Questions for ‘Under blanket of ice, lakes teem with life’


To reach this ice-covered lake near Toolik, Alaska, Jade Lawrence pulled equipment on sleds and snowmobiles. Here she uses an augur to drill through the snow and ice cover.

Steve Sadro

To accompany feature “Under blanket of ice, lakes teem with life


Before Reading:

1.  When you think of lakes during the winter, what do you imagine is happening under the ice?           

2.  How could it be possible for some plants and animals to survive under a frozen lake?          

During Reading

1.  What does the term “freshwater” mean?   

2.  What was the main finding that Hampton and her colleagues gleaned from their study of more than 100 freshwater lakes?   

3.  What had been the researchers’ main goal?

4.  What are algae and zooplankton, and why (based on what you read) is their presence important in a body of water? 

5.  Based on the story, how has climate change become an important issue for lakes?     

6.  Give three examples of the difficult conditions researchers encountered in gathering their data?     

7.   What is an important research finding that marine scientists have made at ice-covered sites?  

8.   What is photosynthesis?  

9.   What’s so unusual about Lake Erie, according to Xenopoulos?

10.  What do scientists mean when they refer to a “bloom” of algae?

11.  What could happen if the amount of ice on Lake Erie declines significantly?

After Reading

1.  What are two possible ways in which lakes may end up having less ice in winter? Describe some possible consequences, if that were to happen.

2.  Why should people who don’t live near any large ice-covered lakes still be concerned about what happens to them?         

3.  This story dealt with the interplay of effects within an ecosystem. Map an ecosystem in a winter lake — from the smallest prey to the top predator — as the story describes such an environment. How many levels did you find in this food web?