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Search for the Missing Sea Otters

An Ecological Detective Story


Author(s)

Mary Allen
Department of Biology
Hartwick College
allenm1@hartwick.edu
Mark L. Kuhlmann
Department of Biology
Hartwick College
kuhlmannm@hartwick.edu

Abstract

We are a recipient of a 2004 National Dissemination grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education and has been cited as a source for model case studies by the National Research Council and the American Association for the Advancement of Science


Objectives

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Keywords

2004 National Dissemination grant, National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education, NSF, National Science Digital Library, NSDL, American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS, National Research Council, NRC, Biology2010

Topical Areas

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Educational Level

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Format

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Type / Methods

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Language

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Subject Headings

Ecology  |   Environmental Science  |   Biology (General)  |   Zoology  |   Marine Science / Oceanography  |  


Date Posted

3/5/2010

Teaching Notes

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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Videos

The following video(s) are recommended for use in association with this case study.

  • Some Animals are More Equal than Others hhmi/
    This short film opens with two questions: "So what determines how many species live in a given place? Or how many individuals of the species can live somewhere?" The research that provided answers to these questions was set in motion by key experiments by ecologists Robert Paine and James Estes. The film discusses Paine's starfish exclusion experiments on the coast of Washington state as well as Estes' and colleague John Palmisano's discovery that the kelp forest ecosystems of the North Pacific are regulated by the presence or absence of sea otters, which feed on sea urchins that consume kelp. These early studies were the inspiration for hundreds of investigations on other keystone species and trophic cascades, as well as ongoing studies into the regulation of population sizes and species numbers. Running time: 19:29 min. Produced by HHMI BioInteractive.
  • Film Guide for "Some Animals are More Equal than Others" hhmi/
    Film guide as well as instructor materials and a student quiz that complement the film "Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others: Trophic Cascades and Keystone Species." Produced by HHMI BioInteractive.

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