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The kingdoms in a water drop: an introduction to microscopy and the kingdoms of lifeFeatured science projectScience project video


Were the organisms in Kingdom Plantae or Protista more mobile than organisms in Kingdom Animal? Why or why not?

Were the organisms in your water sample primarily from one kingdom? If so, why do you think this is? If not, why not?

Were there any kingdoms you did not observe under the microscope? Why or why not?

Questions & Answers

What differences did you notice between plants that live in the water (otherwise known as aquatic plants) and plants that live on land (terrestrial plants)?

Most aquatic plants are single-celled (unicellular), with the exception of seaweed and sea grasses, among others. This is a better adaptation for life in water because they will be less likely to sink and can move around more easily to find better living conditions, such as more light and nutrients. Terrestrial plants, like redwood trees, can get extremely large. On land being large doesn?t limit plants because they are rooted in soil, which is where they get their nutrients.

What differences did you notice between animals that live in water (aquatic animals) and animals that live on land (terrestrial animals)?

There is more than one answer to this question. Aquatic animals can also be much smaller than terrestrial animals, depending on the stage of their development. For example, copepods, which are arthropods like insects, need to be viewed with a microscope. The smaller size of aquatic animals allows them to eat all the small food that?s lower in the food chain, like protists. We also know though that aquatic animals can get very large, like the blue whale. In general, aquatic food chains are more complicated so there is more size variation in aquatic animals than there is in terrestrial animals. They can also discuss locomotion, lack of fur, lack of pigment, etc.

Make it Your Own

Do some research to answer the following questions:

Which kingdom of life has the largest living organism(s)?

Which kingdom of life has the smallest living organism(s)?

Which kingdom of life has the longest-lived organism(s)?

Which kingdom of life has the shortest-lived organism(s)?


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    Complexity level:
    Project cost ($):
    Time required:
    This science project may be completed in 1 hour if water samples are provided. Otherwise, you should allocate 1 day to complete the experiment, if water samples need to be collected. Natural water samples vary by how many living organisms can be found in a
    Material availability:
    You will need access to a pond or pond water samples. You will also need access to a compound light microscope to examine the samples.
    Safety concerns:

    Practice good hygiene after collecting and handling water samples from a pond. Some ponds may contain pollutants or fecal material (such as from waterfowl, fish or sewage).