Blue Crab Population in the Chesapeake Bay

Wednesday 2:05 PT / 3:05 MT / 4:05 CT / 5:05 ET Online
Teaching Demonstration Part of Teaching Demonstrations


Matt Heller, James Madison University

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This 20 minute activity introduces the concepts of reservoirs, stocks, and fluxes as they relate to natural systems. It consists of: 1) introducing key terms, 2) describing the significance of the Chesapeake Bay and the importance of the Blue Crabs to the local economy, 3) watching a short video describing a winter dredge survey that is conducted each year, and 4) examining 30 years of winter dredge survey data to answer relevant questions.


I use this in a large format introductory Geology/Environmental Science class to supplement lecture material on the biosphere. These concepts are applied later in the semester to several other topics.

Why It Works

Many of the students in my class live within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and have some familiarity/interest in this topic. The key questions are structured to encourage individual thought and small group discussion.