Users will produce and analyze graphs showing water temperature, salinity, density, and chlorophyll concentration for 2004 at four buoy locations in the Gulf of Maine. The multi-year graph of chlorophyll concentration below serves to illustrate the distinct fall and spring phytoplankton blooms that occur there each year.
The Gulf of Maine is outlined in the red box in the image below. The image shows chlorophyll levels recorded by the MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensor onboard the Terra satellite on April 23, 2003. The dark red pixels show areas where chlorophyll levels were 10.0 mg/cubic meter.
After completing this chapter, students will be able to:
- explain the ecological importance of phytoplankton;
- describe the components that influence a phytoplankton bloom;
- interpret satellite images in order to correlate buoy data;
- use the scientific process to predict the onset of the spring bloom based on background data;
- download and analyze graphs of oceanographic buoy data; and
- identify geographic features in the Gulf of Maine.
The following National Science Education Standards are supported by this chapter:
- 12ASI1.1 Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations. Students should form a testable hypothesis and demonstrate the logical connections between the scientific concepts guiding a hypothesis and the design of an experiment. They should demonstrate appropriate procedures, a knowledge base, and conceptual understanding of scientific investigations.
- 12ASI1.5 Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models. This aspect of the standard emphasizes the critical abilities of analyzing an argument by reviewing current scientific understanding, weighing the evidence, and examining the logic so as to decide which explanations and models are best. In other words, although there may be several plausible explanations, they do not all have equal weight. Students should be able to use scientific criteria to find the preferred explanations.
- 12CLS4.4 Living organisms have the capacity to produce populations of infinite size, but environments and resources are finite. This fundamental tension has profound effects on the interactions between organisms.