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Mystery in Alaska: A Study of the 2000 Fishing Ban

Tun Myint, Carleton College, Northfield, MN
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This material was developed as part of the Carleton Teaching Activity Collection and is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project

Summary

What is the role of ecosystem science in the Alaskan fishing ban imposed in July 2000 in light of the concerns over the decline of Steller's sea Lions in Alaska? This question was unpacked in the documentary film broadcast on the PBS program Natureon August 24, 2008. This project investigates hidden connections between science and society related to the case by following through the documentary and answering three main questions: (1) how do the ecosystem and social systems interact and what is the role of this interaction in the decline of Steller's sea lions?; (2) can the July 2000 fishing ban be justified by the findings?; and (3) what hypotheses and theories of sustainability read about the the class (such as gaia hypothesis, DNA-centered view of life, cell-centered views of life, theory of emergent properties, complex adaptive system theory, etc) are tenable to explain this complexity or mystery?

Learning Goals

To investigate science and society relations in the case of Steller's sea lion and the Alaskan fishing ban imposed in July 2000.

Context for Use

Team project.

Description and Teaching Materials

What is the role of ecosystem science in the Alaskan fishing ban imposed in July 2000 in light of the concerns over the decline of Steller's sea Lions in Alaska? This question was unpacked in the documentary film broadcast on the PBS program Nature on August 24, 2008. This project will investigate hidden connections between science and society related to the case by following through the documentary. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/a-mystery-in-alaska/introduction/888/
Project Guidelines (Acrobat (PDF) 120kB Apr28 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This project is most appropriate for teams. I have 4 to 6 students in each team. I established teams so that diverse body of students in each team in terms of their interests and strength.

Assessment

Team presentation to entire class and final report.

References and Resources