As in land biomes, aquatic ecosystems have certain set factors that define them. In this unit, students will be able to classify aquatic ecosystems based on their nutrient availability, salinity, and available sunlight. Both aquatic ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems are included.
Aquatic Ecosystems Unit Plan
Purpose: This is an outline of the major lessons covered within this unit, their suggested sequence, a time estimate for each topic, and important objectives and vocabulary covered by this unit. Links are provided for any website, video clip, worksheet, or lecture Powerpoint needed by the instructor.
This unit plan is primarily written for instructors of upper-level high school students and introductory college-level students.
Aquatic Ecosystems Lecture Powerpoint
Purpose: Using the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans as an example, students will compare many different types of aquatic ecosystems. This lecture Powerpoint begins with freshwater lakes, rivers, and wetlands, then eventually moving into the ocean. The abiotic factors as well as biodiversity are compared between each ecosystem.
Essential Concepts: Aquatic ecosystems, salinity, marine, freshwater, lentic, lotic, rivers, streams, lakes, oceans, light zones, benthic.
Aquatic Ecosystems Student Notes Outline
Purpose: Taking efficient notes can be a big challenge for many students, especially when working from a Powerpoint lecture. This outline gives students a means to take notes that guides them toward important concepts and avoids the pitfalls of writing word-for-word or simply not taking notes at all. The outline is written as a series of questions, fill-in-the-blanks, or diagrams.
Essential Concepts: Biomes, ecosystems, rainshadow effect, latitude, climate, critical factor, desert, grassland, mountain, forests, rainforest, tropical, temperate, polar, tundra, climatogram, climatograph, worksheet, powerpoint, lecture, habitat, niche, abiotic factors, biotic factors, ecological succession, primary succession, secondary succession.
Purpose: Sharkwater is a 2008 documentary produced by Rob Stewart about the many misconceptions people have about sharks and how these top predators are rapidly experiencing a decline in population -- often resulting in them becoming endangered species. The film spends a lot of time talking about the practice of finning, where sharks are harvested (often illegally) through long-line fishing, then their fins are cut off to be sold for shark fin soup or as a medicinal treatment. Many students will find their attitudes about sharks changed, and begin to feel a great deal of concern over the loss of these predators from their aquatic ecosystems.
Essential concepts: Shark finning, long-line fishing, poaching, overfishing, endangered species, food chains, plankton.
Journal Entry: Endangered Sharks
Purpose: This could be used as a follow-up assignment to the Sharkwater documentary, or as a separate research activity. Students will choose an endangered or threatened species of shark and use the IUCN Redlist website to research the cause of its population decline.
Essential concepts: Sharks, endangered species, overfishing.
The Blue Planet: Seas of Life
Purpose: The Blue Planet: Seas of Life series is in many ways a prequel to the Planet Earth series. Although it does not have the name recognition or popularity of Planet Earth, it still contains wonderful images of different aquatic ecosystems from all over the world. Each of the different types of marine ecosystems is covered, from the ocean deep to coastal tidal zones and beaches. This section has a collection of worksheets and resources specifically written for each episode of this series.
Essential concepts: Aquatic ecosystems, tidal zone, ocean light zones, benthic, coasts.
Planet Earth - Fresh Water, Ocean Deep, and Shallow Seas
Purpose: The Planet Earth series devoted three episodes to aquatic ecosystems. Fresh water takes a look at the different characteristics of rivers, lakes, and inland wetlands. Ocean deep explores the dark bottom of the ocean, while shallow seas stays along the shallower, warmer, more sunlit coast.
Essential concepts: Aquatic ecosystems, tidal zone, ocean light zones, benthic, coasts, freshwater ecosystems, ponds, lakes, wetlands, rivers.
Aquatic Ecosystems Study Guide
Purpose: Once the instruction for the unit is completed, students can complete this study guide to aid in their preparation for a written test. The study guide is divided into two sections: vocabulary and short answer questions. The vocabulary is taken directly form the lecture, sequentially. The short answer questions are meant to model the type they may see on the exam. This specific study guide only covers the land ecosystems section of this unit
Essential Concepts: Biomes, ecosystems, rainshadow effect, latitude, climate, critical factor, desert, grassland, mountain, forests, rainforest, tropical, temperate, polar, tundra, climatogram, climatograph, worksheet, powerpoint, lecture, habitat, niche, abiotic factors, biotic factors, ecological succession, primary succession, secondary succession