) with NVS’s SST maps to observe for patterns and trends in migratory behavior. (Credits: Miriam Sutton, (Science by the Sea) and Carrie Lee (South Prairie Elementary) developed this activity during MBARI’s EARTH/Oregon Coast Regional STEM Education Center Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP), Workshop in Newport, OR, 2015.)

Antarctic Ecosystems

Southern Life Digital Breakout – Antarctica lies at the bottom of the world and is home to a variety of fish, penguins, seals, and whales. These marine species have adapted to the harsh environment surrounding Earth’s Southern Continent. Scientists visit Antarctica between September and March (spring through fall down south) to conduct investigations designed to help us learn more about this incredible ecosystem and the species that thrive in these extreme conditions. “Southern Life” provides a digital journey into the history of Antarctic Exploration, the Antarctic Food Web, and the Use of Technology to Explore Below the Surface of the Ice. Answer Keys to the Digital Locks and the Activity Sheet are available via email from “Science by the Sea”. (Credit: Miriam Sutton, Science by the Sea, developed this activity with data and resources provided by EARTH Workshop 2017, Polar ICE Network, and the Palmer LTER Project.) Answer Keys Available upon request.

Are Adelie Penguins Getting the Cold Shoulder – This activity allows students to use real scientific data to explore ecosystem dynamics; including competition and predator-prey relationships among three Antarctic penguins. Students manipulate data using XCel Spreadsheet software to generate a graph to illustrate population changes observed in Adelie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo penguins between 1974 and 2010. A dataset for each species is provided. The penguin population and penguin diet datasets were collected in the Palmer Station Study region, which is part of the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program. This program began in 1992 and has been collecting annual data in this region (as well as numerous other regions in Antarctica) on a variety of ecological interactions. (Credits: Miriam Sutton (Science by the Sea), Katie Lodes (St. Joseph’s Academy), Jeff Robbins (Roosevelt Intermediate School), Tara Sain (Township of Ocean Intermediate School) developed this activity during MBARI’s EARTH/Polar Interdisciplinary Coordinated Education, Polar-ICE Workshop in New Brunswick, NJ, 2016.)

Aquatic Food Web

Diatom Adventures – This activity can be used with introductory or review material for microbiology, ecosystems, or nutrition standards. Students complete the board game in teams of four as they discover the nutritional requirements needed by microbes (e.g. diatoms) for survival and reproduction. Trophic levels are also explored, in addition to predator/prey relationships occurring within the aquatic food web. (Credits: Miriam Sutton, Science by the Sea, developed this activity based on a Teacher at Sea experience aboard the R/V Melville while participating in “Collaborative Research: Investigating the Ecological Importance of Iron Storage in Diatoms” (Award Abstract #1334935) Research Project.)

Additional Resources for Diatom Adventures:

More lessons and activities coming soon….