North Atlantic Aliens – A Study of Marine Bioinvasions

A Lesson from the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan

About this Lesson

During the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan, Dr. Lisa Gilbert led shipboard science projects, gathering information on the weather, water, birds, mammals and even trash encountered along the way. Dr. Gilbert and her assistants, the 38th Voyagers used modern instruments like GPS to determine location and a microscope to analyze plankton.  They recorded observations in a log much like the ones used by generations of seafarers before them.

Inspired by the 38th Voyage, graduate student Alexandra McInturf and Dr. Gilbert created a new science unit for middle school teachers.  The six lessons in the unit merge history with science to encourage an enduring interdisciplinary connection between modern marine science and the experience of the nineteenth-century whaler. 

This lesson, "North Atlantic Aliens – A Study of Marine Bioinvasions" is the final of six lessons in the unit "Science on the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan," funded in part by Williams College.

Learning Objectives for this Lesson:

- Students understand the concept of bioinvasions, and are able to determine different vectors of transportation for invasive species

- Students are able to compare and contrast historical and modern shipping technology as vectors of transportation for bioinvasions

- Students are able to create and compare multiple solutions to minimizing the spread of invasive species

- Students can predict the impact of human population increase on the spread of marine bioinvasions

Next Generation Science Standards:

1.- MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.

2.- MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.


Created By
Lisa Gilbert, Alexandra McInturf
Grade Level
General Interest, Science

Links to Lesson PDFs

The Lesson

North Atlantic Aliens – A Study of Marine Bioinvasions : A Lesson from the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan

Supplements to the Lesson