Biodiversity Inventory

Students record the diversity of species in two study areas and use graphs and diversity indices to describe and analyze the data. Collecting biodiversity data and making species lists reveal patterns. Scientists use these approaches to gather information about ecosystems, assess how the distribution of organisms in an area has changed, and think about possible impacts of different disturbances or changes in environmental conditions. Students can use this activity to think about similar concepts, get a sense of the range of different species in an area, consider factors that influence organisms, and use their data to make predictions about what might happen should conditions change in the future. In this activity, students look for species, count individuals, then create pictures of the patterns. In the process, they develop an intrinsic understanding of the data and of what math can do, and learn a reproducible approach for gathering data.

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