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Dolphin Deaths: A Case Study in Environmental Toxicology
This case study examines a variety of biological factors that may have been involved in the 2013 dolphin "unusual mortality event" (UME) on the East Coast of the United States. The story follows a news reporter and four different scientists who are pre...

Fish as Fertilizer
In this case study, students examine data from a number of published studies of the effects of Pacific salmon on freshwater and riparian ecosystems. The case focuses on the interesting phenomenon of spawning salmon acting as nutrient conveyor belts, tr...

Fishing for Answers in the Gulf of Mexico's Dead Zone
This “clicker case” addresses the eutrophication of aquatic systems caused by human activities. "Susan" is a biology student working at a seafood restaurant on the Gulf of Mexico. She discovers that the restaurant doesn't serve locally caug...

Is Iron Fertilization Good for the Sea?
This case study describes experiments to seed the ocean with iron to encourage algae growth. It explores how human activities contribute to greenhouse effects and global warming, proposals to potentially counteract these effects and make the ocean more...

Lost? Ask a Turtle
This case study examines the events surrounding the hatching and migration of loggerhead sea turtles, specifically what mechanisms they use to head towards the ocean (once hatched) and where and how they migrate once in the ocean.  The story is wr...

Search for the Missing Sea Otters
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 pra...

The Dead Zone
This interrupted case study focuses on the seasonal hypoxic area in the Gulf of Mexico known as the Dead Zone. It follows Sue, a college student, whose father is a commercial fisherman affected by the lack of fish in his usual fishing grounds in the su...

The Spark of Life
In biology classes, students are typically taught that spontaneous generation does not take place. And yet, at the origin of life, life had to arise without parents from abiotic processes. What were those processes that gave rise to the first life?&nbs...

Using Oceans to Fight Global Warming?
This problem-based case study explores the scientific issues surrounding the use of large scale iron fertilization as a means of decreasing atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.  A PowerPoint presentation introduces a New York Times artic...