[Download the Flash File]
Eutrophication is becoming an increasing problem in many coastal regions of the world ocean. It is the process in which high nutrient run-off from land can lead to low-oxygen water environments. But it’s not a very easy concept to understand, as there are several steps in the process.
The Rutgers University Cool Classroom design team developed this interactive to help students learn about the stages of eutrophication. The animation starts with a rain event that is responsible for washing excess nutrients into the local watershed. This leads to a phytoplankton bloom. As phytoplankton reach the end of their life cycle they die and are consumed by bacteria. Finally, the high level of bacterial activity subsequently decreases the oxygen level of the water. In each stage, this interactive showcases what happens at multiple levels in the ecosystem, from the macro to the microscopic to the atomic.
This animation was developed as part of a larger unit on the Hudson Plume, in which students investigate watersheds, density, satellite temperature maps, pollution and of course, eutrophication.
Story: Laura Dunbar & Sage Lichtenwalner
Animation: Brian Yan
Produced by Janice McDonnell & Jim Ammerman