Marine Ecosystems

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In the wild, small crustaceans known as brine shrimp live in marine habitats such as saltwater lakes. In this activity, learners create a saltwater or marine ecosystem that becomes an experimental brine shrimp hatchery. Learners observe the brine shrimp life cycle and test the effect of salinity (salt content) on brine shrimp eggs and larvae, as well as consider the potential impact of other variables such as water temperature and pollution.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 7 days

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Model, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • brine shrimp eggs (cysts)
  • paper
  • magnifying lenses
  • three 500-ml clear containers
  • dechlorinated or spring water
  • graduated cylinders
  • instant ocean sea salt or aquarium salt
  • measuring spoons
  • markers
  • masking tape
  • thermometer
  • baker's yeast
  • small dip net
  • flashlight
  • spoon
  • petri dish
  • microscope
  • rock salt
  • student journals and writing tools


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Human Impact
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Solutions
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations

Informal Categories

  • Animals


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Science After School Consumer's Guide


  • All rights reserved, State of New Jersey, 2006

Funding Source:

  • No Child Left Behind Act of 2001