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5 May 2021 Investigating Ecological Disturbance in Streams
Patrick M. Edwards, Megan Colley, Angie Shroufe
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Teaching students about ecological disturbance provides them with an understanding of a critical factor that shapes the structure and function of biological communities in environmental systems. This article describes four simple experiments and related curriculum that students can use to conduct inquiry around the theme of disturbance in stream ecosystems: insect drift, colonization, life history, and the intermediate disturbance hypothesis. Over five years, our students conducted these experiments 57 times; 79% of the experiments resulted in data that supported students' hypotheses. Our findings show that the experiments can be used as a framework for inquiry-based learning about important ecological processes such as disturbance, dispersal, colonization, and succession. These experiments meet several of the Next Generation Science Standards, are easily and ethically conducted, and require very little equipment.

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Patrick M. Edwards, Megan Colley, and Angie Shroufe "Investigating Ecological Disturbance in Streams," The American Biology Teacher 83(4), 254-262, (5 May 2021).
Published: 5 May 2021

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inquiry-based learning
insect drift
intermediate disturbance hypotheses
life history
stream disturbance
stream insects
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