Discovering Plankton at the Martinez Marina

Written by Cayla Naranjo, Program Coordinator

“Plankton really doesn’t look like how it does in Sponge Bob!” exclaimed Tiana as she studied the tiny organisms in her field microscope. Fourth grade students from Marina Vista Elementary School in Pittsburg concluded their KIDS for the BAY Watershed Action Program with an exciting Field Trip to the Martinez Marina. They were thrilled to collect water samples from the delta, using a plankton net, and then observe zooplankton and phytoplankton under their microscopes.

Students were eager to share their knowledge from their KIDS for the BAY Classroom Lessons and their findings from the Field Trip. “Plankton are really small animals that live in the ocean.” Jose explained. “Whales and lots of other animals eat them. They are at the bottom of the food chain,” Maria added. Using plankton identification cards, Carlos identified the organisms under his microscope, “I can see a baby barnacle and a phytoplankton!”

The plankton study was a new and engaging experience for many of the students. Rashaud said, “I had never seen plankton before, or used a plankton net! And I’ve never been fishing before, especially not fishing for plankton!”

KIDS for the BAY