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In this lesson students follow the steps of scientists Steve Palumbi (Stanford University) and Scott Baker (University of Oregon), who used DNA data (“Barcoding”) to reveal the species identifications of kujira (whale meat) from foreign markets. Their study used DNA data to identify unknown organisms in order to investigate whether whales are being illegally hunted and sold as meat. By going through the lesson, students practice various aspects of the process of science by asking scientific questions, collecting and analyzing data, comparing their results with those of the real researchers, and finally determining possible next steps.
One to two class periods