Quaternary Paleoecology and Climate Change, Bladen County, NC

Martin B. Farley
University of North Carolina-Pembroke
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Interpretation of Quaternary pollen record from Carolina Bay lakes in southeastern NC. This records goes back to the last interglacial and shows how much climate has changed vegetation even in this unglaciated spot.

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undergraduate paleontology course, primary audience science education majors

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Basic knowledge of plant groups
Understanding pollen as a fossil type
Geologic setting of NC Quaternary

How the activity is situated in the course

stand-alone exercise


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Student analysis using local real data via an approach used in the scientific literature.
Recognize significant Quaternary paleoecologic and climatic changes even in unglaciated areas

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Interpret and synthesize multivariate data
Use of scientific reasoning to evaluate a proposed origin for Carolina Bays

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Students analyze a Quaternary pollen diagram from lakes in Bladen County, NC. This diagram contains (from the top down) the current deglaciation, the last glacial, and the previous interglacial. Students These lakes occur in Carolina Bays and students also evaluate a proposal that meteorite impact created the Bays.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Compare student answers to the solution set and also evaluate their reasoning to open-ended questions.

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