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Competition under the Sea: Exploring the competitive interaction between native and non-native seagrasses in the Caribbean

Author(s): Demian Alexander Willette

Loyola Marymount University

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Summary:
A mini-case study that uses real-world data to explore the competitive interaction among seagrasses.

Description

This mini-case study draws on real-world research that investigates the recent introduction of the Red Sea seagrass, Halophila stipulacea, into a new range, the Caribbean Sea. This introduction is believed to have occurred relatively recently in the early 2000s with new reports
of the seagrass on additional islands each year through the time this exercise was developed in 2019. A citizen-science website www.invasiveseagrass.org provides information on recent reports that may be visited to broaden the classroom discussion.
This mini-case study was developed for and used in an upper division biology course with 14 students (sophomore/junior standing) about 10 weeks into the semester and after a full lecture had be delivered on competition, students had completed the SimUText ‘Niche Wars’ lab, and had read the associated SimUText chapter. For this activity, students worked in pairs and an introduction of the activity (the first page and half) were given as a pre-lecture reading assignment, then reviewed for ~5 minutes in the beginning of the class. Students were then given 30 minutes to complete the activity, with the instructor roaming the room to check in on student progress and ask guiding questions to advance the students’ progress.

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