February 22, 2017

EREN Curricula

EREN projects are developing curricular modules that provide pedagogy for studying ecology at local to continental scales. See below for available modules.

1. Stream Temperature Modules:

Do Riparian Buffers Improve Stream Temperatures?

Through manipulation and analysis of large datasets students will learn about the temperature regime of streams and rivers and will focus on two of the factors that affect stream temperatures, latitude and solar radiation. Students will be exposed to the concept of scale by examining data collected at two distinct spatial and temporal scales. Finally, students will use data they have analyzed to answer a significant question in watershed management: How effective are riparian buffer zones at improving stream temperature?

For Instructors: Planning & Tips | Answer Key | Data Collection Protocols

For Students: Lab Handout | Dataset | Pre/Post Test

What Factors Affect Stream Temperature?

In this inquiry-based lab exercise, students will learn about and then employ a heat budget equation to predict changes in stream temperatures under different scenarios. They will develop their own hypotheses regarding the influence of various environmental factors on the heat budget and then use a computer simulation model (SSTEMP) to test their hypotheses.

For InstructorsPlanning & Tips | Answer Key

For Students: Instructions | Link to SSTEMP website | Pre/Post Test


2. Distribution of Earthworms Module:

Do Land Use and Soil pH Affect Abundance and Diversity?

At the conclusion of this lab, students will be able to identify the most common species of earthworms in your area, estimate diversity of earthworms in multiple habitats, measure pH of soil, estimate the influence of soil pH on earthworm abundance and diversity, and consider that differences in how land is managed by people can have ecological effects that extend beyond obvious differences in vegetation.

For Instructors: Lab Exercise

3. Permanent Forest Plot Modules:

Carbon Sequestration and Ecological Interactions in Forests

With the use of permanent forest plots, students will learn to measure tree diameter, calculate biomass and carbon sequestration values with allometric equations, collect soil data, describe and measure topographic values, and manage datasets, among other skills. These techniques are conducted in the context of global change questions such as how much carbon dioxide do different forest types sequester and how does that change over time, how is terrestrial carbon affected by abiotic variables, how different are native plants versus non-native plants at sequestering carbon, and what is the relationship between species richness/diversity and forest productivity? The information listed below for this module can also be found online by clicking here.

For Instructors: Instructor Overview | Data Quality Assurance Instructions | Data Quality Assurance Example | Suggested Student Assignments | Grading Rubric

For Students: Group Work Ground Rules and Contract | Group Work Evaluation

Forest Species Comparison across Multiple Sites

In this lab, students will learn foundational concepts of forest community dynamics and apply quantitative skills to data analysis and interpretation activities.  Students will use species data collected from four different forests in three states.  The data were generated from the shared method protocol and database of the Permanent Forest Plot Project (PFPP). Here, students will analyze and interpret data to articulate forest species composition dynamics. This lab is designed to train students in the real-world skills and experiences of a collaborative ecologist.

For Instructors: Instructor Notes (included with activity instructions) | Instructor Data file (excel)

For Students: Student Instructions| Student Data file (excel)

4. TurtlePop Module:

How Many are There?

Using mark-recapture technique, students will estimate the population size of freshwater turtles.

For Instructors: Instructor Planning & Handouts

5. DATIS Module:

When Do Invasive Species Affect Ecosystem Processes?

Decomposition is used to explore the questions of what is the threshold abundance of invasive species necessary to affect ecosystem processes, what is the relationship between aquatic and terrestrial decomposition, and how does geographic varition affect these patterns?

For Instructors: Instructor Overview

6. Emerald Ash Borer Module: in development