In this activity students will conduct a “virtual dive” using the VES-V simulation software to become familiar with its features and to generate student interest in using it. VES-V will be used to support activities throughout this module.
Explain to students that VES-V is a data visualization tool that uses virtual reality (VR) to display simulations of underwater environments in the ocean, complete with fish and other aquatic life. Using VES-V is like taking a virtual SCUBA dive at one of several places in the oceans. VES-V uses actual data, either from observations or from a model, to determine how many and what types of fish to show in each habitat.
Provide students with the VES-V Software Tutorial Worksheets which will walk them through the software, demonstrating its main features. Supplement the information in the worksheets with the notes and instructions below to lead students on a dive off the northeast coast of the USA in the Atlantic Ocean.
This guide provides a brief introduction to the Virtual Ecosystem Scenario Viewer (VES-V).
There are two versions of VES-V: one that runs online in a web browser, and a second that can be downloaded to a local computer. We recommend the online version.
If access to stable internet connections is a challenge you can also Download VES-V (nmfs-ecosystem-tools.github.io/VES-V) - choose the Windows, Mac or Linux version. This approach can be particularly helpful if students are using a class set of computers.
NOTE: VES-V is a large software file, so it may take some time to download or to load into the web browser. VES-V also requires a fairly high-performance computer to run well; we STRONGLY recommend you test it on the types of computers available before using it with your class.
After you download and open VES-V, or after you launch the online version, work through the following steps to learn about the main features of VES-V.
NOTE: In general, VES-V starts with the “Baseline” scenario selected by default. Click on a different scenario, such as “MarineProtectedAreas”, to switch. VES-V is now using a different dataset to populate the species displayed in the scene and to generate graphs of their populations over time. Most of these datasets are generated by models using different assumptions; such as changes in populations caused by changing ocean temperatures or an increase or decrease in fishing.