Objectives: To increase awareness of the diversity of life. To show different lifestyles of marine organisms.
Method: Students will use a worksheet to match marine organisms with their proper lifestyle.
Background: Water in the ocean creates different living conditions because of changing currents, light intensities and temperature gradients. These conditions increase diversity of organisms in the ocean. Many organisms begin their life as plankton (drifters). They move around on the currents. Some plankton are plants (phytoplankton) and some are animals (zooplankton). Some zooplankton live their whole life as plankton, while others change to become nekton and benthos.
Nekton are free-swimmers. They can swim against the current and direct their movements. Turtles, fish, squid, birds and people are all nektonic.
The bottom-dwellers are referred to as benthos. Some benthic organisms move around, like flounder, sea stars, crabs and shrimp. Others are sessile - firmly attached to a hard surface - like oysters, barnacles, sponges and corals.
- Have students name creatures of the ocean. Ask if all these creatures live in the same place.
- Discuss the different lifestyles: plankton, nekton and benthos
- Hand out copies of the enclosed worksheet "What's Your Lifestyle?"
-Have students cut out and paste the organisms where they belong in the water column according to their lifestyle.
Name the three different lifestyles. Explain how they are different. Name one example of each.