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Activity: Tunicate Life History

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:

NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:


  • Fig. 3.103 [in development]
  • Table 3.13
  • Table 3.14
  • Colored pencils


  1. For each tunicate structure listed in Table 3.13, use the resources available to you to
    1. give an overall description and note its function, and
    2. note its presence or absence in adult and larval forms.
  2. Create a diagram to show the movement of food, water, and wastes in tunicates. Use Fig. 3.103 A and B if needed. Use colored pencils if needed. Label appropriate structures from Table 3.13 in your diagram.
  3. What is the function of the tunic?
    1. Use a dictionary for information on the word tunic with reference to clothing.
    2. Compare and contrast the uses of this word.
  4. Compare and contrast tunicate and human structure and functions. Use the resources available to you to fill out Table 3.14.


Activity Questions: 
  1. Compare and contrast tunicate larvae and adult life histories.
  2. Look at Table 3.13.
    1. Which structures are the most important for defining this group compared with other invertebrates? Explain.
    2. Were all tunicate structures present in both the larval and adult forms? Explain.
  3. Looking at Table 3.14, what two features of human and tunicates are
    1. most similar? Explain.
    2. least similar? Explain.
  4. What is unique about the structure and function of a tunicate heart?
  5. Why are tunicates considered closely related to humans?

Table of Contents:

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.