ROSEVILLE, California—Oct. 28, 2008—Teachers and students of environmental sciences and ecology now have an affordable and accurate way to construct and study ecosystems with PASCO scientific’s new EcoZone™ System designed to help students model and understand the complex interactions within—and among—different ecosystems. The system sells for $99.
EcoZone allows students to move beyond traditional observation and qualitative measurement and engage in active, sensor-based measurement and modeling of ecosystems. Using PASCO’s line of PASPORT digital sensors1 students can predict, monitor and describe changes over time with greater accuracy. Specifically, environmental sensors let students evaluate water quality, quantify changes in carbon dioxide and oxygen, monitor temperature changes, measure the “weather” within an ecosystem and more.
“The interaction of organisms within their physical surroundings is one of the most important concepts within Environmental Science,” said Korey Champe, PASCO’s manager of earth and environmental science education. “By designing EcoZone System to support the use of PASPORT sensors, we’ve enhanced students’ ability to make qualitative observation. More importantly, students can now quantitatively measure a closed system. Forget about cutting up two liter soda bottles, poking holes and labeling them. EcoZone lets students get right to work on experiments.”
EcoZone gives students a range of options for constructing ecosystems. They can choose the traditional terrestrial, aquatic, and decomposition arrangement and measure the interaction of organisms in all three ecosystems; or they can create their own unique biomes like a tropical rainforest or desert ecosystem. Students also can decouple the system to conduct isolated investigations—such as how light affects the ecosystem; or they can construct two identical ecosystems, one to monitor light conditions and the other to monitor dark conditions.
EcoZone consists of three clear, acrylic EcoChambers. Each is a closed environment that is custom molded to use with sensors and take measurements that have minimal impact on the environment. Openings within each chamber allow air to circulate between each of the three chambers. A cotton cord efficiently “wicks” water between the chambers, so all three chambers have the necessary water to support biological activity.
Students can use a syringe to extract a small amount of water for chemical testing with the PASCO ezSample™ test kits. The syringe also can be used to replenish water if the levels are too low to sustain life, or if students want to inject a pollutant into the environment and monitor its effect.
EcoZone comes with everything teachers and students need to construct ecosystems2
- Individual EcoChambers, including lids
- Custom tray for holding EcoChambers in a connected ecosystem
- Cotton wick
- Syringe and plastic tubing
1PASPORT sensors are sold separately.
2A datalogger or interface such as the Xplorer GLX is required to take sensor-based measurements of an EcoZone environment.