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Effects of Plant Biodiversity on Ecosystem Productivity within a Savannah Grassland Community

This Data Set focuses on the question: How does plant biodiversity in a grassland savannah community affect ecosystem productivity? To investigate this question, students use create graphs using seven years of data collected at Cedar Creek during an experiment set up to examine the effects of manipulating species richness on plant productivity and biomass. Cedar Creek Natural History Area is an experimental ecological reserve that includes prairie/savanna habitat and prairie plants growing in abandoned agricultural fields. Dataset 1 allows students to explore the relationship between species richness and plant productivity, Dataset 2 allows a test of the sampling effect hypothesis, and the “Bonus” Dataset provides an opportunity for and open-ended exercise.
Cumulative Rating: This resource has a 5 star rating (based on 1 response)
Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords TIEE, pedagogy, student active, inquiry based, prairie, grass, savannah, biodiversity, productivity, grassland, functional group, Cedar Creek, biomass
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description This Dataset provides a hands-on opportunity for students to examine relationships in experimental datasets and think about about larger questions about biodiversity in light of their conclusions for this particular experiment. Using Datasets 1 and 2, students hypothesize the possible reasons for the observed effect, including sampling effects and niche differences among species, and examine the challenges and implications of extrapolating these experimental data to biodiversity loss in general. Students discuss their hypotheses, analysis, interpretation, and conclusion orally and/or in writing.

Note for 9-12 Audience: Data set #1 is best to use for getting at core ecology. Set #2 and Bonus Set are more sophisticated (college level) and designed to get at sample size issues and other methodology questions more than the core ecological principles.
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota
Primary Author email
Rights Copyright 2004 by Joe Fargione, David Tilman, and the Ecological Society of America.
Date Of Record Submission 2007-12-26

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