ExpertIconFishSchool.bmp (75990 bytes)   Be an Expert: Marine Biology

1. Marine Biology Vocabulary      5 Points
Define these words associated with the study of marine biology.

barrier reef
shore zone
tube worms


2. Marine Biology Using the Classroom Aquarium     5 Points
Identify the fish in the classroom aquarium.
Draw all identifying marks on the fish.
Color the fish their actual colors.
Use the characteristics to help you name each fish.

Use Fish Identification found at:


3. Microfishing    10 Points
Collect living microorganisms from natural or artificial environments.

Microscope slides
Cover slips

1. Clean and dry a microscope slide.
2. Secure a piece of string to one end of the slide.
3. Tie the other end of the string to the other end of the slide.
4. Place the stick through the loop in the string.
5. Place the stick across the opening of the aquarium so  the slide hangs beneath the water surface.
6. Leave the slide under water for as little as 24 hours or for as long as several weeks.
7. Gently remove the slide from the water and carefully slip the string off the ends of the slide.
8. Dry the bottom of the slide.
9. Apply one or two cover slips (side by side) to the top of the slide.
10. Observe slide with a microscope.
11. Make a sketch of the different organisms you observe.
12. Try to identify the organisms
13. Select your favorite organism and make as detailed a drawing of it as possible.
14. Using plastic bottles, ribbon, yarn, pipe cleaners, buttons, toothpicks, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, tinsel, styrofoam balls, string, tape, glue, etc
15. Select one organism and build a model of it using the materials  above.


4.Saltwater Ecosystem      5 Points
The organisms in salt water are divided into three main categories: Plankton, Nekton, Benthos
Put these organisms in their correct group according to where they live.

Whales        Starfish         Crabs         Stingrays         Turtles   
Sharks        Algae             Diatoms       Tubeworms      Lobsters

Creatures that Float
Large active swimmers
Live on the bottom

5. Ocean Zones    5 Points
Research and describe the amount of sunlight and organisms that live there.

      Amount of Sunlight    Organisms found in Zone
Intertidal Zone  
Nertic Zone  
Bathyal Zone  


6. Plankton Matching     5 Points
Not all organisms live their whole life as plankton.
There are some sea creatures that when young and small live as what is known as plankton.
These young creatures can look very different from their adult form.

Match the juvenile plankton to its adult form.

                            SciPlanktonMatch.bmp (582054 bytes)

7. Create a Plankton     5 Points
Think about how plankton gets its food.
Think about how it moves.
Think about where it will spend its life.
You will draw your own plankton on.
Use the handout to help you get ideas to create your plankton.
Structures are needed for specific activities such as eating and moving.

            SciPlanktonCreate.bmp (594054 bytes)




8. Marine Reptiles     5 Points
There are four families of marine reptiles: saltwater crocodiles, sea snakes, marine iguanas and sea turtles.

Tell 3 interesting facts about each reptile group.

Saltwater Crocodiles

Sea Snakes

Marine Iguanas

Sea Turtles









9. Oil Spills     10 Points
Research an oil spill.

Investigate the answers to the following questions.
1. How did this oil spill happen?

2. What type of oil was spilled?

3. How much oil was spilled?

4. Describe the environment in which the spill occurred.

5. How did the oil spill affect this environment? Consider effects on land, air, and water.

6.Describe the marine life that inhabits the region.

7. How did the oil spill affect the marine life?
Consider effects on fish, mammals, and plants.

8. How did the oil spill affect the human culture and economy?
Consider effects on fishing, tourism, food supply, and potential health risks.

9. What techniques were used to clean up the oil spill? How effective were they?







10. Marine Life      5 Points
Identify these ocean coastal organisms.  Write their names by the pictures

           SciMarineLifeID.bmp (1448134 bytes)


11. Marine Food Chains     5 Points
Use the Marine Food Pyramid to create 2 food chains.

SciMarineFoodPyramid.bmp (918646 bytes)

        A.                             -->                             -->                             -->                             -->

        B.                             -->                             -->                             -->                             -->



12. Create Your Own Marine Creature      10 Points

What is the name of your creature? ____________________________

Where does it live (which habitat(s))? __________________________

What type of conditions does this habitat feature?

How does your creature move?

What kind of food does it eat? How does it obtain such food?

What kind of predators does your creature have? How does your creature defend itself/avoid such predators?

How does your creature respire/breathe?

Name one (or more) particularly interesting features/abilities/behaviors of your creature.


List three adaptations of your creature to its environment. How does each of these help your creature survive?


Make a sketch of your creature. Label any important or unusual parts.


13. Whales     10 Points
There are two main types of whales: baleen whales and toothed whales.

Identify each whale as B-Baleen or T-Toothed

_____ Baird’s beaked whale

_____ beluga whale

_____ black right whale

_____ blue whale

_____ bowhead whale

_____ Bryde’s whale

_____ dolphin

_____ fin whale

_____ gray whale

_____ killer whale

_____ humpback whale

_____ minke whale

_____ narwhal

_____ pilot whale

_____ porpoise

_____ pygmy right whale

_____ river dolphin

_____ Sei whale

_____ sperm whale


14. Fish Territories      10 Points
Observe swimming and resting patterns of aquarium fish.
Determine how different parts of the habitat are used.

1. Create a variety of habitats in an aquarium.
2. Use a marker on plastic sheets to divide the front of the aquarium into areas.
3. Divide the side of the aquarium into Front and Back areas


      B                 F               A1
















4. Watch one fish for 5 minutes recording the location every 15 seconds on a data sheet.
Example A2F= Area A2 Front
Data Sheets found at:
You may setup your own data sheet like the one below or use the link above.
Extend the time to 5 minutes on your data sheet


Time in Min. and Sec. Location of Fish


15 sec    
30 sec    
45 sec    
1 min    

5. Observe the same fish daily for 4 days.
6. Change one factor in the aquarium. Move something or add something new.
7. Observe the fish again for 4 days recording the locations again.
8. Examine your data.
9. Graph the data for each of the observations.
10. Draw a conclusion about the way fish use their habitat.

15. Pass the Salt     10 Points
Estuaries are bodies of salt water that are fed by freswater sources.
Fresh water is mixed with saltwater. 
The salinity can vary with distance from the freshwater source. 
Estuaries form the boundary betwen marine and freshwater habitats. 
They are breeding grounds for thousands of aquatic animals and plants. 
Elodea is a common freshwater plant which is found in estuaries where freshwater is abundant.

How will varying concentrations of salt affect the aquatic plant Elodea?

four 2-liter plastic bottles
three 1-liter plastic bottles
test tubes or baby food jars
test tube rack
pond water
gram scales
Elodea plants
1-liter measuring cup
masking tape

1. Obtain pond water in four 2-liter bottles.
2. Prepare salt solutions in each 2-liter bottle.

3. Label each test tube or jar.
4. Fill each test tube or jar with a different concentration of water.
5. Put a short piece of Elodea in each test tube or jar.

         SciMarineTestTube.bmp (426102 bytes)

6. Observe the pants for four days and record your observations.
7. Answer the questions.


Test Tube         Day 1                 Day 2                 Day 3               Day 4        
Control 0 ppt
#1  10 ppt
#2 20 ppt
#3 30 ppt


1. Which of the four containers had the healthiest looking plants?

2. Describe in a a paragraph what happened over the four days to the containers of Elodea.



3. Based on this experiment, how much salt can an Elodea plant tolerate and still remain healthy?


4. Where do you think you find Elodea in an estuary?


16. Gray Whales  10 Points
Match the numbers on the diagram to the features in the lists.

SciWhaleGrayExt.bmp (132790 bytes) SciWhaleGraySkeleton.bmp (129862 bytes)
  • _____ dorsal "knuckles"
  • _____ flukes
  • _____ flipper
  • _____ blowhole
  • _____ baleen
  • _____ eye
  • _____ parasites
  • _____ ventral groove
  • _____ cranium
  • _____ cervical vertebrae
  • _____ thoracic vertebrae
  • _____ lumbar vertebrae
  • _____ caudal vertebrae
  • _____ pelvic bones
  • _____ ribs
  • _____ scapula
  • _____ humerus
  • _____ radius
  • _____ ulna
  • _____ phalanges



Bivalve Anatomy found at:

How Do I Become a Professional Biologist? found at:

Marine Careers found at:

Pond Life Identification Kit found at: