Los Angeles and the Future of Mono Lake

A Web Quest exploring the biodiversity, natural history, and preservation of Mono Lake

Introduction Task Process Resources Evaluation Conclusion Teachers


You will be assigned to a team of three students. Each team member will be responsible for researching his or her specific area of expertise. As a team, you will develop a work plan and assign tasks to each person. You will individually gather background information in your specialty area by using the resources provided below. Produce a written summary of your research to take back to your team. When your group meets, every member will share his or her research and discuss the advice that they will offer the mayor and citizens of Los Angeles. While you each occupy an individual component of the advisory panel, the group as a whole will make the final decision. The roles of the advisory panel include:

  • Astrobiologist- responsible for explaining why scientists are turning to Mono Lake to answer the questions of the universe.
  • Microbiologist- responsible for examining the microbial diversity of the area and describing the various types of extremophiles living there.
  • Historian-responsible for researching the very unusual and fragile nature of the place and describing the consequences of previous water diversions.

Your final report will be delivered in the form of a presentation. You may include maps, images, charts, and graphs to illustrate your decision. Each team member is responsible for including his or her own information. You should each be prepared to defend the group decision in a mixed forum of L.A. citizens and environmentalists. Therefore, work closely as a group to create a well developed presentation with clear thought processes and reasoning behind your position. A few questions to ponder as you begin your exploration...

  • Is the human need for water more important than the preservation of a natural environment?
  • Can you deny a small child's right to water?
  • Can you deny a community of organisms the right to survive?
  • Are there alternatives that wouldn't involve the destruction of a natural environment?
  • What happens if L.A. exhausts the water supply of the Mono Basin?
  • What will we- humankind- be losing if the Mono Basin is destroyed?

Remember... water is used for many things AND California can turn to other sources, such as solar powered desalination plants. Is there a conservation principle we should pass on to the next generation so that the environment is as rich and diverse as the one we inherited?