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.
- 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).
- And some study plankton that you can barely see (zoom to zoo- and phytoplankton).
- 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.
- They can come from their neighbors (chomp!).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- Scientists can track where the phytoplankton’s food comes from based on how much 14N and 15N is inside it.
- The fertilizer from the field has more of one type and the wastewater has more of another.
- When we look at the phytoplankton we can see a mixture that can tells us where the food is coming from.
Repeat panel #8
- This is important because many waterways are undergoing a process of eutrophication, which often happens when there is too much food for phytoplankton.
- This causes phytoplankton rapidly grow, which can cause problems for other organisms living in the water (dead fish).
- 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.