Open Ocean Food Web and Ecotoxicology

Open Ocean Food Web and Ecotoxicology
By: Laura Canton
Marine Science
A. Standards Addressed
B-6.1 – Explain how the interrelationships among organisms (including predation, competition,
parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism) generate stability within ecosystems.
B. Performance Objectives
Following completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
 Create a food-web
 Define ecosystem, competition, and predation, and bioaccumulation
 Understand sources of anthropogenic pollution
C. Lesson Plan
1. Concept Exploration
Show part of Blue Planet: Seas of Life Open Ocean video. Review the concepts of
predators and prey. Have students give examples from the video of which organisms ate other
2. Concept Introduction
Go through the Ecotoxicology power point to show the different anthropogenic pollutants
and how pollutants, such as methylmercury, can get passed up the food chain.
Explain to students that they will research one animal from the video, including whether
it is predator, prey, or both. Include the information below:
· Name of animal species
· Size (length or height and weight; give a range)
· Physical characteristics
· Where does this animal species live?
· What is its habitat?
· Is it prey? (if yes, list predators)
· Is it a predator? (if yes, list prey)
· Both prey and predator?
Below is a list of possible organisms:
· plankton
· hammerhead shark
· triggerfish
· spinner dolphin
· baleen whale
· striped marlin
· sardine
manta ray
yellowfin tuna
spotted dolphin
blue shark
pilot whale
olive ridley turtle
3. Concept Application
Have students put on nametags with their organism. Give every student a piece of string
and form a circle. Start with the top predators, and tell them to connect with an animal they eat.
Have them work their way down the food chain. They should form a complex web, with
multiple people connecting to plankton. Then discuss how methylmercury gets passed up the
food chain through plankton. Ask the students what would happen if a human eats one of the top
**Adapted from Discovery Education Lesson Plans:
Helpful Websites:
· Sea World: Animal Information Database (see also “Animal Bytes”)
· Ocean Oasis Field Guide
· Ocean Animals
· Ocean Realm: Sea Dwellers
· National Aquarium in Baltimore: Species
Assignment Discovery Lesson Plan
· Enchanted Learning: Ocean Life