Lesson 1 – Introduction to Saline Environments & Microbial Halophiles

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Course:  Integrated Science, Physics, Biotechnology and/or STEM courses

Unit:  Measurement, Scientific Process, and Instrumentation Design


See Standards Addressed for all NGSS, WA State (Science, Math and Literacy), and NOAA Ocean Literacy Education Standards Connections.  In addition to the aligned objectives linked above, for this lesson, here is a breakdown of:

What Students Learn:

  • Environments of differing salinities form on earth.
  • Human activities impact saline environments by altering the salinity and/or introducing pollution.
  • Extremophilic organisms such as Halobacterium salinarum can live in high salinity environments.
  • Evidence indicates similar saline environments once existed or now exist on other planets.

What Students Do:

  • Propose reasons why salinities of water bodies differ across the globe.
  • Brainstorm how they could measure populations of microbes from these saline environments.