• Aquatic Science, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (adopted 2010)  


    In Aquatic Science, students study the interactions of biotic and abiotic components in aquatic environments, including impacts on aquatic systems. Investigations and field work in this course may emphasize freshwater or marine aspects of aquatic science depending primarily upon the natural resources available for study near the school. Students who successfully complete Aquatic Science will acquire knowledge about a variety of aquatic systems, conduct investigations and observations of aquatic environments, work collaboratively with peers, and develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.


    Scientific Processes

    (A) The student, for at least 40% of instructional time, conducts laboratory and field investigations using safe, environmentally appropriate, and ethical practices. 

    (B) The student uses scientific practices during laboratory and field investigations.

    (C)The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions. 


    Science Concepts

    Students know that aquatic environments are the product of Earth systems interactions. 

    The student is expected to:

    (A)  identify key features and characteristics of atmospheric, geological, hydrological, and biological systems as they relate to aquatic environments;

    (B)  apply systems thinking to the examination of aquatic environments, including positive and negative feedback cycles; and

    (C)  collect and evaluate global environmental data using technology such as maps, visualizations, satellite data, Global Positioning System (GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS), weather balloons, buoys, etc.


    The student conducts long-term studies on local aquatic environments. Local natural environments are to be preferred over artificial or virtual environments. 

    The student is expected to:

    (A)  evaluate data over a period of time from an established aquatic environment documenting seasonal changes and the behavior of organisms;

    (B)  collect baseline quantitative data, including pH, salinity, temperature, mineral content, nitrogen compounds, and turbidity from an aquatic environment;

    (C)  analyze interrelationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in a local aquatic ecosystem; and

    (D)  identify the interdependence of organisms in an aquatic environment such as in a pond, river, lake, ocean, or aquifer and the biosphere.


    The student knows the role of cycles in an aquatic environment. 

    The student is expected to:

    (A)  identify the role of carbon, nitrogen, water, and nutrient cycles in an aquatic environment, including upwellings and turnovers; and

    (B)  examine the interrelationships between aquatic systems and climate and weather, including El Niño and La Niña, currents, and hurricanes.


    The student knows the origin and use of water in a watershed. 

    The student is expected to:

    (A)  identify sources and determine the amounts of water in a watershed, including rainfall, groundwater, and surface water;

    (B)  identify factors that contribute to how water flows through a watershed; and

    (C)  identify water quantity and quality in a local watershed.


    The student knows that geological phenomena and fluid dynamics affect aquatic systems. 

    The student is expected to:

    (A)  demonstrate basic principles of fluid dynamics, including hydrostatic pressure, density, salinity, and buoyancy;

    (B)  identify interrelationships between ocean currents, climates, and geologic features; and

    (C)  describe and explain fluid dynamics in an upwelling and lake turnover.


    The student knows the types and components of aquatic ecosystems. 

    The student is expected to:

    (A)  differentiate among freshwater, brackish, and saltwater ecosystems;

    (B)  identify the major properties and components of different marine and freshwater life zones; and

    (C)  identify biological, chemical, geological, and physical components of an aquatic life zone as they relate to the organisms in it.


    The student knows environmental adaptations of aquatic organisms. 

    The student is expected to:

    (A)  classify different aquatic organisms using tools such as dichotomous keys;

    (B)  compare and describe how adaptations allow an organism to exist within an aquatic environment; and

    (C)  compare differences in adaptations of aquatic organisms to fresh water and marine environments.


    The student knows about the interdependence and interactions that occur in aquatic environments. 

    The student is expected to:

    (A)  identify how energy flows and matter cycles through both fresh water and salt water aquatic systems, including food webs, chains, and pyramids; and

    (B)  evaluate the factors affecting aquatic population cycles.


    The student understands how human activities impact aquatic environments. 

    The student is expected to:

    (A)  predict effects of chemical, organic, physical, and thermal changes from humans on the living and nonliving components of an aquatic ecosystem;

    (B)  analyze the cumulative impact of human population growth on an aquatic system;

    (C)  investigate the role of humans in unbalanced systems such as invasive species, fish farming, cultural eutrophication, or red tides;

    (D)  analyze and discuss how human activities such as fishing, transportation, dams, and recreation influence aquatic environments; and

    (E)  understand the impact of various laws and policies such as The Endangered Species Act, right of capture laws, or Clean Water Act on aquatic systems.