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Nutrient Cycles and Pollution, Lake Michigan Style



Author:

Cheryl A. Heinz
Department of Biology
Benedictine University
cheinz@ben.edu

Abstract:

This “clicker case” introduces students to the basics of nutrient cycling using a recent example of the expansion of a refinery on Lake Michigan. The story is told through a series of news clips from Chicago’s National Public Radio affiliate, WBEZ, which covers the northeastern Illinois and northwestern Indiana region.  The case is presented in class using a series of PowerPoint slides (~3.7MB) punctuated by questions that the students answer using electronic personal response systems, or "clickers." The case was designed for use in an upper-level introductory ecology course. It would be equally well suited in lower-level ecology courses as well as environmental science courses, and in an introductory biology course that covers nutrient cycles and/or pollution.

Objectives:
  • Understand that nutrients cycle and recycle in ecosystems.
  • Give an example of human impacts on at least one nutrient cycle.
  • Identify paths through the nitrogen and carbon nutrient cycles.
  • Distinguish between nutrients that cycle locally and globally.
Keywords: Nutrient cycles; nutrient cycling; nutrients; pollution; nitrogen cycle; carbon cycle; water cycle; refinery; British Petroleum; BP Whiting; Lake Michigan; Illinois; Indiana
Topical Area: Regulatory issues, Social issues
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Formats: PDF, PowerPoint
Type/Method: Clicker, Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Ecology   Environmental Science   Biology (General)  
Date Posted: 10/11/10
Date Modified: N/A
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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