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The Effect of Climate Change on Butterfly Phenology

Plot and analyze natural history specimen data to identify trends in butterfly phenology, plot temperature data and test for relationships between temperature and phenology, relate their findings to published research
Associated files
Resource Group TIEE
Resource Group Link
Primary or BEN resource type
General Biology Core Concepts
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
General Biology Competencies
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords Butterfly, climate change, interspecific interactions, natural history collections, phenology
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Category
Pedagogical Use Description This module is intended as an introduction to phenology, natural history collections data, and basic statistical analysis. The target audiences include introductory biology and ecology courses. The Kharouba and Velland paper, on which this activity is based, serves as a pre-class reading assignment. We recommend that the instructor review the article with the class before starting the activity. The article goes into detail, particularly with regard to analysis, beyond what this activity will cover. As such, it is not necessary for students to have a complete and in-depth understanding of all the statistical methods; a basic understanding will suffice. Assessment is in the form of completed scatterplots and written interpretation of analyses and results.
Aggregation Level
Full Name of Primary Author Debra Linton
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Central Michigan University
Primary Author email
Secondary Author Name(s) Molly Phillips, Elizabeth R. Ellwood
Secondary Author Affiliation(s) Florida Museum of Natural History, La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
Added By Id
  • educationintern
Submitter Name EcoEd
Submitter Email
Rights TIEE, Volume 13 2018 Debra Linton, Anna Monfils, Molly Phillips, Elizabeth R. Ellwood, and
the Ecological Society of America. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) is a
project of the Committee on Diversity and Education of the Ecological Society of America
Review type
Drought and Water Ecosystem Services Collection Off
Conservation Targets Under Global Change Collection Off
Big Data Collection Off
Editors Choice No
Resource Status
Date Of Record Submission 2018-07-16
Date Of Record Release 2019-04-15 08:04:57
Last Modified By Id
  • tmourad
Date Last Modified 2019-04-15 08:04:57
Release Flag Published

Resource Comments

Subject: Comment On: The Effect of Climate Change on Butterfly Phenology
Posted By: jrcoyle
Date Posted: 2020-07-29 09:56:44
This module inspired an activity that I developed for my majors-level Ecology course, which I implemented in an asynchronous format. In my lesson, students develop and test a multi-step hypothesis about elevational and phenological shifts using scatterplots and regression with data from California butterfly observations (from GBIF) and NOAA weather station data. Students receive a cleaned data set and are introduced to where to find publicly available environmental data. Lesson materials are published on QUBES:
Subject: Comment On: The Effect of Climate Change on Butterfly Phenology
Posted By: RCohen
Date Posted: 2020-06-10 09:47:22
I implemented a version of this exercise in a fully online and asynchronous sophomore level majors course. The module included both discussion and homework activities. The link to the modified materials can be found here:
Subject: Comment On: The Effect of Climate Change on Butterfly Phenology
Posted By: mmckelly
Date Posted: 2019-06-01 12:37:28
I implemented this module in an introductory non-majors Environmental Science class. I added a "warm-up" activity for students to practice interpreting the relationship between two graphed variables, and split the student handout materials into their own file, with light formatting changes and edits to make it more approachable for non-majors.
Subject: Comment On: The Effect of Climate Change on Butterfly Phenology
Posted By: kstackwhitney
Date Posted: 2019-05-30 14:51:57
I developed an adaptation of this module as part of the QUBES FMN Spring 2019 group. My adaptation adds a metacognition exercise, includes a rubric, and is designed for no-stats, no-homework workshop format course. My students really enjoyed the module, and I would definitely use it again. That module adaptation is here -

This message was edited by kstackwhitney on May 30, 2019 at 2:53 pm.

Subject: Comment On: The Effect of Climate Change on Butterfly Phenology
Posted By: greenevalerie
Date Posted: 2019-05-16 10:22:31
My updated resource materials include a pptx file to introduce the scientific background of the project and an updated pre-lab worksheet for students.