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Great Lakes Explorer: Biodiversity

Conduct your own biodiversity experiments, test the toxicity of Great Lakes contaminants, and travel back in time 10,000 years to go fishing in Lake Erie. With the Great Lakes Explorer CD-ROM, ecology enthusiasts and students of high-school age and up can participate in virtual environmental science expeditions. Put your investigative abilities to the test with this ultra-interactive CD as you learn about the animal life of the Great Lakes. You can examine the effects of pollution, habitat, and geography on biological diversity; test the toxicity of pesticides and heavy metals on different species; and study how environmental change impacts fish communities.

Travel to a small island in Lake Erie that is home to the Great Lakes Research Institute. With a researcher from the institute as your guide, choose between 44 different sites on the Great Lakes to collect fish samples. Examine the difference between fish communities in clean vs. polluted sites, inshore vs. offshore sites, or compare populations from Lake Superior and Lake Erie. Learn how to choose sampling equipment and experience firsthand data collection based on real field studies.
Play at being an environmental toxicologist with the "Toxomatic". Simulate experiments to test the toxicity of pesticides, such as DDT and atrazine, or heavy metals like mercury. Compare your results for several different species of Great Lakes organisms. The "Toxomatic" guides you through the steps in contaminant testing and graphs your results.

Join Captain Tucker in his time machine to examine the changes in the fish communities of Lake Erie over the last 10,000 years. Witness the decline of some fish and the increase in abundance of others. Gain a new perspective on the impacts of humans on the Great Lakes ecosystem.


Teacher Information

This CD-ROM is suitable for intermediate students (Grades 7–10). Each module is designed as a stand-alone lesson of approximately 30 minutes. Interactive student reports are incorporated into the modules. This approach combines the motivational power of CD-ROM interactivity with ease of evaluation for instructors.

A comprehensive teacher's manual is printable from this CD. It provides background information on concepts, experimental methods, and programming. The document also provides full descriptions of the assignments, and the reports they generate, including marking schemes. Suggestions for further assignments and a bibliography for other Great Lakes resources are included.

System Requirements: Windows 95, 16 MB RAM, SVGA Monitor, 16 bit sound card, 4X CD-ROM Mac: System 7.0 or later, 8 MB RAM, SVGA monitor, 2X CD-ROM drive; built-in audio


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