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Activities: biodiversity distribution patterns

Hint: The background information that will help you complete these activities is found in the videos and articles.
1. As you know, life can be found in many places. Some of these places are rather unexpected, such as those characterized by extreme temperatures. Go to the Extreme Life article and read up on different locations where you can find extreme life. Choose your favorite example and answer the following:
  • What makes this extreme environment unique?
  • Describe a special organism found there and what surprised you about it.
  • What unique adaptations does the organism have that helps it survive in this extreme environment?
2. Humans have restricted the ranges of some species, and have expanded the ranges of other species. List four different things that humans have done that have expanded or contracted the ranges of different species.  Do some research online or at your library and for each of the four ways you have listed, find an example of a specific type of organism that has been impacted by that factor and whether the organism’s range was expanded or contracted. (Hint: any type of organism, such as plants, animals, fungi, microbes, etc., can be impacted by human activities, whether intentionally or not.)
3. Pull up a Google map of where you live. You can choose the size of the area by zooming in or zooming out.  Look for physical factors in the area that can influence species ranges such as rivers, mountains, fresh water entering salt water, arroyos, lakes, and sand dunes. Next, look for human-made structures that can also influence species ranges such as major roads, large parking lots, shopping centers, dams, levees, landfills, etc.
Select two natural and two human-made barriers that you see and for each one describe one type of organism that might be affected by that barrier.

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