Project Deep Sea Species

With the oceans covering nearly 70% of the Earth’s surface to an average depth of over 12,000 feet.  The deep sea makes up over 99% of the Earth’s inhabitable space.  It is a thee dimensional universe that is dark, cold, under extreme pressure and has no hard surfaces.  It is home to some of the most bizarre and least understood species on Earth.  It’s no exaggeration to say we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the life in the deep sea.

Task

In the deep ocean new species are discovered nearly every time a submarine goes down into the depths.  Many of these species, although related to species closer to the surface, are completely different and unique.  Its your job to build and “infographic” to compare one of these newly discovered species and its environment to a surface species and its environment.

Steps to building an Infographic

  1. Explore the gallery of infographics found at visual.ly.
  2. Choose your species.  Do some research and gather assets about your species and the deep sea environment that it calls home.  Evaluate what information is most valuable.  Site your sources using easy bib.
  3. Select a type of infographic (a diagram, a map, a chart, a timeline, etc)
  4. Organize your ideas considering an inverse pyramid (the most important ideas come first, followed by supporting content)
  5. Make a rough draft of your infographic on paper.
  6. Choose a tool (Google Draw, Easel.ly, or picktochart.com) If you use one of the last two, use the free version.  Select layout.  Select colors, fonts, images, and charts that help communicate critical information about your species.
  7. Proofread and edit your work with a partner.

Guide for Research:

Habitat

Learn which of the following deep sea zones for your species comes from and what it’s like. Collect some assets (data, images, facts) and cite your sources.

I. Pelagic:

  • Epipelagic (sunlight zone)
  • Mesopelagic (twilight zone)
  • Bathypelagic (midnight zone)
  • Abyssopelagic (abyssal zone)

II. Benthic Sediments:

  • Littoral
  • Sub-littoral
  • Bathyal
  • Abyssal
  • Ultra-abyssal

Classification

Learn what type of organism is it? Is it a jellyfish (phylum Cnidaria) or a comb jellie (phylum Ctenophora)?  Is it a bony fish (class ostyichthes)?  Is it a deep sea squid (class cephelepoda)?  Even a newly discovered species will fit into a certain Phylum, Order, and Class.

Movement and Feeding :

The deep sea is arguably more dangerous than any place on earth – the rule is eat or be eaten. Nearly all creatures in the deep sea are opportunistic feeders. That means they will eat what ever they can. No less important in the deep sea is the ability to save energy. Food does not come along to often. This creates a natural tension for which deep sea species have some interesting adaptations. Learn how your species has adapted to eat, conserve energy and avoid being eaten. Collect some assets (data, images, facts) and cite your sources.

Body form, size, and color

Deep sea species are all unique, but lots of species are gelatinous, round, red, and small.  Find out why. Learn what your species is like.  Collect some assets (data, images, facts) and cite your sources.

Sensory Adaptations:

The abyss is largely dark and cold with pressures that make life seem impossible.  Yet life thrives in the deep sea.  Like any other organism deep sea species must respond to their environment.  To do so in the deep sea, requires some remarkable sensory adaptations.  Learn how your species “reads” its environment, communicates with other species, and detects potential food and mates.  Collect some assets (data, images, facts) and cite your sources.

Research Tools

VA’s Deep Sea Chapter 

Oikos Explorer – Pictures and Video from deep sea dives
Monterey Bay Aquarium – Deep Sea Species
National Geographic – Deep Sea Creatures
Deep Sea Biology – Paul Yancey, Ph. D.
Deep Sea Photography – copyrighted images
Wikipedia – Deep Sea Fish
Deep Sea Wildlife – photo gallery
NOAA Deep Sea Species Gallery

Assessment List

Elements Points Possible Points Earned (peer) Points Earned (teacher)
The content of the infographic is specific in nature and informs the viewer of at least four scientifically accurate facts about the chosen species and how the species adaptations allow it to survive in its specific deep sea environment. 20
The main idea connects the physical features of the deep sea to the adaptations of the organism selected. 10
The layout of the infographic adheres to the inverted pyramid style – the main idea is prominent and flows naturally into the specific facts and supporting details which are less prominent. 10
The color and font choices enhance the readability of the infographic. 10
An annotated bibliographic for all sources used (at least 3) has been separately shared in google docs or printed out. (use easybib.com) 10
Totals 60

 

Matt – Barreleye Fish

Samantha and Mikaela – Frilled Shark

Brenna and Hunter – Giant Ostrocod

AJ – Giant Spider Crab

Michael – Blobfish

Samantha C – Giant Red Mysid

Mackenzie – Red Blood Comb Jellie

Megan W. – Pompom Anemone

Chey – Dragonfish

Megan C. – Firefly squid

Robert L – Sea pig

Alex G and Becky W – Hatchetfish

Emily and Josh – Dumbo Octopus