Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Human Impacts and Extinction of Freshwater Snails


  • Title: Human Impacts and Extinction of Freshwater Snails
  • Air Date: May 11, 2017
  • Series: Smithsonian Science How webcasts, which are designed to connect natural history science and research to upper-elementary and middle-school students.

This video features Dr. Ellen Strong, a zoologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Learn about the risks faced by snail populations in rapidly-changing freshwater ecosystems. Consider the ecological impacts of human activities such as damming and mining, which supply people with resources. Follow Ellen to freshwater streams around the U.S. as she studies vulnerable snail populations. See how Ellen discovers new species as she races to catalogue the biodiversity of freshwater snails, even as some species are faced with extinction.

Teaching Resources

Freshwater Snails and Ecosystems

National Middle School Standards

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Life Science

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-2: Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
  • MS-LS2-3: Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4: Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • MS-LS2-5: Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Earth Science

MS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • MS-ESS3-4: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
Resource Type
Videos and Webcasts
Grade Level
Life Science