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Introduction to Amphibians, Reptiles, and Birds

<p><strong>Fig. 5.1.</strong> Emperor penguin (<em>Aptenodytes forsteri</em>) jumping out of the water, Antarctica</p><br />

After fish, the next groups of animals to evolve were the amphibians, reptiles, and birds. These animals spread across the planet and adapted to a wide variety of environments (Fig. 5.1).

Ocean Literacy Principles

Principle 5: The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.

Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Ocean life ranges in size from the smallest virus to the largest animal that has lived on Earth, the blue whale. (OLP 5a)


Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Some major groups are found exclusively in the ocean. The diversity of major groups of organisms is much greater in the ocean than on land. (OLP 5c)


Ocean Literacy Fundamental Concept: Ocean biology provides many unique examples of life cycles, adaptations and important relationships among organisms (such as symbiosis, predator-prey dynamics and energy transfer) that do not occur on land. (OLP 5d)


To build an understanding of how the ocean supports a diversity of living organisms and ecosystems, it is important to learn about the biology of amphibians, reptiles, and birds.


These concepts will be explored in this unit through the following activities and investigations:


Activity: Identifying Amphibians

Use a simple dichotomous key to correctly identify amphibian major groups.


Activity: Identifying Sea Turtles

Use a dichotomous key to correctly identify sea turtles down to the level of individual species.


Activity: In Cold Blood

Investigate how ectothermic organisms such as reptiles use behavior to regulate body temperatures.

Question Set

Question Set: Reptiles


Activity: Local Bird Guide

For species of marine birds in your area, create a local bird field guide with a dichotomous key and species summaries.


Activity: Alert and Escape Behavior

Understand the distance at which a bird becomes alert to a nearby animal and at which it decides to escape. This demonstrates an important anti-predator behavior.

Question Set

Question Set: Birds

Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.