Long Term Ecological Resources
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This page first made public: Jan 15, 2007
This material was originally developed through Merlot
as part of its collaboration with the SERC Pedagogic Service.
In this out of class assignment, students work in groups to analyze ecological data and generate an ecological rule. The data is from the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) network which can be accessed through MERLOT. LTER contains annual net primary productivity (ANPP), precipitation and temperature data for 26 different biomes. Students are assigned two biomes to study and generate a rule, such as "increasing precipitation leads to an increase in ANPP". They then examine data from two other sites and see if their rule applies to these biomes as well. The final results are submitted as a powerpoint slide, and several are shown in class.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
They consist of the following.
1. A powerpoint presentation with instructions.
2. An Excel file with the raw data for each site.
3. A rubric for grading the assignments.
4. Article by Knapp (2004) for background on LTER Instructions for students (PowerPoint 433kB Mar22 06) LTER dataset (Excel 49kB Mar22 06) Grading rubric (Microsoft Word 19kB Mar22 06) Article by Knapp (Acrobat (PDF) 3MB Mar22 06) Ecology Quiz (Microsoft Word 68kB Mar22 06)
Teaching Notes and Tips
Students are assigned two sites to compare temp and precip. vs. ANPP. This is in a table on the last page, I had 35 groups of 4, so I just assigned each group a number and they could find the two sites they were to compare. They should graph these and make an ecological rule.
They then graph two additional sites of their choosing and see if the ecological rule applies.