published Sep 19, 2022 10:02am

New Modules Published

Project EDDIE is pleased to announce the publication of several new, ready-to-use modules in 2022! We also invite you to browse the full collection of modules available from across the Project EDDIE initiatives.

New Modules Include

Assessing the Risk of Invasive Plants Using Spatial Data

Matthew Heard, Belmont University

This module introduces students who are already familiar with GIS to doing comparative analyses with large-scale community science (often called citizen science) data sets. Students will explore how we can use community science data to examine the spread and distribution of invasive species in different geographic locations. In the final step, students will identify different invasive species and determine if community science data accurately maps the threat these species pose.

Paleoclimate of the last 2k years

Sean Bryan, Colorado State University

This activity explores trends in global and local temperature during the last 2,000 years, and considers the uncertainties in interpreting individual records. Through this activity, students will gain experience downloading data from an online repository, managing data in Excel, plotting data in scatter plots, and calculating trends using regressions. Students also gain exposure to some of the challenges of working with paleoclimate data, which may include discontinuous time-series, low resolution, and influences other than temperature on proxy variables.

Tracking hot spots and hot moments in an urban freshwater estuary

Gaston (Chip) Small, University of St. Thomas (MN)

This module explores the hydrology and biogeochemistry of the St. Louis River Estuary (Duluth, Minnesota). The overarching question of the module is: when, and where, is the estuary acting as a source vs. a sink for nutrients? Students analyze seasonal trends in discharge and solute concentrations, apply a mixing model to estimate contributions of water from different sources, use these results to make inferences about spatial patterns in biogeochemical processes, and test these inferences against measured rates of microbial denitrification.

Museum Collections: Junk Drawers or Mirrors of Fossil Diversity?

David Cordie, Edgewood College

Are museum collections a perfect reflection of diversity in the past, or are they a junk drawer full of odds and ends that just happen to be collected? The goal of this assignment is to identify biases in the fossil record and of museum collections as they relate to recording biodiversity through time. The goal is also to contrast different comparative methods in paleontology. This module attempts to combine learning about the fossil record with learning about human biases that affect our ability to interpret the past. It uses a combination of active learning, analysis, discussion, and reflection.

Biodiversity

Robin Collins, Champlain College

In this module, students will analyze data from the Florida Keys Reef Visual Census (FKRVS), a long-term monitoring effort of key reef fish populations in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Students will calculate the species richness as well as the Shannon index and Pielou's evenness index across different years of data and between different reef types. Furthermore, students will explore how years with high frequencies of hurricanes impact these measures. The module culminates with students writing a summary finding of how reef types and hurricane frequency will impact the FKRVS in the future.

Distribution and Fate of Volatile Organic Contaminants (VOCs)

Federico Sinche, Loyola University Chicago

Volatile organic contaminants (VOCs) are organic compounds generated from different industrial processes around the world. VOCs are ubiquitous contaminants, and some can be genotoxic, mutagenic and act as endocrine disruptors, thus representing a risk to ecosystems and human health. In this module, students will explore how the distribution of VOCs has changed over time. Students will then compare types and concentrations of VOCs among the US states in the context of geography, urbanization, industrialization, and fossil emissions as contributing factors of air pollution.

Biomes, Vegetation Structure, and Canopy Height

Mary Mulcahy, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

Students will develop a concept of vegetation structure and biomes through an exploration of field site data from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) project. Students will compare characteristics of major groups of plants with respect to heat and drought tolerance, develop hypotheses for how canopy height may vary by several abiotic factors, and evaluate their hypotheses using graphed data, trendlines, and r-squared values.

Environmental Pollution and Public Health

Alanna Lecher, Lynn University

Environmental health is a field of study within public health that is concerned with human-environment interactions, and specifically, how the environment influences public well-being. In this module, students will explore how environmental pollution impacts public health through comparing cancer rates of areas with known environmental pollutants to the national average through a t-test. Students can further their knowledge by comparing the concentrations of atmospheric pollutants in areas with known sources to control sites without such sources.

LTER EDDIE: Exploring diatom biodiversity in the Everglades and Caribbean wetlands

Katherine Johnson, Florida International University and Gabriel Kamener, Florida International University

In this module, students use R statistical software to investigate diatom biodiversity in the Everglades and Caribbean karstic wetlands. As students explore these concepts, they will be introduced to and practice biostatistical skills needed to answer the over-arching question: Are these karstic wetland sites considered diverse, and are there dominant periphytic diatom species in karstic wetland communities? Goals include comparing and interpreting results as well as generating and understanding rarefaction curves. This module can also be used in conjunction with the Exploring the relationship between periphyton and water quality in karstic wetlands module for multiple lab sessions.

LTER EDDIE: Exploring the relationship between periphyton and water quality in karstic wetlands

Gabriel Kamener, Florida International University and Katherine Johnson, Florida International University

Physicochemical properties and nutrients drive aquatic processes that sustain biota. Therefore, aquatic assessments usually investigate these variables as well as biological indicators to gain a better understanding of water quality. In this module, students will use regression analysis and online resources to investigate the relationship between periphyton and variables associated with water quality (including nutrients). Students will also examine the role of diatom indicator species. As students explore the concepts in this module, they will be introduced to and practice biostatistical skills needed to answer the over-arching question: What are the relationships between periphyton and variables associated with water quality in the Everglades and Caribbean? And, what can regional diatom species indicate about these relationships?

Investigating Bacterial Contamination in Snapfinger Creek

Samantha Andrews, Georgia State University-Perimeter College

Water quality is a global concern for natural and potable water sources. Snapfinger Creek, located in Metro Atlanta, has been contaminated by many raw sewage leaks in the past few years. For this activity, students will analyze ten years of water quality data collected from Snapfinger Creek and investigate the change in the microbial concentration levels. The essential question that students will answer for this activity is: how does the aging infrastructure of the nation's sewer systems impact water quality in local bodies of water?