In this activity, students investigate the range of conditions that selected animal and plant species need to survive in an estuary. They examine data for abiotic factors that affect life in estuaries—salinity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and pH. Students use archived data (trend analysis graphs) and real-time conditions at Elkhorn Slough to predict whether a particular animal or plant species could survive in an estuary.
This activity has four parts:
- The Estuarine Environment
- Surviving Changes: Abiotic Factors That Affect Life
- Surviving in an Estuary: Extreme Conditions
- Optional: Investigating Other Research Reserves
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Students should understand that:
- Describe three types of estuarine environments.
- Describe the particular environmental conditions necessary for organisms to survive in an estuary.
- List four principal abiotic factors that influence the survival of aquatic life in estuaries.
- Determine the range of pH, temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen tolerated by some common estuarine species.