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Improving on Nature?


Author(s)

Dennis Kingery
Biology Department
Metropolitan Community College
dkingery@mccneb.edu

Abstract

In 1958, black bass were introduced into Lake Atitlan in the highlands of western Guatemala as a way to attract tourism and boost the local economy, but unforeseen complications resulted in an ecological disaster. Developed for an introductory course in biology, this case study first casts students in the role of the local population at that time and asks them to judge the proposal to introduce the new species of fish. The students then review the ensuing events from a historical perspective based on additional information they receive from the instructor in a progressive disclosure format.


Objectives

  • Explain the risks of the introduction of alien species into an ecosystem.
  • Identify the roles of human activity in the extinction of the giant grebe.
  • Describe the effects of environmental change on the Lake Atitlan ecosystem.

Keywords

Black bass; largemouth bass; Micropterus salmoides; giant grebe; Podylimbus gigas; species introduction; alien species; extinction; ecosystem; Lake Atitlan; Guatemala; Maya

Topical Areas

Social issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Interrupted, Jig-Saw, Public Hearing, Role-Play

Language

English

Subject Headings

Ecology  |   Environmental Science  |   Biology (General)  |   Aquaculture  |  


Date Posted

05/14/03

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Comments


David Funge
dfunge@bedford.ac.uk
Department of Biology
Bedford College
Bedford, UK
03/09/2006
Despite the fact that we are in the UK, the group of ecology students entered into this case study wholeheartedly.

The progressive disclosure of the Historical Updates enabled them to build towards the learning outcomes of their “Understanding Ecology and Conservation” unit.

As our sessions are 90 minutes, we introduced the case study in the latter part of the first session (after a previous topic had been debriefed) and covered the Historical Updates in the whole of session 2, because the groups got VERY involved!

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