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Using Stream Leaf Packs to Explore Community Assembly

In this TIEE experiment, students will explore functional and taxonomic diversity in a stream ecosystem, learn about food web relationships, and learn about the ways in which abiotic and biotic factors determine what organisms are present in a community.

Students will make and install artificial leaf packs in a stream, wait for the leaf packs to be colonized by stream organisms, measure abiotic variables that could influence leaf pack colonization, retrieve the leaf packs and classify the organisms they find in both taxonomic and functional ways, and participate in a class discussion of how the leaf pack community is situated within a larger ecosystem.
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Primary or BEN resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords Abiotic factors, Aquatic Ecology, Biodiversity, Biotic Factors, Community Ecology, Competition, Dispersal, Food Web, Herbivores, Microorganisms, Mutualism, Predation, Stream Ecology
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description This experiment has been used successfully in an introductory Ecology laboratory and in advanced high school Biology courses (8-24 students). This experiment would also be appropriate for introductory Biology laboratories.
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Department of Integrative Biology, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80217-3364

Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Education Department, PO Box AB, 2801 Sharon Turnpike, Millbrook, NY 12545-0178
Primary Author email;;;
Rights Copyright 2011 by Jennifer H. Doherty, Cornelia Harris, Laurel Hartley, and the Ecological Society of America
Date Of Record Submission 2011-08-29

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