Assignment Discovery Biomes


In this activity, students collect information about different biomes by watching videos and doing research on the Web. They share their information in a carousel brainstorm activity and locate the biomes on a world map. Then student teams research different biomes and present their information to the class. As an option, students design an imaginary plant or animal that is adapted to a particular biome.

Note: This lesson plan was revised in September 2009, and now makes use of a Biomes interactive rather than two printable PDFs in the earlier version.


  • Identify terrestrial and aquatic biomes
  • Describe the environmental factors and the plants and animals of each biome
  • Identify the location of different biomes on a world map
  • Understand the interrelationship between environmental factors and the plants and animals within a biome
  • Describe examples of plant and animal adaptations to specific biomes

Suggested Time

  • Two to three class periods.

Multimedia Resources

Use these resources to create a simple assessment or video-based assignment with the Lesson Builder tool on PBS LearningMedia.


Before the Lesson

  • Make a copy of the Biome Worksheet (PDF) and the World Map (PDF) for each student.
  • Make a transparency of the Biome World Map.
  • Set up carousel brainstorm stations with newsprint and markers. Include the same categories on the newsprint as those on the Biome Worksheet (PDF)
  • Review the concepts of abiotic and biotic factors in ecosystems and plant and animal adaptations.

The Lesson

Part I

1. Give a copy of the Biome Worksheet (PDF) and a World Map (PDF) to each student. Then show the following biome videos:

You or your students can search PBS LearningMedia for other videos available on grassland/savanna, shrubland/chaparral taiga/coniferous forest, or temperate deciduous forest biomes. Ask students to take notes on each biome, using the Biome Worksheet (PDF).

2. Have student teams do a carousel brainstorm with a different newsprint station for each biome. Include the same categories on the newsprint as those on the Biome Worksheet (PDF). Place a blank World Map (PDF) at each station, and have students sketch in pencil where they think that biome is located. If teams disagree about the location, have them sketch in a different color pencil or pen. Rotate teams through each biome station. Then discuss the following as you review each station:

  • What are the unique characteristics of each biome?
  • How are the plants and animals of each biome adapted to their environment?
  • How are the biomes similar to one another?
  • Where in the world is each biome located? Use a pencil to mark the locations on your World Map (PDF).
  • Which biome do you live in?
  • What other biomes have you visited? What do you know about each one?

Display the Biome World Map, which uses different colors to represent the location of each biome station.

3. Show all groups a sample climograph (temperature and precipitation charts) from Biomes Interactive. Then discuss the following:

  • How does the physical environment affect the organisms that can live in a certain area? What is the interrelationship between abiotic and biotic factors?

4. Divide the class into biome teams:

  • Tundra (Arctic/Alpine),
  • Taiga/Coniferous Forest,
  • Temperate Deciduous Forest,
  • Grassland/Savanna,
  • Tropical Rain Forest,
  • Shrubland/Chaparral, and
  • Desert.

(You may not have enough students or materials to cover each of the biomes.) Have each team research their biome using at least three different resources, including Biomes, the Web, and the library. Their research should include climate information, important physical factors (such as soil type, tides, salinity, etc.), plants and animals, adaptations of the plants and animals to their environment, and environmental issues that affect the biome. In addition, ask students to create a climograph for their biomes, using a resource such as (

Check for Understanding

Have student teams present information on their biomes in creative ways—for example, using models, illustrations, travel brochures, skits, and so on. After each team presents, have them map their biome on a transparency or wall version of a World Map (PDF), using a different color for each biome.

Optional: Have students design an imaginary plant or animal that is adapted to the biome of their choice. Ask them to write a description of the organism and its adaptations and to make a drawing of it in its environment. Have students share their organisms with the class and display them.

Presentation on theme: "Aquatic Biomes Science 1206. Video: aquatic biome assignment-discovery-aquatic-biomes-video.htm."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aquatic Biomes Science 1206

2 Video: aquatic biome assignment-discovery-aquatic-biomes-video.htm

3 Marine biomes Marine biomes are divided into two zones. These marine communities are classified based upon depth: 1)Coastal zones: Intertidal (Littoral zone) Neritic zone 2) Open ocean Pelagic zone


5 Ocean Life Zones photic zone Supports photosynthesis aphotic zone Supports chemosynthesis only

6 Marine Biomes Marine biomes are oceans on the Earth that are interconnected, which contain a salt water environment. They cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. Temperatures remain fairly constant in the marine biome, with a variation with latitude. Ocean temperatures vary from 0 degrees in the polar regions to 32 degrees near the equator.

7 The life in the oceans is divided into two main groups: Benthic (bottom dwelling). Pelagic (free floating)

8 Aquatic Biomes of Canada Marine environments, also considered biomes by some ecologists, comprise the: Open ocean -Littoral (shallow water) regions -Benthic (bottom) regions Sandy shores Estuaries (coastal marches)‏ Tidal marshes

9 Intertidal zone (Littoral) ‏ Regulated by the tides caused by gravitational force of the moon. Home to many small species of fish and plant life. This area is covered by water during high tide and uncovered at low tide. Many types of seaweeds live here, along with clams, crabs, mussels, and star fish.


11 Neritic Zone Includes the shallow waters above the continental shelf, which extends out about 300 km. This zone contains the nutrients carried into oceans and rivers. This zone is shallow so therefore light reaches all the way to the ocean floor. Organisms such as algae, fish, mussels, crabs, barnacles, oysters, worms, and sea cucumbers live here.

12 Open Ocean (Pelagic zone) ‏ Filled with many large animals like sharks and whales. Because the water is deep in the ocean, light cannot reach the bottom so photosynthesis cannot occur.

13 Interesting facts... The evaporation of the marine biome provides most of the Earth’s rainfall, and the ocean’s temperature has a major effect on the world climate and wind patterns. Marine algae supply a substantial portion of the world’s oxygen.

14 Video: freshwater biome worlds-biomes-freshwater-video.htm elated

15 Freshwater Biomes The freshwater biome is comprised of rivers, lakes, ponds, swamps, bogs, etc. The volume of water in this biome is much smaller than that of the marine biome. The temperature variations are larger. Organisms living in fresh water must be able to adapt to a greater seasonal variation than those living in the ocean.

16 Freshwater Biomes Composed of three zones: Littoral Zone Limnetic Zone Profundal Zone

17 Littoral Zone lots of light, warm/cold, oxygen close to shore organisms include waterlillies and sedges

18 Limnetic Zone area of open lake sufficient light and oxygen heat will decrease with depth organisms include plankton and fish

19 Profundal Zone deep area of lake no light, very little oxygen cold water organisms include bacteria and bottom dwelling invertebrates


21 Importance of plankton Plankton are generally slow moving organisms that cannot swim strongly enough to avoid being carried about by water currents.

22 Most plankton are microscopic. There are two types of plankton: Phytoplankton Zooplankton

23 Phytoplankton Plant plankton, called phytoplankton, usually consist of one-celled plants, such as diatoms and dinoflagellates. Phytoplankton forms the base of the aquatic food webs. They grow using only the sunlight and the minerals in the water (photosynthesis). Therefore, they are considered autotrophs.

24 Zooplankton Zooplankton are animal plankton. They are heterotrophic and feed on phytoplankton.

25 What abiotic factors affect life in aquatic biomes? 1. Water 2. Temperature 3. Latitude

26 What abiotic factors affect life in aquatic biomes? 1. Water: Water is always present in the aquatic biomes unlike in terrestrial biomes.

27 What abiotic factors affect life in aquatic biomes? 2. Temperature (continued): Lakes and ponds show more change than the oceans. Oceans have an effect on the temperature of the land. Without oceans, the temperature of the Earth would vary much more than it does.

28 What abiotic factors affect life in aquatic biomes? 3. Latitude: Water temperature varies from 0 degrees (polar regions) to 32 degrees Celsius (near equator). This variation in latitude affects the kinds of marine life than can survive in what areas of the ocean.

29 Estuaries (coastal marshes) ‏ More productive biome than either the ocean or fresh water water is mostly shallow allowing light to penetrate to the bottom plant life is abundant and varied animal life is abundant

30 Some fish use the estuary as a nursery. When the young are large enough they leave the estuary for the ocean.

31 coastal marsh


33 Can you identify the sequence of organisms in this marine food web?

34 Sources of Water Pollution Human sewage decaying plant life industrial waste animal wastes runoff fertilizers pesticides Herbicides Detergents

35 How oil enters marine ecosystems? Oil tanker accidents offshore wells spills On-shore oil spills thru drainage pipes

36 Disadvantages of the Oil pollution on Marine Ecosystems (pg.148) ‏ floating oil harms birds: -No longer water proof -They freeze to death can prevent birds and marine mammals from breathing heavy oil sinks and destroys bottom dwellers such as mussels, crabs and oysters. Since bottom dwellers are part of the food chain,oil eventually enters the bodies of birds, fish and humans.

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