The Jubilee Phenomenon

Estuary background image with color overlay

Introduction

In this activity, students use their inquiry skills to explore the “jubilee” phenomenon found in Mobile Bay, Alabama, in which fish, crab, and other sea life swarm shallower coastal areas. They will read a recent article about hypoxic events in Mobile Bay, examine a map of the bay, and work with an animated jubilee model and meet researchers to explore how and why jubilee events occur.

Then students will perform a hands-on experiment with salinity-based density differences in water to better understand stratification of water in an estuary. This will help clarify how the shoreward movement of oxygen-poor bottom waters in Mobile Bay forces fish and crustaceans ashore.

Finally, students will take on the role of scientists and analyze several forms of scientific data to determine the exact day and time when a jubilee event most likely occurred. Once students make their determination, they will find out from scientists Mike Dardeau and Scott Phipps if they are correct.

This activity has three parts:

  1. What Is the Jubilee Phenomenon?
  2. Layered Water in the Estuary
  3. When Did a Jubilee Occur?

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Photos

Jubilee Phenomenon in Alabama
credit: Lee Yokel
Jubilee Phenomenon in Alabama
credit: Lee Yokel
Jubilee Phenomenon in Alabama
credit: Lee Yokel

The Jubilee Phenomenon: Supporting Resources

The Jubilee Phenomenon

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