Eutrophication Animation

[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.

Development Team

Story: Laura Dunbar & Sage Lichtenwalner
Animation: Brian Yan
Produced by Janice McDonnell & Jim Ammerman

5 Responses to Eutrophication Animation

  1. John Ponticorvo September 2, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    Great visual presentation, clear and concise. I have the actual enviro scapes and would like to use this in conjunction with the lesson. Would I be able to have my students log on to this site? I am not sure how to do that.


  2. Sage Lichtenwalner September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Hi John, your students don’t need to log into the site, you can simply point them to this page.

    Alternatively, you can download the Flash file to your computer to share the file. (There is a download underneath the image above.)

    This animation can also be found within the Hudson River Plume unit on the Cool Classroom site, if you prefer a more student appropriate interface. Enjoy!

  3. Stephanie Weber June 27, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Dear CoSEE,
    This is a great interactive. I would like to use it for my biology course which is hosted on an online server for my school district. This is an open resource course, so others inside and outside the district will also be able to use the course for free. Is this an appropriate use of your material? If so, how can I best cite your resource? I see you have a flash file,so I am hoping to embed it. I can also hyperlink to it if that is more appropriate.

    Thanks for this consideration.
    Stephanie Weber

  4. Sage Lichtenwalner July 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    Hi Stephanie, you can embed the animation if you like, but if it’s easier to just link to it, you can do that too. Either way, please credit COSEE Networked Ocean World with a link back to this page (or site). Do please let us know how you use it in your class and what your students think. It’s always fun to hear stories of how other people use resources, and it often inspires others. Cheers, Sage


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