Where Rivers Meet the Sea

Estuary background image with color overlay


In this activity, students take a short online quiz to check their initial estuary knowledge. Students examine Mobile Bay as an example of an estuary and then practice identifying four different types of estuaries. Review of a world map helps students examine the global distribution of estuaries. By examining global sea-surface temperature maps, students learn about the effects of location on ocean water temperature and about water temperature within the connected estuaries. Then students virtually visit a reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System using an online interactive map. Students will adopt a research reserve site and research when the reserve came into the system, what biogeographic region it is found in, and what type of estuary it is. They present their findings to the class in the form of a travel brochure.

This activity has three parts:

  1. Just What Are Estuaries?
  2. One Ocean, Many Estuaries
  3. Explore Estuaries in the NERR System

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Where Rivers Meet the Sea: Supporting Resources

What's An Estuary?


Estuary Quiz

Map Components

Take a look along the coastlines of the world's continents on the Major World Estuaries Map. The dots represent estuary locations.

World Estuaries Map

Discover the different types of estuaries in the Reserve system using the Interactive Estuary Reserve Map.