Marine Biology: Investigate a massive fish death

Time to complete course: 28 min.

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About Marine Biology: Investigate a massive fish death Virtual Lab Simulation

This is the full-length “Marine Biology” simulation. For shorter, more targeted versions, see the Related simulations below.

Can you get to the bottom of a mysterious massive fish-killing?  In this simulation, you will be an environmental investigator to solve this fish kill mystery. You will learn about oxygen levels in water and its impact on fish, and energy flow in an aquatic food web. You will perform a fish necropsy and analyze the level of dissolved oxygen by gathering data from fish and water samples to help test your hypothesis.

Analyze the oxygen levels in water

You will first have to collect water samples from the bay where the fish were found. Using a spectrophotometer, you will compare these samples to known values to investigate whether low oxygen in the lake could have caused the massive fish death. Do the fish exhibit symptoms that correlate with low oxygen levels?

Dissection of a fish

Complete a fish necropsy without getting your hands dirty! Dive into the dissection to examine how the fish’s physiological responses can shed some light on the cause behind the fish death. In this simulation, you can skip the long waiting times that would normally occur in real-life necropsies and immediately get your hands on the results to continue your investigation. 

Solve the mystery

In this fish-killing investigation, you will have to gather several pieces of information that you will need to figure out what caused the massive fish death. Will you be able to put the pieces together to solve the mystery?

Get Started Now

Become an environmental investigator and solve a massive fish kill mystery. First, learn about the different trophic levels of the ecosystem. You will then perform a fish necropsy and use a spectrophotometer to analyze oxygen levels in the water.

Techniques in Lab

  • Spectrophotometer
  • Sampling
  • Fish dissecting

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to..

  • Understand the basic concepts of sample collection 
  • Perform fish necropsy and learn the information you can get from this kind of approach 
  • Learn the concepts of trophic levels, trophic pyramids and the energy flow in an ecosystem 
  • Learn the difference between heterotroph and autotroph organisms
  • Analyze the level of dissolved oxygen level in your water sample using a spectrophotometer 
  • Learn the concepts of a calibration curve, linear regression and extrapolation

Simulation Features

Length – 28 minutes
Accessibility mode – Available
Languages – English, Danish, French, German, Spanish, Italian

Examples of Related Standards


Ecology related 1st year onwards


High level content, may support HS-ESS3-4, HS-ESS3-6


No direct alignment


High level content, may support:
Unit 8: Ecology

Screenshots of Marine Biology: Investigate a massive fish death Virtual Lab Simulation


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