The Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics


Towson University Center for STEM Excellence

Bioscience Education and Outreach Program

SciTech Student Learning Laboratory

Chesapeake Bay Critter Investigation:
An Ecological Investigation
(Available from May 15 - October 31 only)
Appropriate for grades 3 through 12

Picture of a jelly fishIn this lab, students will work as marine biologists studying the biodiversity and testing the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Students will examine the diversity of invertebrates in the Bay by comparing invertebrate communities growing on biofilm discs in the Inner Harbor at different depths (1, 3, and 5 meters) to discover how the number of different organisms in the Bay changes with depth. Using dissection scopes in our SciTech lab, students will work with a lab partner to identify different species of organisms living on their disc. High school students will calculate various measures of biodiversity such as species richness, Simpson Index, and/or Shannon-Weiner Index. Students will also test for some or all of the following water quality factors at different depths to determine how water quality affects the number of different types of organisms in the Bay: temperature, salinity, pH, and turbidity. Weather permitting, students will collect their own water samples from the Inner Harbor to test for these water quality factors in the SciTech lab. This lab is only offered May 15 -October 31 when organisms are present on the discs.

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