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Ecological Core Concepts -- Communities -- Species composition, abundance, and diversity

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View Resource A community of wildflowers growing in a restored prairie in southwestern Wisconsin.

A community of wildflowers growing in a restored prairie in southwestern Wisconsin. The community pictured was open to foraging by meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), resulting in vegetation...

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View Resource A misty rainforest canopy in central Amazonia.

The central Amazon Basin is home to some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world. These rain forests are being reduced and fragmented at a fast rate (as of 2004, about 24 million...

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View Resource A remnant oak-savannah ecosystem, rich in native plant species and also heavily invaded by exotics.

An abandoned 19th century barn is located within a remnant oak-savannah ecosystem in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. The herbaceous vegetation in the foreground includes the pink-flowered...

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View Resource A Volvox colony from a freshwater lake in British Columbia, Canada.

A Volvox colony from a freshwater lake in British Columbia, Canada. Volvox is a genus of green algae that forms colonies of numerous cells. A recent survey of lakes in British Columbia found that...

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View Resource Aerial view of forest fire in pine forest in the Everglades National Park.

Fire is a natural factor that maintains the pinelands and other natural communities in South Florida. The frequency of these fires is influenced by large-scale climate cycles, particularly El Nino...

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View Resource An Assessment of Assemblage Nestedness in Habitat Fragments

This experiment illustrates how ecological theory can help conserve native species in a fragmented landscape. It is germane to units on biogeography, human impacts on ecosystems, landscape...

View Resource An in-class role-playing activity to foster discussion and deeper understanding of biodiversity and ecological webs

In a general sense, biodiversity is an intuitively simple concept, referring to the variety of Earth’s organisms. Ecologists, however, conceptualize biodiversity in a more nuanced, multidimensional...

View Resource An oblique aerial view of the Mullica River showing an invasive reed (Phragmites australis) and two species of native grasses (Spartina spp.).

In this oblique aerial view of Hog Island in the Mullica River, a common reed (Phragmites australis; in green) is visible. P. australis was first observed spreading rapidly on upper Hog Island in...

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View Resource Decomposition and Soil CO2 Emission

Students investigate the factors that control the rate at which CO2 is emitted from soil using simple soil chambers and soda lime in a field experiment. Students in small groups design and conduct...

View Resource Drivers of Avian Local Species Richness: Continental-Scale Gradients, Regional LAndscape, or Local Land Cover?

Students use data to test hypotheses on breeding bird species richness. Students will exercise critical thinking skills to interpret data sets and maps. They will then create graphic presentations...

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