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Animals of the Estuary - Part 1

The estuary has abundant plant and animal life. We've already learned about one kind of animal - zooplankton. In your notebook, start a new page and label it "Animals of the Estuary." Write down what you remember about zooplankton. What other kinds of animals do you think live in the estuary?
Then, click on the link below to find out more about creatures of the estuary.

Animals - Part 2

Eelgrass Isopod

Read the box on the right, in your notebook, write down the definitions for herbivore, carnivore, and detritivore. You can put the definitions in your own words. Think of an example of each one, and write it beside the definition (your example does not have to be from the estuary).
In your notebook, draw the following chart:

Brant Goose

We learned that plants are called producers because they make their own food through photosynthesis. Animals are known as consumers, they consume other organisms to get their food. Animals that eat plants are called herbivores. Animals that eat meat are called carnivores. Animals that eat dead or decaying things are called detritivores. What are you?

Juvenile Bald Eagle
Saddlebag Island, WA

Click on the following links to read about animals of the estuary. As you read, look for what kinds of things each animal eats, and write it in the correct category in your chart. (Looking above, you can see that the Brant Goose has been filled in for you. We know that the Brant eats eelgrass, so it is listed under the category of herbivore.)

Estuary Animals
Hermit Crabs

Choose one of the animals that you read about. In your notebook, write down why you think this animal is interesting. What else would you like to learn about it?

Decorator Crab
Saddlebag Island, WA

Animals - Part 3

Remember the picture of shells in the eelgrass on the "Start Here" page? Those shells are living creatures called batallaria snails. In Padilla Bay, you can see thousands of them on the mud flats. In the picture below, you can see the little snails all over the beach.

Batallaria Snails
Padilla Bay, WA

Guess what....all those thousands of snails do not belong there! Back in 1930, some people decided to have an oyster farm in Padilla Bay. They brought oysters from Japan (they thought they were better than our local oysters). The oyster farming didn't work out, but they later found that they had brought other organisms with the oysters. When an animal or plant is brought from one habitat to another, it's called an invasive species.
What affect do you think an invasive species might have on the estuary system? What do you think people should do about invasive species? In your notebook, write the title "Invasive Species" and write down what you think.
Then, click on the links below to read about invasive species.

Invasive Species
More Invasive Species

So far, batallaria snails seem to be getting along in Padilla Bay without causing any problems. Are all invasive species harmless? In your notebook, write down what you learned about invasive species.

Be prepared for our whole-group discussion time by having your notebook filled out with the following items:
  1. What you've learned today.
  2. Any questions you still have about estuary animals.
  3. Interesting things you'd like to share (such as scientific drawings, interesting facts, etc.).

Become an estuary expert!

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