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Search for the Missing Sea Otters
An Ecological Detective Story
Mark L. Kuhlmann
Using a progressive disclosure format, this case study teaches students how to apply ecological principles to a real-life ecological problem, namely, the decline in sea otter populations in Alaska. Students interpret data from graphs and tables and practice developing testable hypotheses as they work in groups to solve the mystery of the “missing” sea otters. Designed to serve as a framework for teaching an ecology module to first-year biology majors, the case introduces students to basic concepts of population and community ecology.
|Keywords:||Sea otter; killer whale; Orcinus orca; marine mammal; population ecology; community ecology; kelp bed; predator; predation; ecological energetics; Alaska|
|Topical Area:||Scientific method|
|Educational Level:||High school, Undergraduate lower division|
|Subject Headings:||Ecology Environmental Science Biology (General) Zoology Marine Science / Oceanography|
|Copyright:||Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.|
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