• Biodiversity
     
    Big Idea
     
    All living things exist in a balance with other living things and non-living factors in their environments.
     
    Essential Questions
    1. How are organisms dependent on their interactions with other living things and with non-living factors? (Give at least 3 ways and support them with specific examples)
    2. Why is biodiversity loss a concern? (Explain your reasoning and give at least 2 specific examples that illustrate your points.) 
    Leaf Identification
     
    Let's explore some of the biodiversity of our local ecosystem. In class, we examined several leaf samples. Collect at least 2 more on your own, Glue or tape them in. Use the leaf identification guide to help you describe the leaves shape, edges (margins), and vein struction (venation).
     
    Biodiversity Basics
     
    What is biodiversity, and why is it important? That zany science guy, Bill Nye, will teach you all about it in the Biodiversity episode. Take Cornell notes in your science notebook while you watch the video. Remember to listen for key works and key ideas. One clue that an idea is important is if it is repeated. In Bill Nye videos, key words are not only repeated, but they are often written on the screen for you. It's a good idea to write down examples that help you understand the main ideas too.
     
    Populations
     
    In an ecosystem, we don't usually just think about an individual organism. We think about the whole group of organisms that are the same species, or the population. Watch Bill Nye "Populations" to learn more. Before you watch answer the introduction questions on the Bill Nye worksheet. As you watch fill in the blanks. Then when you're done, answer the comprehension questions.
     
    Importance of Biodiversity
     
    Can wolves change the course of a river? What you do you think? First, watch Sustainable Man's video about what happened when a wolf population was reintroduced (put back into) Yellowstone National Park (See Yellowstone on a map.). (They had been hunted to extinction in the area 70 years earlier.) The video shows a trophic cascade (a chain reaction in an ecosystem). After watching the video, add pictures and explanations to your notes to show two specific examples of steps in the trophic cascade. One example would be that as deer left the valleys, the aspen forest began to regenerate (grow back) there. You may put this example into your notes with a picture of the aspen forest and/or the deer to illustrate it. Then add one more example from the video.
     
    Next, read one of the articles (watch the videos too), to find other examples of how organisms interact with each other and their environment. In ecosystems, each species interacts with its environment and other organisms in a unique way. Choose one species from your article or video and in your notes, explain and illustrate what its special role is in its ecosystem. What would happen to the ecosystem if that species went extinct there? Use pictures to illustrate, and type your explanation.
     
    • Diversity from Above (Subject: Biodiversity in the California Giant Redwood Forest canopy.)
    • Masters of Chemistry (Subject: Sea Sponges ... they're animals! ... and their biodiversity.)
    • Tide Pools (Subject: Interactions among organisms in a tide pool.) 
    Levels of Organization
     
    Your binder and your bedroom might not show as much organization as they should, but living things do! They have many levels of organization. You might remember that a group of the same type of cells is a tissue, and a group of same-species individuals make a population. Now we're going to learn about biomes. A biome is a group of similar ecosystems. Can you put the levels of organization in the proper order? Try the Levels of Organization Dragster to see! When you submit your answer, type in your student ID first; then your first and last name.
     
    Biomes
     
    There are several major biomes on Earth with very different characteristics. Read about the different biomes in the Earth Science Interactive Reader, Chapter 17 Section 2. (It's available in Google Classroom for you.) While you read, take notes on the biomes chart about the temperature range, average rainfall, and characteristic plants and animals for each biome. We will use this data later to learn about how non-living things (abiotic factors) affect the organisms in an ecosystem. Use the graph of species richness to fill in the column for the biodiversity. 
     
    Latitude and Biodiversity
     
    How does latitude affect the biodiversity of ecosystems? A good way to see the relationship between geography and data is to show that data on a map. We will answer this question by mapping the biodiversity of the major biomes. Before you start mapping, predict what you think the map will show. Remember that there is more sunlight near the equator because the sun's rays are more spread out near the poles. How will that affect the number of species that live there? The temperature near the equator is also more consistent because it gets about the same amount of sunlight all year. Near the poles, the temperature changes a lot in different seasons. In winter, the poles get no sunlight, while in summer, they get 24 hours of sunlight. How do you think this affects the number of living things that can survive there? Use the data you have collected on your biome notes to help you color code the map:
    • Purple - 0-1.9 thousand species
    • Blue - 2-3.9 thousand species
    • Green - 4-5.9 thousand species
    • Yellow - 6-7.9 thousand species
    • Orange - 8-9.9 thousand species
    • Red - 10 or more thousand species
    When you are done color coding your map, look for a pattern and use the pattern to answer the question. How does latitude (distance from the Equator) affect biodiversity? Write your answer on the lines of your science notebook behind the map.
     
    The closer a biome is to the equator, _____________________.
    The higher the latitude of a biome, _____________________. 
     
    Rainfall, Temperature, and Biodiversity
     
    Which abiotic factor has a greater impact on biodiversity, rainfall, or temperature? We will find out by
    1. creating two graphs, 
    2. analyzing those graphs, and
    3. comparing the graphs to each other.
    Before we begin, get a piece of graph paper, or use this Google Doc to get started. 
     
    Graph 1: Does temperature affect biodiversity? 
    1. Predict. Write or type your prediction before you make your graph. Do you think that temperature affects biodiversity? Why?
      Possible sentence frames:
      • I think that as temperature increases, biodiversity will _______________ (increase, decrease, or stay the same) because _______________________.
      • I do not think that there will be any relationship between temperature and biodiversity because ___________________.
    2. Test your hypothesis by making a scatter plot and looking for a pattern. Create a graph for temperature and biodiversity. (If you prefer to work on paper, feel free to.)

      1. Make an X-Y graph called a scatter plot.
        This kind of graph will let you see if there is a pattern in your data. (What's a scatter plot?)
      2. Choose an appropriate title for your graph.
        (A title should tell what the graph is about. It can be straight-forward or creative.)
      3. Label the X axis "Temperature (°C)" and put "Biodiversity (number of species)" on the Y axis
        • These are titles; capitalize appropriately.
        • On Create-A-Graph, this is on the Data tab. Click on the preview tab to make sure the labels are in the right places.
      4. If you are using paper, number your axes. If you are using Create-A-Graph, it will number for you based on your data points.
      5. Use the data from your Biomes Chart to create your data points.
        • Paper: Plot your points (x, y) (temp, #species) for each biome.
        • Create-A-Graph: Next to "points," type in the number of biomes in your data set. Label the group, "High Temperatures." Then type in the data pairs for each biome. Be sure to put the high temperature for each biome into the x coordinate, and the biome's biodiversity into the y.
        • Honors or extra credit: Make a second group, of points for the low temperatures; label it "Low Temperatures." Make a third group, "Temperature Range," to show the difference between the high and low temperatures. Use different colors to represent each of the three data groups. Examine each set of points separately. It may help if you add a best-fit line to your graph to show the trend.
      6. Click on the Preview tab to see your completed graph. If you are working online, copy and paste it into a Google Doc from this tab.

    3. Analyze your graph. Look for a trend in the data and write or type your analysis below your graph: What kind of correlation do you see between temperature and biodiversity? Is there an upward trend (positive correlation), a downward trend (negative correlation), or no pattern at all (no correlation)? 
      Possible sentence frames:
      • As the temperature of a biome increases, the biodiversity ________________. This is a ________________ (strong/moderate/weak) relationship. I can tell because on my graph, ______________ (describe the pattern in the data points).
      • The graph shows no correlation between temperature and biodiversity. You can see this on my graph because ____________________(describe the pattern you do or don't see on your graph that makes you think that.).

    Graph 2: Does precipitation (rainfall) affect biodiversity? 
    1. Predict. Write or type your prediction before you make your graph. Do you think that the amount of rainfall in a biome affects its biodiversity? Why or why not? 
      Possible sentence frames:
      • I think that as rainfall increases, biodiversity will _______________ (increase, decrease, or stay the same) because _______________________.
      • I do not think that there will be any relationship between temperature and biodiversity because ___________________.
    2. Test your hypothesis by making a scatter plot and looking for a pattern. Do this in the same way you did for temperature and biodiversity with just a couple of changes:
      • The title of this graph should be different since the graph is showing precipitation, not temperature.
      • The X-axis label should be "Precipitation (cm)"
      • Honors or extra credit: Make a second group, of points for the low precipitation; label it "Minimum Precipitation." Use different colors to represent each of the two data groups. Examine each set of points separately. It may help if you add a best-fit line to your graph to show the trend.
    3. Analyze your graph. Look for a trend in the data and write or type your analysis below your graph: What kind of correlation do you see between temperature and biodiversity? Is there an upward trend (positive correlation), a downward trend (negative correlation), or no pattern at all (no correlation)?

      Possible sentence frames:
      • As the precipitation of a biome increases, the biodiversity ________________. This is a ________________ (strong/moderate/weak) relationship. I can tell because on my graph, ______________ (describe the pattern in the data points).
      • The graph shows no correlation between precipitation and biodiversity. You can see this on my graph because ____________________(describe the pattern you do or don't see on your graph that makes you think that.).
    Compare your Graphs
     
    Based on your graphs, which factor do you think affects biodiversity more, rainfall or temperature? (Look at your graphs to see which one has a stronger relationship to biodiversity.) Write or type your answer on your assignment.
     
     
    Why does biodiversity matter?
     
    The greater the biodiversity, the more likely an ecosystem is to survive. Another way to say that is that more biodiversity makes an ecosystem healthier. But why does that matter to you? Many of these ecosystems are far away, you may never see them in your lifetime, so why do you care? Remember, everything is connected. Read the article "Why Save the Rainforest?" to find out more. As you read, take Cornell notes.
     
    All ecosystems have important biodiversity. When thinking about the Earth's health, we have to think about the biodiversity of the whole Earth! The plants in the Taiga provide a huge percent of the oxygen we breathe in all the biomes. Everything is connected. The rainforest, though, is a spectacular example of biodiversity. Watch the "Jungles" episode of "Planet Earth" and be amazed by the biodiversity you see there! While you watch, look for information that will help you answer the essential question, "How do living things depend on each other and on other living things?" Take notes in your notebook. Focus on examples of living things depending on each other and of non-living factors that affect the living things.
     
     
    Ecosystem Services

    What has your ecosystem done for you lately? A lot, actually. To find out some of the services ecosystems perform, read the "Importance of Biodiversity" CK-12 article. You will take Cornell notes on the article, so set up your notes in your notebook. The focus question is: "What services do ecosystems provide?" 

    Before you read, get an overview of the article by reading just the headings and bold words. This will give you the main idea. When you take your notes, put titles on the sections just like the ones in the article. After you finish your notes, write the summary.

     
     
    Invasive Species
     
    Sometimes, a species is moved from its native habitat to an ecosystem where it doesn't belong. Sometimes this doesn't cause any problems, but other times, it can be disastrous. In that case, we call the species an invasive species because it is invading and damaging its new ecosystem. For a quick introduction, watch this video about the invasive cane toad. While you watch, think about these key question: The cane toad is native to what ecosystem? How was it introduced to Australia? Was it accidental or on purpose? Why was that a problem?
     
    Then Read about these invasive species. How were they introduced to their new ecosystems? Was it intentional or unintentional? How did they damage their new environments? Make notes about 4 of the species in your science notebook.
     
    Easter Island: What happens when we loose biodiversity?
     
    What can we learn from a remote Pacific Island about preserving biodiversity? Find out by watching the segment about Easter Island from the BBC's "Ocean of Islands" documentary and reading the graphic story. The video and cartoon are posted in Google Classroom for students enrolled in my class. If you're not in my class, and you want to see it, the video is available to download on iTunes. The cartoon can be found on pages 680-683 of the "Windows on the Wild" book.
     
    After watching and reading, answer the reading questions posted in Google Classroom. Write thorough answers and cite your evidence by listing the numbers of the boxes you used to come up with your answer.
     
    Hippos Threaten Biodiversity!
     
    OK, it's not a hippopotamus.  HIPPO is an acronym for the major threats to biodiversity:
    H-habitat loss
    I-invasive species
    P-pollution
    P-population growth
    O-overconsumption of resources
     
    What are these things and why are they threats to biodiversity? We will learn about this by watching a Waterways video about the endangered florida panthers. How does the HIPPO threaten the panthers? These big cats are the same species as our mountain lions here in California. The lessons we learn from them could help us protect our own wildlife. 
     
    How well do you understand the HIPPO? Find out by doing the HIPPO worksheet.  
     
    Ecosystem Services
     
    What has your ecosystem done for you lately? You might be surprised at just how many things ecosystems do! These things are called ecosystem services, and they are incredibly valuable. Watch the video, "What Does Biodiversity Do for Us?" to learn about some of the ways that ecosystems help us. Make notes in your science notebook. Don't forget to pay attention to things that will help you answer the essential question "Why is biodiversity loss a concern?" 
     
    Since ecosystems are so important and valuable, what is the best way to protect them? The difficult thing is that we don't have enough resources available to protect everything. Also, biodiversity is not the only issue people need to address. How can we make such tough decisions? Look at the issues pictured on page 67 in the Biodiversity workbook. Consider which issues you think are most important to address. Put those issues at the top of the pyramid (biodiversity book p.63). Put the least important issues at the bottom of the pyramid. Write about the issue you considered most important (#1) and the one you considered least important (#15). Why did you rank them that way? (You don't need to write about all the others.) Discuss your choices with your group. Do your classmates agree with you or not? How can we work together even if we have different priorities?