Biodiversity Lecture 1: What is the Problem? or “The Great Unraveling”

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What is the Problem? or “The Great Unraveling”

In this first lecture video of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on biodiversity, Columbia University professor Don Melnick identifies ecological problems on a global scale, such as degradation of land and aquatic ecosystems, accumulation of greenhouse gases, decline of species and emerging infectious diseases. The basic science behind investigating the problems facing humans in the twenty-first century is discussed at 3 different scales: gene, species and ecosystem. A lecture transcript and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

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Biodiversity Lecture 1: What is the Problem? or “The Great Unraveling”

Discipline:
Resource type:

In this first lecture of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on biodiversity, Columbia University professor Don Melnick identifies ecological problems on a global scale, such as degradation of land and aquatic ecosystems, accumulation of greenhouse gases, decline of species and emerging infectious diseases. The basic science behind investigating the problems facing humans in the twenty-first century is discussed at 3 different scales: gene, species and ecosystem. A lecture video and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

Biodiversity Lecture 1: What is the Problem? or “The Great Unraveling”

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Resource type:

Deforestation and burning in Madagascar.

In this presentation, the first of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on biodiversity, Columbia University professor Don Melnick identifies ecological problems on a global scale, such as degradation of land and aquatic ecosystems, accumulation of greenhouse gases, decline of species and emerging infectious diseases. The basic science behind investigating the problems facing humans in the twenty-first century is discussed at 3 different scales: gene, species and ecosystem. A lecture video and transcript are also available on FoSO.

Invasive Species and Population Dynamics

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Time series plot of balsam fir growth and moose population in Isle Royal National Park 1959–2003.

In this assignment, students will consider the effects of invasive species on ecosystems, and look at population dynamics in predator-prey relationships. In examining data from previous studies, students will apply their understanding of graphical displays of data and of statistical concepts (mean, standard deviation, variance, correlation, significance) to interpret research findings. This document serves as a student handout; an answer key is provided in an accompanying document.

Invasive Species and Population Dynamics

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Time series plot of wolf and moose populations in Isle Royal National Park 1959–2003.

In this assignment, students will consider the effects of invasive species on ecosystems and look at population dynamics in predator-prey relationships. In examining data from previous studies, students will apply their understanding of graphical displays of data and of statistical concepts (mean, standard deviation, variance, correlation, significance) to interpret research findings. This document serves as an answer key; a student handout is provided in an accompanying document.

Wombats and Bees

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Butterfly, bird, and plant declines.

This assignment requires students to consider data related to diversity in local animal populations. Students will apply their understanding of samples, populations, and statistics to data from several different published studies of biodiversity. This document serves as a student handout; an answer key is provided in an accompanying document.

Wombats and Bees

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Fruit-set effect sizes of pollen-supplementation experiments, North America.

This assignment requires students to consider data related to diversity in local animal populations. Students will apply their understanding of samples, populations, and statistics to data from several different published studies of biodiversity. This document serves as an answer key; a student handout is provided in an accompanying document.

UNDP Convention on Biological Diversity

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This handout provides a review of major biodiversity concerns identified at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Convention on Biological Diversity. It is intended to initiate a class discussion on what students can do to address biodiversity issues.