Improving on Nature?
Metropolitan Community College
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.
- 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.
KeywordsBlack bass; largemouth bass; Micropterus salmoides; giant grebe; Podylimbus gigas; species introduction; alien species; extinction; ecosystem; Lake Atitlan; Guatemala; Maya
Topical AreasSocial issues
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsInterrupted, Jig-Saw, Public Hearing, Role-Play
Subject HeadingsEcology | Environmental Science | Biology (General) | Aquaculture |
Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.
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.