Coastal Peru: The Amazing Biodiversity of a Coastal Ecosystem

Virtual field trip video, grades 3–8



Join fisheries scientist Matias Caillaux from The Nature Conservancy to explore the Humboldt Current Ecosystem off the coast of Peru while learning about the area’s amazing diversity and productivity. While Peru is most frequently recognized for its rainforests, mountains, and ancient Inca civilizations, it is also home to one of the most productive ocean ecosystems.

During this virtual field trip to the western coast of South America, students will learn about the Humboldt Current—a cold water current that pushes nutrients from the deepest ocean toward the surface, forming the basis of a unique and abundant ecosystem in which we will find a variety of sea birds, flamingos, and even penguins!

Join Matias as he travels by boat through an arid landscape with ancient carvings to an island that is home to more than 30,000 sea lions at a time! Students will learn that the productivity of this ecosystem is not only important to its animal inhabitants, but to the success of the region’s fishing industry as well. They will also discover what’s being done to protect this vulnerable ecosystem—so that both people and animals can continue to thrive.


Teacher's Guide


Student Handouts


sustainability, fisheries, Peru, Humboldt Current, upwelling, sea lions, sea birds, phytoplankton, ocean, El Niño

Published April 2016, updated September 2016