Using Sampling to Determine the Species Composition of an Ecosystem

A woman in orange rain slickers holding a pollock with yellow rubber gloves.

In 2018, Lacee Sherman sailed on a Midwater Assessment and Conservation Engineering Program (MACE) research cruise, which was conducting an acoustic survey of pollock in the Bering Sea. Learn more about Lacee’s experience aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson by reading her NOAA Teacher at Sea blogs.

Grade Level: 7th

Subjects (Focus/Topic): Biology, Ecology, Environmental Science – species composition

Average Learning Time: two, 50-minute periods

Description: Students will use sampling to learn the species composition of different marine environments. Students often think that in order to collect accurate data, every object must be accounted for or observable. This lab activity will help the students to realize that having a consistent sampling technique and multiple trials can be used in situations when not every item or object is able to be measured.

NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson at sea
Click on this image to learn more about the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson. Photo credit: NOAA