Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Study of plankton

During World Environment Week, Year 6 students went on a Grime Scene Investigation to Georges River. During a river cruise, water samples were collected for studying under a microscope back at base.

We learnt that plankton is the start of the foodchain in the marine environment. The water samples we gathered were studied under a microscope and projected onto a screen for all to see. Unfortunately, in all the samples studied only one type of zooplankton (animal) was found in amongst the phytoplankton (plant). This was compared to a chart and determined to be Veliger (larva of the limpet) [image 1 below].

DVD footage of previous zooplankton finds was then screened and students identified those from the charts as well.

Activity - Click on the images below to view large versions of the charts and use them to identify the zooplankton in images 2, 3 and 4 above.

Answers: 2=m (second chart) 3=b (second chart) 4=f (first chart)

Why is plankton important to marine food chains? Because it is the starting point. Without it, there would be nothing for fish to eat; without fish there would be nothing for water birds to eat.