EDUCATION: Lab on the Lake

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Science  10 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5494, pp. 1047
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5494.1047c

Earth-gouging glaciers retreating northward at the end of the last ice age blessed Minnesota with its 12,000 lakes. Several of those lakes now form the centerpiece of Water on the Web, a site for teaching high school and first-year college students science and math concepts through lessons on limnology, or the study of lakes, rivers, and streams.

A 21-page primer covers topics such as lake formation, food webs, and eutrophication (nutrient overload). It also explains such basics as the seasonal turnover of lake waters and a device, called the Secchi disk, used to measure water clarity. After boning up, students can download and analyze spreadsheets of near-real-time data collected from stations floating in four lakes and the St. Louis River. There are also a glossary, interactive Geographic Information Systems maps, and a good set of lake ecology links.

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