[ Modeling Marine Ecosystems with Virtual Reality: NOAA's National Ocean Service

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Predators and prey

Predators and Prey Module

Activity VII: Revisit Initial Question - Enough Seafood?

Activity Summary

Students will revisit the Big Question posed at the start of the lesson: “How do Individuals, communities or governments ensure that there is enough seafood for people to eat in the future?”. Students will use their knowledge of predator-prey relationships to address the Big Question.


Lead a class discussion in which students consider whether knowledge of predator-prey relationships might help scientists monitor the populations of marine organisms. Discussion Prompts:

  1. Ask students to consider a situation where scientists want to know the population size of a fish that many humans eat, such as tuna.

  2. If, for whatever reason it was difficult to measure the tuna population directly, might observations of the fish that tuna eat help scientists estimate the tuna population?

  3. Encourage students to cite examples from their explorations of lynx and hare populations, and cod and mackerel biomass, to support their claims.

  4. Do scientific models help in making such predictions?

  5. Does the complexity of the food web in the habitat under consideration influence the accuracy of predicting a predator’s biomass based on the biomass of one of its prey?

  6. Would a model that is more complex than the simple model they built be able to provide good predictions even for a system with a complex food web?