This is the first of a four day lesson plan, in the Unit Plankton Ecology. This lesson explores marine primary production, phytoplankton and zooplankton. Students will learn about photosynthesis, production in the ocean and food web dynamics that link phytoplankton to higher trophic levels, such as fish, birds and whales. Diversity within phytoplankton and zooplankton is introduced, and many of the important taxonomic groups are covered.

  • Become familiar with marine planktonic organisms, their diversity, ecological strategies and trophic connections.
  • This lesson begins by revisiting the basic concepts of Photosynthesis, production, and food webs. The different phytoplankton groups are then introduced: diversity, main characteristics, morphology, and basic habitat preference in the ocean. Zooplankton is covered next, with a very basic synopsis of their diversity, ecology and role in the food web. This lesson is part of a four lesson plan, which is summarized, along with the standards addressed, in the Unit Plankton Ecology. The introduction can be given using the Plankton Introductory Lecture PowerPoint. Background information for each slide of the lecture is included in presentation, but can also be found in the Plankton Lecture Teacher Notes.
  • This activity was designed for high school Marine Science and Biology students. The goal of this lesson is to learn about the main plankton groups in the ocean, including phyto- and zooplankton and the marine food web.
  • Questions and class discussion.

Pelagic Annelid

E. Huxlevi Bloom in the Atlantic Ocean

Lesson Materials
Related Phytoplankton Lessons
Lesson Specifics
  • Grade Level: High School Marine Science and Biology Students
  • Time Frame: 30-45 minutes

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