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Case studies in operationalizing ecosystem-based management Operationalizing and implementing ecosystem-based management Link, Jason et al. Ecological thresholds in forecast performance for key United States West Coast Chinook salmon stocks. The case focuses on the interesting phenomenon of spawning salmon acting as nutrient conveyor belts, tr She discovers that the restaurant doesn't serve locally caug To make way for more corn, millions of acres of prairie grassland were plowed under, destroying an Students assume the role of an intern working for a U.

They nee In this interrupted case study, Ph. The story is a vehicle for te Grazing in Vernal Pools This case study in restoration ecology utilizes two peer reviewed articles that ask a similar question about the effects of grazing in temporary wetlands, yet the articles have different conclusions about these effects. Students are challenged to How Many More Thymes? A Case of Phytochemical Defense This clicker case addresses several concepts related to the evolutionary ecology of herbivore defenses.

A survey of several different studies that investigated chemical defenses in Thymus vulgaris thyme gives students the opportunity to deve Impacts of Climate Change on Pinyon Pine Cone Production In this interrupted case study, students explore how changing climate may affect cone production in pinyon pine Pinus edulis. Students begin by learning about mast seeding, a common reproductive strategy among many perennial plant species, a Improving on Nature?

In , black bass were introduced into Lake Atitlan in the highlands of western Guatemala as a way to attract tourism and boost the local economy, but unforeseen complications resulted in an ecological disaster. Developed for an introductory course i Indigenous Knowledge and the Search for Medicine This case study is based on a real scenario in which a high-profile ethnobotanical study in Chiapas, Mexico, ended when local and international organizations accused the managing researchers of biopiracy.

Students will explore how the Maya Internationa Beth Tonoany, a tropical population ecologist, is studying an unusual tree, Guaiacum sanctum, in the tropical forests of Central America. Interestingly, several local Ticos have told her that they use the tree for medicinal purposes. Is Iron Fertilization Good for the Sea? This case study describes experiments to seed the ocean with iron to encourage algae growth.

It explores how human activities contribute to greenhouse effects and global warming, proposals to potentially counteract these effects and make the ocean more Joel E. This integrative ap Katrina's Troubled Waters This case study explores some of the health issues brought to light during the flooding in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina. The case encourages students to think about a variety of problems that can occur when humans are exposed to unsanitary f Kill the Aliens: Controlling Leafy Spurge The majority of people in the world interact with nature in an urban setting.

Killing Coyote In this interrupted case study, students view a documentary film about a coyote hunting contest and then assume the role of various stakeholders in coyote management in the western United States to explore issues associated with wildlife management. This brief, interrupted case study tells the sto Las alas del Diablo Why are chilies so hot?

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This case study begins with a story about an undergraduate student who is inspired to learn about capsaicin production in chilies after losing a spicy chicken wing eating contest. The case was developed as an initial activity fo Life tables are tables of statistics that relate to life expectancy and reproductive output for a population of organisms. Students are asked to tabulate traditional life Ask a Turtle This case study examines the events surrounding the hatching and migration of loggerhead sea turtles, specifically what mechanisms they use to head towards the ocean once hatched and where and how they migrate once in the ocean.

The story is wr Making It Fit: Using Excel to Analyze Biological Systems In this case, students read about a biologist who needs to determine how to analyze age-at-length data, a common situation in fisheries biology. The fictional Dr. Latimer is tasked with fitting non-linear models to the data, and the case develops as he Mathematics in Conservation This interrupted case study teaches probability theory and transmission genetics through their application to the conservation of the endangered Florida panther.


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  • An endangered population is unlikely to survive simply due to its small population size. Mini Cases on Choosing Appropriate Statistical Tests for Ecological Data This set of mini cases on the ecology of eastern cottontail rabbits is designed to give students practical experience using statistics in a scientific context.

    Given a dataset and experimental design, groups of students are asked to play the part of a Mom Always Liked You Best This interrupted case study is based on a journal article on the parenting behavior of American coots. Working through the case, students develop hypotheses and design experiments to test their hypotheses as they are given pieces of the case in an inte Monarchs and Milkweed This interrupted case study was written to help students understand the interplay and relatedness of metabolism in producers and consumers.

    The storyline is based on a conversation between two students who are home from college for a long weekend. Monkey Brains This case study in comparative physiology explores the connections between physiology, evolution and behavior. Students assume the role of researchers who have discovered the body of a rare and poorly studied fictional monkey, Callicebus imagini. Mutualism This case explores two-species interactions, especially mutualism, and presents students with a problem, namely, the inconsistent treatment of the concept of mutualism and symbiosis in many textbooks.

    It begins with a question that students will probab My Brother's Keeper In this interrupted case study, students work in teams to interpret behavioral data with respect to evolutionary biology.

    Specifically, the case examines the behavior of alarm calling in a certain type of squirrel, Belding's ground squirrel, whic Mystery in Alaska This interrupted case study highlights the importance of energy considerations within food chains by examining the population decline of Steller sea lions along the western Alaskan coast. A ban on commercial fishing of pollock in the s caused a shi No Bats in the Belfry This interrupted case study investigates the geographic origin of white-nose syndrome WNS in little brown bats Myotis lucifugus.

    WNS is a devastating fungal disease caused by the fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans formerly know Ultimately one of On a Wing and a Prayer The essential elements of this dilemma case are based on a real-life wetland mitigation problem. A biologist with the U. Fish and Wildlife Service has to decide whether to improve a wetland adversely impacted by toxins or restore another site instead One Whale or Two or …? This case study focuses on the intersection of defining a scientific species and defining a legal species.

    The compelling story of Lolita, an orca whale in captivity, is used to highlight the legal significance of species declaration. Students will wor Peppered Moths and the Industrial Revolution This interrupted case study was written for students to gain a better understanding of evolutionary concepts and principles as they develop their skills in hypothesis creation, experimental design, and critical analysis of experimental assumptions.

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    Plant Transpiration This flipped case study is formatted as a PowerPoint presentation that uses group experimentation to encourage active learning in a large science classroom. There are options for using either wet bench experimentation or an online simulation, depending Poor Devils Cancer is usually thought to be a disease that affects individuals. But could cancer evolve to become infectious? Prairie Garden of Troubles This "clicker case" was developed for a general biology course for non-majors.

    It focuses on prairie habitat ecology and restoration. Jim, a young ecologist, has created a reconstructed prairie in his backyard. His neighbors don't like it and they have The characters in this dilemma case, representing the scientific community and government, must make a decision about whether or not to release a virulent pathogen into the environment in order to control the rapidly expanding population of European ra Reproductive Isolation in Columbines This clicker case uses plant-pollinator interactions in columbines as a biological scenario to teach students about evolution, reproductive isolation, and angiosperm reproduction.

    The case is based on an approach to evolution education called tree-thin Responding to a Changing Climate This case study uses a jigsaw activity to introduce students to four specific plant responses to climate change: elevational range shifts, phenology shifts, community shifts, and changes in biodiversity.

    Case studies tagged with Ecosystem services

    Students become "experts" on one of these respon Response to Plant Invasion This interrupted case study provides students with an opportunity to compare and contrast methods for controlling spotted knapweed, an invasive species in the United States that has raised considerable concern in western pastures and rangeland.

    Restoring Resilience: Changing the Landscape Legacy in Patagonia Sheep ranching has destroyed habitat and decimated species in many areas of the world, but in Patagonia declining wool prices provide an opportunity to turn the tide. This case study places students in the role of advisor to an international NGO that h Revolt of the Fungus People This interrupted case study for the flipped classroom examines the interaction of plants and their mycorrhizal partners.

    The latter is one of the most widespread and vital symbiotic relationships in the world and can be seen in the videos that students The Salton Sea is important for wildlife and recreation, but is now saltier than Sealing the Deal This case study uses a PowerPoint-driven approach combined with role-playing to explore issues surrounding the grey seal population off the coast of New England, specifically Chatham, Massachusetts.

    Have You Thanked Your Ecosystem Today?

    After gathering information, the students take the pa Search for the Missing Sea Otters Using a progressive disclosure format, this case study teaches students how to apply ecological principles to a real-life ecological problem, namely, the decline in sea otter populations in Alaska. Students interpret data from graphs and tables and pra Seeing the Forest for the Trees This case study has for its central theme the importance of tree size in both ecology and natural resource management and is designed to introduce components of forest management and policy, the importance of ecological relationships, and the challenge Selection on a Case by Case Basis This "clicker case" gives students an opportunity to apply their understanding of three different types of selection directional, stabilizing, and disruptive to a variety of model systems.

    The case describes each type of selection in detail, presents Shooting the Poop This group-based case study is based on research by Dr. Martha Weiss using silver-spotted skipper caterpillars Epargyreus clarus Lepidoptera. These insects perform the unusual behavior of flinging their frass excrement great distances aw Si el Norte Fuera el Sur In this case study, students are given the task of developing a recovery plan to protect a recently discovered population of Central American squirrel monkeys on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.

    In the process they must determine whether the population Testing for Grazer Adaptation to Toxic Algae The intent of this interrupted case study is to present a clear example of both the scientific method and evolutionary adaptation in a model system consisting of marine grazers copepods and toxic prey phytoplankton.

    The process of litter decomposition, as well as the intricate relationships among the diverse components of the edaphic fauna associated to the litter, offers an excellent study system of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem processes, mainly in tropical environments with their huge diversity. In this study case we verify how soil and litter arthropod biodiversity affects litter decomposition in a tropical habitat. Our hypothesis is that increasing arthropod abundance and species richness cause higher decomposition rates, and that some functional groups may have stronger roles in this process.

    We carried out this study from July to February , in a ca. The main vegetation is composed by Semidecidual Seasonal Atlantic Forest, located within the domain of the Atlantic Forest [ 80 ]. In the study area we set two 75m parallel transects, apart 5 m from each other. Along each transect we delimited 15 1m 2 squares, 5m distant from each other, in a total of 30 sampling points.

    We collected approximately g of freshly fallen leaves from predominant tree species in each sampling point. Dried leaves were weighted and separated in groups of 5g, which were placed into litter bags, measuring 15 x 15 cm, with a mesh of 2 mm [ 81 , 63 ]. In each sampling point we set 15 litter bags and, after 30 days we started to remove them.

    A Case Study of the Chilika Lagoon: The Deterioration of a distinct ecosystem

    Litter bags were removed fortnightly along days. At the end of the experiment we took a 20 cm deep soil sample in each sampling point, which were taken to soil analyses. After removal, we placed litter bags in Berlese funnels for 48 hours, to extract the arthropods. After their identification, arthropods were sorted according to their feeding habits: detritivores, fungivores and predators [ 82 - 86 ].

    We considered litter weight loss as the difference between initial and final weight after days , and we used this as an estimate of decomposition in each sampling point. To test the hypothesis that more arthropod richness and abundance leads to a higher litter decomposition rate we used a model selection approach [ 87 , 88 ]. The response variable was litter weight loss, and explanatory variables were: total abundance and richness of arthropods, abundance and richness of fungivores, detritivores and predators, as well as macroporosity and soil organic matter.

    Variables that presented correlation higher than 0. We opted, then, to remove predator species richness and total arthropod abundance, as the former represents a possible action of organisms distant from the focal process of decomposition and the latter because it is an estimate more general that detritivore abundance. After doing so, it ranks all models and the best models are those containing lower AICc and higher weight values. In the case of more than one model, we averaged the models to obtain only one final model with averaged model coefficients, including their respective confidence internal.

    Parameters for which the confidence interval crossed zero were considered non-significant [ 88 ]. All analyses were performed under the platform R [ 92 ]. We sampled 2, individual and arthropod species, from seven classes: i Arachnida, ii Malacostraca, iii Symphyla, iv Chilopoda, v Diplopoda, vi Entognatha and vii Insecta.

    The class with more orders was Insecta 10 orders , followed by Arachnida four , Entognatha three , Malacostraca, Symphyla, Chilopoda and Diplopoda one order each. The most abundant arthropods in our sampling were Acari and Collembola, which are usually described as more abundant in soil and litter [ 93 ].