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Biodiversity in a Drop of Water

based on 6 ratings
Author: Crystal Beran

Grade Level: 3rd - 8th; Type: Life Science

Objective:

To compare biodiversity between drops of water.

The purpose of this experiment is to find out how the biodiversity compares in drops of water taken from the ocean, a pond, a puddle and the tap.

Research Questions:

  • What is plankton?
  • What is the different between zooplankton and plant plankton?
  • Why is plankton an important part of a healthy aquatic ecosystem?
  • What types of creatures make up the population of plankton?
  • Is it possible for some types of plankton to turn into any other types of plants or animals?
  • What kinds of creatures can you expect to find in ocean water?
  • What kinds of creatures can you expect to find in fresh water?

There are many different plants and animals that can be found in a single drop of water. These creatures are often too small to see without the aid of a microscope or a magnifying glass. Scientists use these microscopic life forms to evaluate the health of various bodies of water. A healthy aquatic ecosystem will contain many different types of microscopic life forms. These small life forms, known as plankton, are an important part of a food web. Though they are small, there are so many of them that they form the bulk of the food supply in the water. Small fish, crustaceans and other animals feed on plankton and then these small animals are eaten by larger creatures. Without a healthy population of plankton, larger animals would not be able to survive.

Materials:

  • Eye dropper
  • 4 vials to keep water in
  • Slides
  • Microscope
  • Books on microscopic life

You can borrow science supplies from your school’s science lab. Alternatively, science supplies can be purchased from a science supply catalogue.

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Collect samples of water from the ocean, a pond, a puddle and the tap.
  2. Label each of the containers so that you don’t get your samples confused.
  3. Use the eyedropper to place one drop of ocean water on a slide.
  4. Observe the life you find under a microscope. Take notes and make drawings of the creatures that you find.
  5. Make four more slides of ocean water and observe the life forms you find in these as well.
  6. Use the eyedropper to place one drop of pond water on a slide.
  7. Observe the life you find under a microscope. Take notes and make drawings of the creatures that you find.
  8. Make four more slides of pond water and observe the life forms you find in these as well.
  9. Use the eyedropper to place one drop of puddle water on a slide.
  10. Observe the life you find under a microscope. Take notes and make drawings of the creatures that you find.
  11. Make four more slides of puddle water and observe the life forms you find in these as well.
  12. Use the eyedropper to place one drop of tap water on a slide.
  13. Observe the life you find under a microscope. Take notes and make drawings of the creatures that you find.
  14. Make four more slides of tap water and observe the life forms you find in these as well.
  15. Identify the creatures you have found using books or the internet.
  16. Compare the life you have found in the different water samples. 

Terms/Concepts: Biodiversity; Native species; Invasive species; Ecosystem; Food web; Food chain; Niche; Animal; Plant; Fungus;  Bacteria; Protozoa; Plankton; Zooplankton; Plant plankton

References:

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