Problem Library

Who Owns the Geritol Solution?

Length: 6+ Hours

Discipline: Biological Sciences

Level: Introductory (majors and non-majors)

Author: Allen, Deborah

The Geritol solution is based on the premise that iron availability limits primary productivity in the high-nutrient, low-productivity zones of certain ocean waters. John Martin proposed that by dosing these waters with an iron tonic, we could harness the latent primary productivity of marine phytoplankton to lessen the impact of excess carbon dioxide emissions on global warming. In the context of this “Geritol solution,” students encounter and make connections between major concepts related to global biogeochemical cycles, celluar energy transformations, and marine ecosystems. They engage in environmental decision-making concerning use of the Geritol solution, particularly as it relates to its patenting and exclusive commercial use (for carbon sequestration and fish farming) by an environmental engineering firm.

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