Got Fish Species? Discover fish facts
There are nearly 3,000 plant and animal species in and around the Chesapeake Bay (Murdy, 1997). Five major categories of fishes occupy the Chesapeake Bay area: freshwater, marine, anadromous, and catadromous (Murdy, 1997). There are more than 25,000 species of fishes alive and present in our world (Helfman,1997). About 267 species of fish visit the waters of our Chesapeake Bay as permanent residents, spawning migrants, and seasonal visitors (Murdy, 1997). Of these 267 fish species, only 32 species are year-round residents of the Bay. (Murdy, 1997).

In this activity, students learn details about fish species in the Upper, Middle, and Lower Chesapeake Bay. The students will observe data from the three areas of the Chesapeake Bay. The students will analyze data, compare fish species, organize facts, categorize fish, and formulate research about the fish species. The students can make hypotheses about fish populations, food webs, trophic interactions, key tributaries of the Chesapeake bay, and much more.

These activities allows students to explore research issues involving the Chesapeake Bay. Students could dive into topics of their interest. Students could discover details about : fish species; fish weight; fish length; diversity of species in the Upper, Middle, and Lower Chesapeake bay; water characteristics in various areas; and a multitude of other issues. This activity can challenge your students to think like scientists.

Chesapeake Bay Research from CHESFIMS 2005 

Researchers from the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) in Solomon’s Island collected data from the Chesapeake Bay (CB) during a research program called CHESFIMS (Chesapeake Bay Fishery Independent Multi-species Survey). Using scientific equipment, characteristics of the Bay were documented by conducting tests including dissolved oxygen (DO), salinity (S), water temperature (WT), water depth (WD), and fish species at various sites. CHESFIMS has been an ongoing 8-year survey of the Chesapeake Bay environment. CHESFIMS has five specific objectives:
-Conduct a Bay-wide survey of the bentho-pelagic fish community, focusing on young (juveniles & yearling) fishes in the mainstem of the Ches. Bay.
-Design and implement a complementary survey of the bentho-pelagic fish community in the extensive shoal habitats (< 5 m depth) in the mainstem of the Chesapeake Bay.

-Conduct pilot surveys of the pelagic fish community in key tributaries and in the mainstem to generate sampling statistics
that will of use in subsequent design improvements.

-Determine trophic interactions among key components of the pelagic fish community, & examine the implication of the relationships uncovered in empirical studies using bioenergetic modeling.

-Conduct statistical analyses of existing and new data to optimize the complemented pelagic survey with respect to consistency & accuracy of key parameters.

Scientists will organize CHESFIMS data and report outcomes to various government agencies. Teachers and students can interpret and evaluate the CHESFIMS data. Numerous labs & demonstrations will allow students to think like a scientist. When students research various fish, identify fish, summarize facts about fish, and analyze the importance of fish in various food chains; they are thinking like scientists. This information can provide students the opportunity to engage in learning authentic and realistic statistics about our bay. Enjoy the fish facts.  Ichthyology Rules!

Scientists are constantly analyzing information about the Chesapeake Bay (CB). Various agencies are concerned about different aspects of the bay. The goal of CHESFIMS is to assist scientists with their understanding of the CB. The research can help answer questions like “Is the CB in a state where life is sustainable? Are organisms flourishing in the CB environment? What factors might influence the survival of a species in the Lower bay? How are fish populations different in the Upper, Lower, and Middle CB? What questions might you ask about the CB?
These lessons/ activities encompass and adhere to the following Frederick County Public School Essential Curriculum =
SC.600.20 Student will apply critical thinking skills to understand the nature of science.
SC.600.40 Students will use appropriate methods to communicate, orally and in writing, the processes and results of scientific investigation (the nature of science).
SC.600.50 Students will use scientific skills/ processes to explain the dynamic nature of living things, their interactions with each other and their environment, and the results from the interactions that occur over time.
SC.600.50.05 Analyze the impact of external and /or internal factors on system balance.
SC.600.50.13 Identify & explain the interdependency of organisms in a given environment.
SC.600.50.14 Predict & analyze how altering one part of an ecosystem often causes changes to other parts.
SC.600.60 Students will use scientific skills/ processes to explain the structure of matter, the interactions of matter/ energy and the energy transformations that occur.
SC.600.80 Students will construct meaning about people & events that have shaped the nature of science.
Research information about the Upper Chesapeake Bay
Research information about the Middle Chesapeake Bay
Research information about the Lower Chesapeake Bay
Charts for each area of the Bay and lessons for the students:
Fish Chart 1
Fish Chart 2
Fish Chart 3
Fish Chart Lab
Seine Data
Internet Fish Data

Teacher should review the research, data charts, lab, and lesson resources.
"Got Fish Species?" is a lesson promoting student discovery and scientific reasoning. Students will participate in activities about the Upper, Middle, and Lower Chesapeake Bay research. Students will determine patterns and information using 2005 research from a program called CHESFIMS (Chesapeake Bay Fishery Independent Multi-species Survey).

This lesson has an array of authentic research about our Chesapeake Bay. The information provided can be overwhelming, but it is exciting data about our Bay.
The goal of this activity is to create curiosity and enthusiasm for aquatic research. The information provided can be calculated, summarized, reviewed, organized, and altered to fit the needs of your students. If you follow the charts and lesson, you will build a sense of Chesapeake Bay awareness in your students. Enjoy "Got Fish Species?"


Adalberto, Luis Val. & Kapoor, B.G.2003. Fish Adaptations . Plymouth, UK:Science Publishers, Inc.
Dutta, Hiran M. & Munshi, J.S. Datta . 2001. Vertebrate Functional Morphology. Plymouth ,UK: Science Publishers, Inc.

Cailliet, G., M. Love, and A. Ebeling. 1986. Fishes: A Field and Laboratory Manual on Their Structure, Identification and Natural History. Illinois: Waveland Press Inc.
Gerking, S. D. 1994. Feeding Ecology of Fish. San Diego: Academic Press.
Golden Guild Fishing
  book by St. Martin Press
Gosner, K.L. 1978. Atlantic Seashore: A Peterson Field Guide. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Helfman, G. S. , B. B. Collette , and D.E. Facey. 1997. Diversity of Fishes. Massachusetts: Blackwell Science.
Jennings, M.J.& Kaiser, J. Reynolds. Marine Fisheries Ecology. Oxford : Blackwell Science. 2001
Merritt, R.W. , K.W. Cummins.1984. An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America. Kendall/ Hunt Publishing Company.

Miller, Thomas et al. 2004. (Chesapeake Fisheries Ecosystem Plan Technical Advisory Panel). Fisheries Ecosystem Planning for Chesapeake Bay. February 2004.

Moyle, P. B. and J..J. Cech.1996. Fishes: An Introduction to Ichthyology. New Jersey:Prentice Hall.

Murdy, E.O., R.S. Birdsong, and J.A.Musick.1997. Fishes of Chesapeake Bay. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.
Robins, C. R. and G.C. Ray. 1996. Atlantic Coast Fishes : Peterson Field Guild . Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.  
State Standards
1.1.1- The student will recognize that real problems have more than one solution and decisions to accept one solution over another are made on the basis of many issues.
1.1.2- The student will modify or affirm scientific ideas according to accumulated evidence.
1.1.5- The student will explain factors that produce biased data (incomplete data, using data inappropriately, conflicts of interest, etc.).
1.2.6- The student will identify appropriate methods for conducting an investigation (independent and dependent variables, proper controls, repeat trials, appropriate sample size, etc.).
1.3.1- The student will develop and demonstrate skills in using lab and field equipment to perform investigative techniques.(NTB)
1.4.2- The student will analyze data to make predictions, decisions, or draw conclusions.
1.4.3- The student will use experimental data from various investigators to validate results.
1.4.6- The student will describe trends revealed by data.
1.5.1- The student will demonstrate the ability to summarize data (measurements/observations).
1.5.8- The student will describe similarities and differences when explaining concepts and/or principles.
2.5.2- The student will analyze the effects of natural cycles on human activity.
3.2.1- The student will explain processes and the function of related structures found in unicellular and multicellular organisms.
3.4.2- The student will estimate degrees of relatedness among organisms or species.
4.1.2- The student will gather and interpret data related to physical and chemical properties of matter such as density and percent composition. AT LEAST: constructing data tables, graphing linear relationship, appropriate technology to analyze data.
6.2.2- The student will explain why interrelationships & interdependencies of organisms contribute to the dynamics of ecosystems. At least — Interspecific and intraspecific competition Niche Cycling of materials among organisms Equilibrium/cyclic fluctuations Dynamics of disturbance and recovery Succession: aquatic and terrestrial
6.2.3- The student will conclude that populations grow or decline due to a variety of factors. At least — Linear/exponential growth Carrying capacity/limiting factors Species specific reproductive factors (such as birth rate, fertility rate) Factors unique to the human population (medical, agricultural, cultural) Immigration/emigration Introduced species
6.2.4- The student will provide examples and evidence showing that natural selection leads to organisms that are well suited for survival in particular environments. At least — coevolutionary relationships, e.g. symbiotic relationships variation within a species increases survival potential natural selection provides a mechanism for evolution adaptations of organisms within biomes
Lesson Resources
Fish chart lab
fish chart1
Fish Chart2
fish chart3
Internet fish data
Seine Data