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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


The Marine Life Index

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4.25 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Apr 20, 2014 by Biology Editorial Board
Overview: This website started as a diverse repository of underwater photos from the Pacific Northwest and has evolved to include educational information on the species present in these waters. It also includes video footage for many of the taxa. In can be of value to local diversity surveys and classroom assignments in the area. Each species is defined with both their scientific name and common name, allowing you to toggle between the two.
Learning Goals: No specific student learning outcomes are presented on the site. It is a survey of marine species present in the Northwest Pacific Waters
Target Student Population: Middle school and high school, of regional interest
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Knowledge of marine habitats, species diversity, basic knowledge of taxonomy.
Type of Material: The site is composed of great pictures and animations to assimilate learning at a collegiate level.
Recommended Uses: In class diversity assignment (would require preparation of a guide or activity); team project; homework assignment; general knowledge
Technical Requirements: The site is html based with no flash. It works on chrome, IE, Firefox and Safari. However some of the videos won’t play in Safari or Chrome. This site requires Quicktime Media Player.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths:
  • The site provides a very complete survey of Pacific Northwest marine species and has high quality images and videos
  • There is also a great diversity of dive sites, which are reflected in different marine habitats
  • mages beautiful and very colorful
  • Images are appropriately categorized
Concerns:
  • Some captions are not completely accurate, other images are misleading (e.g. Caribbean Reef Sharks as a proxy for spiny dogfish, although there is a note on the caption) and the narration of some videos is not as scientific as possible
  • Fish are grouped separate from Sharks and Skates/Rays although the later are also fish; also Invertebrates is a separate category although many other Invertebrate taxa are listed
  • There is no reference to marine mammals, known to be important in the Pacific Northwest
  • Scientific names are not properly italicized in all places
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Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths:
  • The quality of the visuals and the complete survey with most marine taxa from the Pacific Northwest are good
  • The large collection makes it fun to explore many aspects of the subject matter
Concerns:
  • The information is not easily integrated in a cohesive activity
  • Learning goals are not addressed, neither are the prerequisites for understanding the information presented on the website
  • This site would benefit from more interactivity

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths:
  • It works in a wide range of browsers, except for some of the videos
  • It has very appealing visuals and it is easy to use
  • Easy to navigate to the different major sections of site
Concerns:
  • There is a lack of instructions or ways in which the material could be applied
  • Several of the videos would not load
  • A few images were broken and would not load
  • Videos were very small
  • Took a lot of time for the videos to load

Other Issues and Comments: The authors have done a great job with this site. With the growing amount of marine biologists and subsequent identification of new species, effort should be applied to keep up with the massive amount of research being done. With the advent of molecular techniques and understanding of genomics, work should be done to create a taxonomic key representing relationships among organisms found on the site.