Marine Environment Activity #2: Prime Real Estate for Phytoplankton
Student Worksheet: Phytoplankton
1. Phytoplankton — A Strong Base for an Ecosystem
Divide the Resources among students to read and distribute the Student Worksheet: Phytoplankton — What Does It Need to Thrive?. As students read their resources, tell them to look for information or data that will help to answer the questions on the worksheet.
Answers: Page 2 of the worksheet.
Discuss their findings in class. Would they be willing to give phytoplankton a "Biodiversity of the Year" award? Explain.
Answers: Answers will vary but, without phytoplankton in a marine environment, any food web would collapse. However, the more times phytoplankton bloom in an area, the more varied and extensive will be the number and type of animals found in the food web.
The Ocean-Glacier Bay NP
2. The Waters of Glacier Bay
Distribute copies of the Student Worksheet: The Ocean - Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and the Marine Environment Glossary to students to read. In class, discuss the geological, physical and chemical elements of the environment in which the phytoplankton live. How do these elements come together to create a perfect climate for phytoplankton? Explain.
Answer: Because of the big tides and strong currents, mixing and upwelling of the waters in the deep bays occur at the sills and constricted areas. At these locations the waters coming into and going out of the bay are well mixed. This constant mixing of oxygen-saturated, nutrient-rich waters results in a marine system that is especially "biologically productive," or able to support a great deal of living organisms.
3. Biodiversity Award of the Year
Divide the class into five teams. Working in their teams, have students underline statements from The Ocean - Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve they believe help to explain why Glacier Bay easily wins the Biodiversity Award of the Year for U.S. biomes. Using these statements students must explain this generalization: The waters of Glacier Bay play host to an unusually rich biodiversity. Host an imaginary award dinner for ecosystems in the United States.
- Have one team of students search the Internet to decide on four other nominees for the award in addition to Glacier Bay.
- Have another team write a short skit in which ecosystem nominees are interviewed as they arrive at the ceremony.
- Have one team of students design the Biodiversity Award of the Year.
- Have another write a speech to present the award to Glacier Bay.
- Have a fifth write Glacier Bay's acceptance speech.