Prince William's Oily Mess - A Story of Recovery

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a. Read Intro | b. Learn the Organisms | c. State Predictions!
a. Observe Mearns Rock | b. Record Data
a. Plot Data | b. View Example Graph
a. Interpret Data & Write Report | b. Share What You Have Learned
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Graphing Changes in Marine Life Abundance

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Step4a: Interpret Your Data and Write Report

arrow Interpret Your Data

arrow Write a Scientific Report


arrowInterpret Your Data

Now, look at the trends that your graph reveals.

What can you conclude about the relative abundance of different organisms in your study area?


To help you interpret your data, go back to the Mearns Rock photos in Step 2a and read the NOAA biologists' explanations of the year-to-year changes they have observed on Mearns Rock. This will help you in interpreting your data.

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arrowWrite a Scientific Report

Your teacher may have you, or your team, write a scientific report. It should have the following sections:

Introduction What is this report about?
Why are you, or your team, writing this report?
What should readers expect to learn from this report?
What is your hypothesis?
What is (are) your prediction(s) and the rationale behind them.
Research on Background Information:
  • What is the intertidal zone?
  • Where are intertidal zones located?
  • What type of plants and animals live there?
  • What are some interesting facts about these species?
  • And so on…
Purpose/Problem
  • What is the question that scientists are asking about Mearns Rock?
  • Why are scientists conducting a study of Mearns Rock?
  • How long has this study been occurring?
  • Why are scientists studying these species?
  • Why do scientists sample at the same time each year?
  • And so on…
Procedure Explain how you or your team recorded data from the photographs of quadrats of Mearns Rock (use a step-by-step format).
Data and Results Keep accurate records using the data table provided. You will want to include your graphs of these data in your report.
Conclusion
  • Put your table of data, your graphs, and the photos of the quadrats on Mearns Rock side-by-side on the tabletop. Review each and ask yourself: As time passes, what do you observe about the percent cover of each organism living on Mearns Rock
  • Considering your data and graphs, answer the following questions: Did the prediction(s) you made before you began this study turn out to be true or false? How does this reflect on your hypothesis? Did your data support or refute your hypothesis?
  • What can the results of the Mearns Rock study tell us about other locations in Prince William Sound?
  • How can studying Mearns Rock help us to learn about oil spills in other locations in the world?
  • Explain how Prince William Sound has or has not recovered from the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  • What questions do you still have that you would like to explore yourself or discuss with a scientist?

 

next page Proceed to Step 4b: Share What You Have Learned


Glossary Express

Intertidal Zone —on a beach, the area between high tide and low tide.

Rationale
—an underlying reason.


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Revised March 25, 2008 | Questions, Comments? Contact Us | Report Error | Disclaimer | About the Site | User Survey
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Department of Commerce | USA.gov
http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/stories/oilymess/working_interpret.html