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Archive for the ‘Biodiversity’ Category

Conservation International (CI) has asked for student assistance to develop site-specific conservation plans for biodiversity hotspots worldwide. You will select an identified hotspot, researching key species present, learn about the region and culture, and identify threats to and stakeholder roles in the region. You will then develop plans to conserve the biodiversity of the region.

Unit Essential Questions

  • How do species become threatened or endangered?
  • How does the disappearance of one species affect the larger system?
  • What are some actions that humans might take to slow the current rate of extinction?

Unit Enduring Understandings

  • Species can become threatened or endangered due to habitat loss or changes resulting from human actions or natural forces.
  • The extinction of one species has consequences for the entire system due to essential species’ interactions called symbioses.
  • There are a number of conservation measures that can be taken to slow or prevent the decline of a species.

Procedure

  1. Select a hotspot from the list held by the teacher. Write your name on the list; only one person per hotspot. Read the overview of hotspots at http://www.conservation.org/How/Pages/Hotspots.aspx.
  2. Research key species living within that ecosystem (e.g., kingdom, phylum, habitat, food needs, and so on), using http://www.cepf.net/resources/hotspots/Pages/default.aspx and other teacher-approved sites. Consider ALL organisms, not just Animalia. Count the number of relationships each species has with other species and record it on an organizer for that species.  Answer the following questions in your science journal:
  • Which species are most important to your ecosystem and why (e.g., food, habitat, reproduction factor)?
  • Are the important species animals? plants? fungi?
  • Which species in your ecosystem has the most relationships with other species? Which have the fewest?
  • What role do abiotic elements play in your ecosystem?
  1. Determine and describe a conservation action that can be taken to ensure the future of the hotspot you researched. Consider the needs of the hotspot you are researching and identify one action that could be taken to better conserve the biodiversity of the area.  There are many different conservation approaches that could be taken for avoiding the extinction of a threatened species or protecting areas of key biological activity. Some of these ideas are shown in Table 1 below, but you may have ideas of your own.   Describe your action plan fully, identifying resources needed and timeline for implementation.
  2. Create an online presentation of your research project. Potential online resources include google docs, prezi, glogster, weebly. You may know of others.
  3. Present your research to the class in a formal and professional manner. Include documentation of recorded species and your proposed idea.

Vocabulary

Endemic:           A plant or animal native to or restricted to a certain locality, region, or area.

Biodiversity:    Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth. It is the variety within and between all species of plants, animals and micro-organisms and the ecosystems within which they live and interact. Biodiversity is explored at three levels: genetic diversity; species diversity; and ecosystem diversity.

Biodiversity hotspots:  To qualify as a hotspot, a region must meet two strict criteria: it must contain at least 1,500 species of vascular plants (> 0.5 percent of the world’s total) as endemics, and it has to have lost at least 70 percent of its original habitat.

Table 1.  Potential Actions

Create incentives and legislation to reduce hunting pressure.
Control of invasive species.
Captive breeding programs, propagation, and re-introduction of threatened species.
More effective management of protected areas.
Adding new parks and reserves in the highest priority portions of unprotected intact habitat.
Restoring degraded habitats to provide increased connectivity (to decrease fragmentation).
Establishment, expansion and management of protected areas
Implementation of innovative economic alternatives such as ecotourism and conservation concessions.
Influence the behavior of people at the local level, through education, and at the national level, through policy work and awareness campaigns
Working with international corporations to ensure that their business practices do not contribute to further biodiversity loss.
Collaborating with a single expert to protect a threatened species to avoid its extinction
Working with the government of the country to facilitate national conservation initiatives.
Leveraging other organizations to protect biodiversity in the hotspot.

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After a very long bus ride to Connecticut, we arrived at the aquarium. We drove all the way to Mystic Connecticut from our school in northeast Massachusetts.

After walking around and checking everything out all day, we had learned a lot and seen tons of stuff. Thanks to the aquarium employees, who seamed to be talking your ear off every time you turned around, we learned about every single thing we saw.

After an hour of wandering around we found ourselves in the hard bench seats of the auditorium. There was a full audience and a deep pool set up where a stage might usually be. We watched a sea lion show in these seats and it was very impressive. Sea lions are very smart animals and they were probably the most impressive animal we saw all day. Besides the acribatic tricks they preformed, the trainers gave us tons of information on the animals. I thought it was very interesting to learn sea lions are actually pretty close to humans, and have many of the same traits. There are even some strangly close features such as the sea lions bones in what would be its arm and hand. The sea lion has several bones that make up five fingers. This is one of the many interesting parts to the sea lion that make them one of the smartest animals in the world. We watched the sea lions look a row of shapes and be able to find and choose the shape it was set out to find. I think most found the quick swimming and 8 feet of air they got when flying out of the air but the intelligence side to them is also interesting.

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I think this exercise was very good. It was good to learn about all of the biomes. It is weird how the different animals can live in these places. Like polar bears, it is phenomenal how they can live in the arctic and not freeze to death. Also if they lived in any different biome they would die. It is unbelievable how most animals can survive, but also not be able to survive. I think humans are the only ones that adapt to new habitats quickly because all we have to do is put on a coat or something like that.

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In class our assignment was to create a brochure on a biome. I was assigned a hot desert biome. This biome would not be very suitable for humans becuase it gets to hot and in the night it gets hot as anything. In my research i found out about the organisms that call the desert home. There are not a lot of different types of animals found in the desert, but the ones that are there are cool. My favorite is the Armadillo Lizard. I think that that animal would beatdown any animal in the desert. Doing the brochure on the biome was an enriching experience, but I will never know truly how things go down in the desert. I will not because I have never been there. In order for someone to truly know what happens in the desert, they have to live there .

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/desert.htm

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The Oil spill that has happened in the Gulf of Mexico isn’t that bad. It will only kill thousands of plants and animals but, who really cares about the baby turtles, fish and birds. They shouldn’t deserve to live since they are stupid enough to eat the oil. Anyways, the CEO of Bp, Tom Hayward says “the effects will be very modest” so don’t bother worrying about it. This HAS to be true cause he would never lie about this.

Also, the Gulf of Mexico is a big OCEAN and the oil spill is only a small portion of it. If worse comes to worse the oil may disperse into the marshes and possibly into the Gulf stream which will then travel all over the world. These marshes only harbor a entire ecosystem. Take for example the brown Pelican. Some of these birds are so incrusted in oil that they cant fly and the fish they eat to survive are dying too. As of this moment there has been no solution to fixing this minor problem and were looking for solutions so if you have any ideas please share.

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So recently in class we did a project on Biomes. We had to make a pretty little brochure and present it to the class. I had Temperate Grasslands which was fairly interesting and i liked learning about it. I certainly learned things I did not know previously. However, one thing about the project i did not like was that it seemed really rushed. It was very brief and the presentations were hardly memorable. Overall however, i think it was a fair project.

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For the biome project that was presented to be in my biology class, I chose to learn about the temperate deciduous forests. I picked this one for only one reason really: I really enjoy being out in the woods, and so I wanted to learn a little bit more about the area that I spend a lot of my time in. I really enjoyed learning about this temperate biome to be honest. It is quite amazing how diverse the forest is. From its animals, all the way to its plant species, the forest has a wide variety of incredible sights to see. The biome I chose was not the only interesting one. I must say that the in-class discussion that we had really opened my eyes to the world around me. Other biomes, such as the tundra, savanna, and desert were all very interesting. I also enjoyed the discussion because it was outdoors, which made me feel a little bit more close to the biomes. I know, that sounds rather odd seeing as I was no where near a desert. I mean the deciduous forests, which are everywhere in New England. I think I will conclude with the statement that I actually did enjoy this project, seeing as it brought me  a little bit closer to nature.

This is a picture of a Deciduous forest.

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