Week 11: marine worms and the Deep Ocean

Week 11: Marine Worms and the Deep Ocean

Marine Worms

1.) Read through chapter 8 of The Seaside Naturalist and become familiar with the various types of marine worms. There are quite a few!Who knew?

2.) Become familiar with the taxonomy and basic anatomy of each type of marine worm. Which ones are most closely related to the earthworms you commonly see in your yard or garden?

3.) Look through your local field guides to see what types of marine worms you have a chance of finding in your area. Take notes in your notebook on specific habitats to concentrate on in your search efforts and think of the methods you will be using to spot them and catch them. Will you be looking for castings in sandy areas, searching under horseshoe crabs, inspecting  rocks, sifting through seaweed, surveying the coral reefs, visiting a worm reef, or splitting open some oysters in search of your prey? What tools will you need to collect them? Make a search plan with target locations, search methods, and tools you will use.

4.) Follow your plan and spend the next few days searching for marine worms in your target locations. Be sure to record your failures as well as your successes because we learn something from both.

5.) Once you find a marine worm, try to identify it as best you can, and  sketch it in your notebook. In addition to your sketch, record as much data as you can about it. Be sure to note several things:

  • where you found it, specifically (ex: “under 3 inches of fine  sand”) and generally (“shallow waters of Florida Bay, Key Largo”)
  • time and tide conditions
  • behaviors observed
  • measurements
  • any other relevant information

Do your best to try and collect this information on at least three different types of marine worms this week, but don’t sweat it if you can’t find that many. They can be hard to find!

6.) Share your information here!

TOTALLY OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: dissect an earthworm. Get an earth worm (dig one up, go to a bait shop, or order a preserved specimen online). Use this online dissection guide and dissect your worm to learn all about earthworm anatomy or just do this virtual dissection. Earthworms are not marine worms, but are in the same phylum as some of the marine worms we are learning about, so much can be learned form a dissection of this readily available species. Be sure to make labeled drawings in your notebook.
The Deep Ocean

7.) Unfortunately, I don’t believe we will be able to explore this habitat in a hands-on way! However, in order to experience a little of what the deep ocean is like, now would be a good time to watch the Blue Planet episode titled “The Deep.” (available to watch instantly on Netflix)

8.) There are some stunning photos of deep sea life in the website Explore the Abyss. Lots of photo collections here. Check them out and be inspired!

9.) You also should spend some time exploring the following article: The Deep Ocean. There is a ton of good information there and in the many links provided in that article and lots of great inbedded video as well. Don’t miss those!

Pay particular attention to th descriptions of the physical characteristics of the Deep Sea: light, temperature, pressure oxygen, and food. It is these physical characteristics which shape and drive the whole system, yielding the variety of strange and wonderful life forms we find down below. Be sure to note the various ways animal life has adapted to each of these physical characteristics to survive in this habitat.

10.) Choose one deep sea organism to research in depth.

  • Fill a 2 page notebook spread with a combination of information, drawings, photos, art, whatever, on this organism.
  • Be sure the information is in your own words (no copy/paste-ing).
  • Think about the design and layout of your pages so that it will be both  attractive AND informative. Get creative, make it awesome!
  • Take photos and share your  work here!
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