With Professor Bio as your guide, build 4 unique bio domes, and interact with fascinating food webs through immersive gameplay. Make your bio domes flourish to win badges and achieve high ranks.

Source: iBiome-Wetland App Store description / Video: Youtube Springbay Studio

Useful information

Download: iOS 6.0 (123MB)

Price: 2.99$ (there is also a free version with limited options and a special version for schools)

Language: English / Chinese / French

Runs offline: yes

Last update: iOS 27/03/2017 (v. 2.0)

Website of the developer: Springbay Studio Ltd.

Notes: article updated on 30/04/2017

Description

iBiome-Wetland is a Canadian application particularly indicated for children between 9 and 11 years (age rating extracted from Apple Store). Its main objective is to visualize how a wetland evolves through the interaction with the food webs that comprise it. The paid version of the application, which is reviewed in this entry, has 4 scenarios that are unlocked as you progress through the game: fresh water wetland, saltwater marsh and two levels of mangrove. The free version allows you to enjoy 70% of the first dome.

Each scenario is similar to a souvenir snow globe. The starting point for each ecosystem corresponds to a “zero state” with which the user must interact to establish symbiotic relationships that will allow the development of the wetland, exploring the trophic chain established. The sequence of stages is as follows:

  • When you start the game with the first dome and as a tutorial of the game, you learn to use the “Crazy web”, that is like a blackboard in which you establish the different relationships. The access to this section is done “shaking” the mobile device.
  • Once you see how this section works, the first task proposed by the application is to enable the development of algae that oxygenate the water. To perform this task, you must identify the algae as a producer and water and sun as environmental elements that enable the growth of these plants in the “Crazy web”.
  • The next task is to add aquatic plants that will contribute to create the necessary habitat for the development of different species.
  • Once you create the suitable environment, you must add different animals, starting with the snails, continuing with insects and ending with the birds adapted to these habitats, which are predators who are at the top of the food chain of these ecosystems. Professor Bio will explain you in detail what’s each element and their position in the pyramid.

As you progress in the game, you can add more specimens of the different species and see how responds the wetland. With the implementation of the various actions you will obtain badges that will allow you to progress in the different levels (beginner, novice, apprentice and master).

A recent update has included a new button that links to the latest app created by Springbay Studio, iBiome Ocean, set in marine ecosystems.

More information

http://www.bestappsforkids.com/2014/ibiome-wetlands/

http://www.academicschoice.com/apps/ibiome-wetland.php

Images: Screenshots 25/01/2016.  ©Springbay Studio Ltd.

Rating
5

Analysis

Wetlands are one of the most affected ecosystem by humans. Traditionally considered as unhealthy places, have been recurrently drained to transform them into crops. The increased understanding of their functions and features has meant the recognition of the enormous value that have these habitats. They’re vital for groundwater recharge, regulation of the water cycle, fisheries or even protection against natural phenomena, as was demonstrated in the tsunami that devastated large areas of Southeast Asia in 2004, where mangrove areas helped reduce water velocity, minimizing the damage.

Wetland iBiome transmits part of this knowledge through high quality animations with hand-drawn illustrations. This application, awarded with several awards (see links in the section “More information”), is an example of how science education can also be fun and interactive. Although the price may seem excessive, it is a way to compensate for the great work done by the application development team. It is necessary to note that some of the species of flora and animals that are included in the app are native of a specified geographical area and may acquire the status of invasive alien when they are transported to other areas, as in the case of cordgrass (Spartina sp.). However, this fact, while important, does not detract from the educational function of the app.

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Técnico de medio ambiente, community manager y content curator especializada en temas de medioambiente - Environmental technician, community manager and content curator specialised in environmental issues