f01u6p2 - Unit Six SSWIMS/Plankton Unit VI Science...

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Unit Six SSWIMS/Plankton Project Oceanography Fall 2001 105 Unit VI Science Standards with Integrative Marine Science-SSWIMS On the cutting edge… This program is brought to you by SSWIMS, a thematic, interdisciplinary teacher training program based on the California State Science Content Standards. SSWIMS is provided by the University of California Los Angeles in collaboration with the Los Angeles County school districts, including the Los Angeles Unified School District. SSWIMS is funded by a major grant from the National Science Foundation. Plankton Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to do the following: Determine a basis for plankton classification Differentiate between various plankton groups Compare and contrast plankton adaptations for buoyancy Key concepts: phytoplankton, zooplankton, density, diatoms, dinoflagellates, holoplankton, meroplankton Plankton Introduction Plankton ” is from a Greek word for “wanderer.” It is a collective term for the various organisms that drift or swim weakly in the open water of the sea or freshwater lakes and ponds. These weak swimmers, carried about by currents, range in size from the tiniest microscopic organisms to much larger animals such as jellyfish. Plankton can be divided into two large groups: planktonic plants and planktonic animals. The plant plankton or phytoplankton are the producers of ocean and freshwater food chains. They are autotrophs , making their own food, using the process of photosynthesis . The animal plankton or zooplankton eat food for energy. These heterotrophs feed on the microscopic world of the sea and transfer energy up the food pyramid to fishes, marine mammals, and humans. Scientists are interested in studying plankton, because they are the basis for food webs in both marine and freshwater ecosystems.
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Unit Six SSWIMS/Plankton Project Oceanography Fall 2001 106 Phytoplankton Planktonic plants are a kind of algae called phytoplankton . These tiny plants live near the surface because, like all plants, they need sunlight for photosynthesis. The density of water helps phytoplankton float, but phytoplankton still must fight against the force of gravity. Phytoplankton have special adaptations to stop them from sinking to the bottom to die. Because phytoplankton are tiny, they don’t weigh very much and they have a large surface area relative to their volume, which helps them float. Adaptations such as spines increase the surface area even more and prevent phytoplankton from sinking too fast. Phytoplankton also remain near the surface because warm surface waters of the sea and of lakes are regularly mixed each day by the wind down to a depth of about 30 meters (about 100 feet). Phytoplankton sink so slowly that
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f01u6p2 - Unit Six SSWIMS/Plankton Unit VI Science...

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