Outreach Project Draft Part 1

Storyboard for Stable Isotope White Board Video

A short video explaining how scientists use stable isotopes to study nutrient pollution. This will be done as a white board video. Below is the storyboard and proposed script for the video.

  1. Marine scientists study a wide range of organisms and processes in coastal estuaries. Some study fish (point to fish), others study macrofauna like sea grass (point to seagrass).

  1. And some study plankton that you can barely see (zoom to zoo- and phytoplankton).

  1. Marine chemists study chemical compounds in the water and inside the organisms living in the estuaries. Nutrients are a specific group of chemicals that phytoplankton use as food. This food can come from a wide range of places.

  1. They can come from their neighbors (chomp!).

  1. They can come from the local wastewater treatment facility (wastewater outflow), and they can come from the fields that the you and I get our food from (field with rain storm flowing water into river).

  1. Scientists are curious about know where the food for all the hungry phytoplankton come from and which ones they like to eat (Happy/sad phytoplankton).

  1. To figure it out some marine scientist use stable isotopes. Most elements have a set number of protons and neutrons. Each molecule of nitrogen has 7 neutrons and 7 protons, this is nitrogen 14… but almost 0.4% of all nitrogen molecules have an extra neutron, nitrogen 15.

  1. Scientists can track where the phytoplankton’s food comes from based on how much 14N and 15N is inside it.

  1. The fertilizer from the field has more of one type and the wastewater has more of another.

  1. When we look at the phytoplankton we can see a mixture that can tells us where the food is coming from.

Repeat panel #8

  1. This is important because many waterways are undergoing a process of eutrophication, which often happens when there is too much food for phytoplankton.

  1. This causes phytoplankton rapidly grow, which can cause problems for other organisms living in the water (dead fish).

  1. Using isotopes, we can figure out where that extra food is coming from so that managers know how to best take care of the bay.

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