LIFE IN THE SEA
Now we are ready to learn about the many different kinds of plants and animals that live in the ocean. The ocean has one of the highest levels of diversity of any environment on earth. Marine organisms range in size from the mighty blue whale (nearly 100 feet in length!) to the microscopic bacteria. The seas are inhabited from the very shallowest to the very deepest parts by creatures sometimes quite strange yet perfectly adapted to their environment.
Students will first learn the conditions necessary for life to exist and how life on earth actually began in the seas many millions of years ago. They will understand the term evolution and will begin to investigate the evolution of living organisms from the most simple organisms to the wide diversity of both simple and complex organisms that we see today. Plants as part of life in the sea and on land will be part of this unit, as well as learning about plankton--a significant foundation to all life in the sea.
In addition, students will learn how scientists classify the myriad of life on Earth using the Linnaean system. They will be introduced to tools that biologists use to identify plants and animals, like the dichotomous key. Finally, the students will progress through a study of all five kingdoms of life in the sea, beginning with the intrepid bacteria and ending with a study of the vertebrates, especially the marine mammals.