Otters Living in Glacier Bay
Recolonization of Glacier Bay, history of survival, prey and eating habits, insulating attributes of fur, special adaptations to life in a marine environment, effect on marine environments, keystone species
Otters are a keystone species whose special adaptations, from physiology to eating habits, directly and indirectly effect the marine environments in which they thrive.
What factors have allowed sea otters to make a comeback and thrive in Glacier Bay and how will that affect the marine ecosystem?
Students will know ...
- The physiological adaptations that allow otters to thrive in the extreme conditions of Glacier Bay
- The reasons for otter near extinction over time and their comeback to previous environments such as Glacier Bay in SE Alaska
- The type and variety of otters' prey and the effect of their predation on marine environments
Students will be able to ...
- Experiment to test a variety of insulation materials for heat resistance
- Compare and contrast otters' fur to insulation materials used by human divers
- Investigate the adaptations of animals living in the intertidal zones of Glacier Bay and apply the data to designing a mammal adapted to living in this environment
- Examine data found by researchers working in Glacier Bay to determine the diet of sea otters living in that region
- Compare and contrast the nutritional needs of otters to those of humans to explain the dietary differences between the two mammals
- Using data gathered by researchers working in Glacier Bay, determine the causes for the flux of otter populations throughout Alaska and especially in Glacier Bay
- Model the effects on human population of experiences similar to those of otters and other endangered animals to predict success or failure of humans in an imaginary town
- Examine the change in Glacier Bay's sea otter population since 1800 and its effects on the marine environment