Students in Mrs. Vicky Giusti’s Environmental Science class took their research on aquatic biomes, right to the source: The Shedd Aquarium, home to 32,000 creatures from aquatic habitats around the world. During a recent field trip, they were able to walk through a flooded forest in Amazon Rising and watch sharks swimming overhead in Wild Reef.

Literally, they came face-to-face with zebra, sandbar, wobbegong and blacktip reef sharks while enjoying the beauty of corals, before exploring the most diverse rainforest in the world.

But they were doing more than sightseeing.

With iPads in hand, students completed lab worksheets that focused on marine and freshwater biomes.

“This was a perfect opportunity for students to experience the Coral Reef, the Wild Reefs, and the Amazons exhibits,” Mrs. Giusti said.

At each exhibit, students had to answer specific questions as they observed the creatures in their native surroundings. They ranged from identifying animals that used camouflage to survive in the reef, to observing the different adaptations of the “jellies,” to discovering how plant life contributes to life in the Amazon. They also worked to identify some of the major environmental factors in marine biomes.

In addition to collecting data, students also captured photos of marine and plant life in their native biomes to add to their PowerPoint presentations, which they will begin sharing on Wednesday in order to teach their classmates about their assigned biome.

Look for these Environmental Students to be veritable experts on their biomes this week, including being able to identify their worldwide locations, precipitation and temperatures, as well as characteristics and adaptations that allow animals in these biomes to survive.