Thorp High School - Mrs. Steinbach


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Limnology Lesson Resources

Diversity of Aquatic Organisms
Chapter 3 The Single-Celled and Colonial Organisms
Chapter 4 Rotifers, Annelids, and Arthropods
Chapter 5 Larger Organisms

Items listed on this page may be added, removed, and/or modified as we progress through the school year.

Anchor Activities

Lesson Resources

Diversity of Aquatic Organisms: The Single-Celled and Colonial Organisms, Chapter 3

Diversity of Aquatic Organisms: Rotifers, Annelids, and Arthropods, Chapter 4

Diversity of Aquatic Organisms: Larger Organisms, Chapter 5

  • Molluscs
    • video Freshwater Mussels (video, youtube, 4:31)
    • video Threats to Freshwater Mussels and the Consequences for Ecosystems (website/video)
    • video Freshwater Mussel Anatomy (video, youtube, 9:51)
    • lab Zebra Mussel Study
      Through your studies, you will develop and understanding of the taxonomy, morphology/anatomy, habitat, life cycle, and ecological/economic impact of the zebra mussel
      • Procedure:
        1. Research and answer the following questions about the zebra mussel.
          1. What are zebra mussels?
          2. Why are they called zebra mussels?
          3. What are the kingdom, phylum, and class of the zebra mussel?
          4. What is the scientific name, in other words genus and species, of the zebra mussel?
        2. Observe a zebra mussel under a dissecting scope. Make a sketch(es) of it.  Be sure to record the length of the shell.
        3. Conduct a general freshwater mussel video dissection of a freshwater mussel. Stop the video along the way to draw and highlight the following important features: dorsal, ventral, posterior, anterior, growth lines, umbo, hinge ligament, byssal threads, pallial line, inhalant or incurrent siphon, exhalent or excurrent siphon, visceral mass, nacre (or nacreous layer), mantle, foot, and gills. Then answer the following questions.
          1. What is the oldest part of the shell?
          2. A bivalve shell has two halves. What are they called?
          3. What is a more common term for the nacre (or nacreous layer)?
          4. What is the significance of the pallial line?
          5. What is the purpose of the gills?
          6. How many pair of gills are there?
          7. What is the purpose of the foot?
          8. What does the visceral mass contain?
          9. Do they have a complete or incomplete digestive system?
          10. Does the mussel have a heart?
        4. Now, watch a bivalve digestive system video and bivalve respiratory system video.
        5. What is the habitat of a zebra mussel like?  Well, zebra mussels typically live in still or slow-moving freshwater systems. They attach themselves, using their byssal threads, to any hard surface under water, usually two to 12 meters deep. The hard surface can be natural or man-made.
        6. The mussel has an interesting life cycle. To learn more, watch this life cycle video. Refer to your life cycle handout as you do so. You may want to add any additional notes for future reference.
        7. The mussel is a powerful filter feeder. To better understand this, please watch a time lapse video of mussels filter feeding.
        8. Finally, zebra mussel is considered an invasive species in our area. Please research and answer the following questions to learn more about what an invasive species, specifically the zebra mussel.
          1. What is an invasive species?
          2. Where did the zebra mussel originally come from?
          3. How did zebra mussels get to North America?
          4. When were zebra mussels first discovered in the Great Lakes?
          5. Have the mussels spread to other areas?
          6. How do zebra mussels colonize?
          7. How are zebra mussels impacting the Great Lakes? For example,
            a. What is their impact on raw water supplies?
            b. What is the projected cost to water intake facilities?
            c. What are the potential impacts on sportfishing?
            d. What is the projected cost to the sportfishing industry?
            e. What are the impacts on boating and shipping?
            f. What are the costs to recreational and commercial navigation?
          8. Are there any biological controls that will help to check the growth of the zebra mussel population?
          9. What are some possible physical control methods that might help to check the growth of the zebra mussel population?
          10. How close is the zebra mussel made it to our community? The following websites may help you with this question.
    • lab Invasive Species Simulation & Specimen Study
  • Fishes
  • Other Vertebrates: Classes Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves, and Mammalia


Course Details




Intro to Limn
(Ch 1 & 2)

Diversity of Aquatic
(Ch 3, 4, & 5)

Freshwater Community Changes
(Ch 8)

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