Name:___________________________________________  Period:__________________________

 

PLAYING THE WEB OF LIFE

PURPOSE: to simulate how the introduction of the zebra mussel into the Great Lakes Ecosystem has impacted the food web.

MATERIALS: 44 oxygen pieces, 44 plankton pieces, one resource tray, 7 forceps, 7 student cards, 7 petri dishes

GAME GUIDELINES:

·         Seven students will be needed for each group

·         Each student should select an identification card. The side with the blue writing represents the organism you will be for the first part of the game. The side with the red writing represents what you will become when you die.

·         The individual who selects the card that says zebra mussel on both sides will not participate in round one.

·         Each lab station has a resource tray. The _____________ represents the oxygen and the _________________ represents plankton (food).

·         The forceps represent your gills through which you obtain your food and oxygen.

·         The table below shows how much food and oxygen your organism requires to survive.

 

Species

Oxygen

Plankon (food)

Larval fish

6

6

Native mussels

6

6

Trout

10

10

Zebra mussels

2

2

 

ROUND ONE: THE NORMAL FOOD WEB

 (EVERYONE BUT THE ZEBRA MUSSEL PARTICIPATES)

 

1.      All participants should pick up their gills(except the zebra mussel).

2.      Each organism should pick up the exact amount of food and oxygen pieces they need to survive will their gills and place them in their “body”.

3.      Since everyone obtained enough food and oxygen, all organisms get to survive. Record the # of survivors in the data table on the next page under generation one.

 

ROUND TWO: THE INTRODUCTION OF THE ZEBRA MUSSEL:

1.      All participants should pick up their gills (including the zebra mussel).

2.      When the teachers says “Start”, try and pick up as much food and oxygen as you can until all the resources are gone.

3.      If someone did not obtain enough food and oxygen, they do not survive.

4.      Determine the # of survivors and record on the data table under generation two.

 

ROUND THREE:

1.      Anyone who did not survive the first round should flip his or her card over. You are now a zebra mussel.

2.      When the teachers says “Start”, try and pick up as much food and oxygen as you can until all the resources are gone.

3.      If someone did not obtain enough food and oxygen, they do not survive.

4.      Determine the # of survivors and record on the data table under generation three.

 

ROUND FOUR:

Repeat steps 1-4 from round three except record the new data under generation four.

 

DATA TABLE:

 

SURVIVORS IN THE GREAT LAKES BEFORE AND AFTER THE INTRODUCTION OF THE ZEBRA MUSSEL

 

 

NUMBER OF SURVIVORS

SPECIES

GENERATION 1

GENERATION 2

GENERATION 3

GENERATION 4

LARVAL FISH

 

 

 

 

 

NATIVE MUSSEL

 

 

 

 

TROUT

 

 

 

 

 

ZEBRA MUSSEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANALYSIS:

 

1.      Describe what happened to the number of native mussels after the zebra mussels were introduced to the ecosystem.

 

 

2.      How was the fish population affected by the introduction of the zebra mussels?

 

 

 

3.      Why were the zebra mussels so successful compared to the native species?

 

 

 

4.      Overall, is the introduction of an invasive species good or bad for the ecosystem? Explain why.