• Sunset view of Glacier Bay and the surrounding Fairweather Mountains.

    Glacier Bay

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

Kelp Activity #2

UNDERWATER FORESTS: GIANT KELP

Procedure

1. Rainforests
Tell students that kelp forests have been called the rainforests of the marine world. Ask them to share what they know about rainforests. What makes them ecologically important?

Answer: Answers will vary depending upon students' experiences and reading. Rainforests are ecologically important because of the incredible biodiversity that they shelter, much of which is still not catalogued by the scientific community.

2. All About Rainforests
Share the following websites with students and give them time to read the information.

Temperate Rainforests

The Land That Time Forgot: Temperate Rainforests

Exploring the Environment: Temperate Rainforest

Invite students to imagine an underwater forest. How might it compare to a rainforest? How would it be different?

 
kelp activity 2 handout 1

Kelp Forest Student Resource

3. Student Resource: The Kelp Forest
Distribute the Student Resource: The Kelp Forest to student groups and assign the following topics to the groups:

  • Topic 1: Definition and Strata (Layers)
  • Topic 2: Animals
  • Topic 3: Producers - plants or protists
  • Topic 4: Abiotic Environment
  • Topic 5: Forest floor
  • Topic 6: Ecological Importance
  • Topic 7: Importance to human beings

4. Compare Forests
Have groups examine the student resource to determine the comparison between a terrestrial rainforest and a marine kelp forest.

 

5. Create Mural
When students have completed their research, give them a time and space to work together to create a mural comparing rain and kelp forests, showing the entire forest with all of its inhabitants.

Note: Instead of creating a mural, students could use their entire classroom, floor to ceiling, to create the kelp forest. Directions for creating the 3-dimensional kelp forest can be found at: Secrets of the Ocean Realm: In the School - Cathedrals of the Sea http://www.pbs.org/oceanrealm/intheschool/school1.html

6. Importance of 2 forests
Discuss: Are the kelp forests of estuarine communities, such as Glacier Bay, as important and interesting as the rainforests of South America? Explain.

7. Resources

 
kelp activity 2 handout 2

Student Resource: Otter History

8. Extension 1:
(Recommended for advanced students)
Distribute the Student Resource: Otter History to students. Have them read the information. Using the mural created in the activity invite them to use the mural to describe and explain the effect of the reintroduction of sea otters to Glacier Bay. Then hold an informal class discussion on the question: How has Glacier Bay changed since the otters have moved in?

9. Extension 2:
Encourage students to explore the effects of the removal of a principal predator from their community and repeat the mode of presentation. If the predator has been reintroduced, has this restored the dynamic equilibrium of the system?

10. Extension 3:
Tell students that crabs, like spiders, are arthropods. Have them research to build models to compare and contrast arthropods on land and under water. How do the life histories compare? Why do they think it is important for humans to understand this information?

>>Activity 3:
Underwater Forests: Giant Kelp

Did You Know?

Mt Fairweather

Captain James Cook named the tallest mountain in Glacier Bay, Mount Fairweather, in 1778. As Southeast Alaska is a temperate rainforest, with an average of only 50 sunny days a year, it would require fair-weather to see that mountain.