Nutrient Cycles and Pollution, Lake Michigan Style
Department of Biology
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.
- 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.
KeywordsNutrient cycles; nutrient cycling; nutrients; pollution; nitrogen cycle; carbon cycle; water cycle; refinery; British Petroleum; BP Whiting; Lake Michigan; Illinois; Indiana
Topical AreasRegulatory issues, Social issues
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsClicker, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsEcology | Environmental Science | Biology (General) |