The author participated in an Earthwatch Institute sponsored population survey of the Southern Resident Orca (killer whales). The two main aspects of this survey were to study the Orca population and to monitor the effects of humans on them. Orcas are listed as a "threatened" species and their population is currently declining. Results of the study linked the presence of the pollutant Polychlorinated-biphenyls (PCBs) in the ocean to this decline. Students will use the procedures outlined by this research to conduct their own population study on their local community. They will go to the cemetery to collect the mortality (death rates) of their community over several years. Furthermore, they will examine the effect of humans on local waterways. The students will collect data, such as pH, and make a community outreach plan to educate the public about what they are doing on a local and global level. This article promotes National Science Education Content Standards A, C, and F, and Iowa Teaching Standards 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Iowa Science Teachers Journal
© Copyright 2006 by the Iowa Academy of Science
"Making a Splash: A Population Study of Orcas and Its Application for Student Inquiry in Iowa,"
Iowa Science Teachers Journal: Vol. 33
, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/istj/vol33/iss2/4