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The Fraying Arctic Food Web

Frank Ippolito, On Earth Web Exclusives

This clickable visualization demonstrates the catastrophic effect that follows the removal of a key producer or consumer in the Arctic food chain.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Ecosystems on land and in the ocean have been and will continue to be disturbed by climate change
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7e
Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Visualization could be used to demonstrate connection and cascading effects that climate change has within an Arctic ecosystem.
  • Educator should explain that this is a very simplified view of a very complex ecosystem.
  • After viewing the interactive, ask students to come up with their own food web/extinction scenario, using their local or regional ecosystem.
  • Can be used as an introductory piece to begin the discussion about the causes and effects of species extinction in an ecosystem.

About the Science

  • Arctic food webs include animals that are extreme specialists, adapted to thrive at temperatures that stretch the limits of biological tolerance. Climate change is shifting the ecosystems, resulting in changes in the diversity of animals that inhabit the areas.
  • Comment from expert scientist: Very visually appealing, and its interactiveness is effective. It is a very simple resource that needs further context.

About the Pedagogy

  • Middle school aged students will enjoy this visualization and interacting with the Arctic food web to see the effects that climate change will have on specific species.
  • Nice visuals and short, succinct explanations of key producers and consumers in the Arctic food web.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Visualization cannot be downloaded and is embedded within a blog.
  • Simple in design. Students can easily see the connections between the animals in the web.
  • Many ads on the page. Somewhat distracting for students (and educators).

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