Estuarine Ecology Resources for Teachers SEa Grant logo

photo of estuary These resources were developed by students in BI 360 (Marine Ecology) and GS 311 (Biology for Educators) classes at Western Oregon University. The students all participated in field and laboratory research in the estuary in the Spring of 2011 and built their lesson plans around those research experiences. Dr. Karen Haberman's ongoing research examines invertebrate assemblages in different marshes throughout the estuary. These marshes, which were formerly disrupted by diking, have been recovering for different periods of time and Dr. Haberman's research examines if the invertebrate assemblages change along a known trajectory by using a "space for time" substitution. This substitution involves using fallout traps and benthic core samples to compare invertebrates from a marsh that was never diked to marshes that had dikes removed during different years. This research project, and the development of the lesson plans linked to it, were funded by Oregon Sea Grant.

An activity that emphasizes the importance of standardizing measurement and allows students to understand the methodology of taking benthic core samples.
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Comparing estuary and schoolyard plants
An activity that builds observation skills through comparisons of estuary and schoolyard plants. Students have the opportunity to record and organize data.
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Download plant flashcards and plant clues

Adaptations of estuary organisms
An activity that engages students in a discussion of abiotic factors and natural selection.
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Estuary food webs
An activity that traces the movement of energy from autotrophic producers through various estuarine organisms. Students can consider how disruptions to the estuary can influence food webs.
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Download foodweb cards

The salmon trail
An activity that examines the life cycle of salmon and how different stages of salmon can be impacted by human activities. This activity uses graphing to understand data patterns.
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Download "game" powerpoint file