This resource demonstrates how an ongoing marine study of atmospheric dust from the land and from bushfires may contribute to iron fertilisation of the Southern Ocean. It will allow senior Biology students (year 11) to understand the ecological concept of limiting factors. While the focus of this resource is on Biology, an extension question on bio-geoengineering allows students to research a potential solution to mitigate climate change.
Christian Halverson, Moruya High School, New South Wales
|Nature of the inquiry problem||
How do environmental pressures promote a change in species diversity and abundance? How can human activity impact on an ecosystem?
The inquiry problems sets out to investigate these questions by introducing a new concept known as limiting factors. A basic understanding of the need for nutrients, water, and mineral ions should be established in junior science, but this task adds depth to the knowledge helping students to appreciate light is limited by ocean depth and micronutrient iron is a major limiting factor in the Southern Ocean. Voyage researchers on board RV Investigator voyage IN2017_T01 are investigating the link between bushfires and iron levels in the Southern Ocean.
|Suitable year levels and subject areas||
Year 11 Biology Stage 6 Syllabus
Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Dynamics
Biology Stage 6 Syllabus New South Wales
Effects of the Environment on Organisms
Students learn to understand limiting factors in general with specific reference to light and iron in the ocean and the effect on marine algae. Students will also relate how CSIRO and the Marine National Facility conduct longer term research to inform how land management practices can have a profound effect on the Southern Ocean. Extension component brings the notion of geoengineering as a potential pathway to mitigate atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) by a biogenic process.
|Student Learning Outcomes*||
Students will access a variety of ICT resources to understand what a limiting factor is and how limiting factors play a role in the production of ocean algae which is the base of most marine ecosystems. Students will learn how researchers onboard RV Investigator use equipment to analyse atmospheric and ocean data to investigate where sources of iron in the Southern Ocean originate.
No formal assessment associated with the task, but it could be used as formative assessment by staff to ensure that the concepts are understood.
Ecology and the Limiting Factors for Life(created by Christian Halverson) (2017) Copyright owned by Department of Education, New South Wales. Except as otherwise noted, this work is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/