Captain Nenson is worried: Ronan, a Hawaiian monk seal who lives in the Pacific Ocean biodome, is acting ill and will not eat. He needs the player’s help to figure out what’s wrong with her.
MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem. MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations. MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
bioamplification; biomagnification, ecology, predator, prey, consumer, microplastic
This storyline helps students understand the impacts that human actions have on wildlife, and how these decisions can affect many animals within the food web.
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Ronan the seal normally has a healthy appetite for grouper and other fish, but she hasn't eaten in days! Players find that the problem may lie in what she eats...but seals aren't the only animals affected. It appears that the problem affects different species in different ways, and that the further a victim is from the source, the worse the problem becomes! How can this be?
This storyline examines the real-world problem of ocean pollution--specifically the issue of microplastics in the ocean. It is focused on the phenomenon of bioamplification, where a pollutant is ingested by a primary consumer, then increases in concentration as it moves up the food chain in spite of the fact that only one type of creature is consuming the pollutant directly.
Once students discover the underlying issue, they must make an informed decision about how Tyto should solve the problem. In order to stop microplastics from continuing to infiltrate the biodome, something must be done, but what solution will best balance eco-friendliness with cost-effectiveness in the long term?