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Activities: biodiversity and ecosystem function

Hint: the background information that will help you complete these activities is found in the video and the articles.
1.     Calculating species richness.
Go outdoors, choose a particular area, such as your backyard or a nearby park, and document the number of different species you find in that area. Don’t worry about the microbes, the things too small too see; just focus on the plants, animals, and fungi that you can see. Use these data to calculate species richness of that outdoor space. Here’s a hint: add up the number of different types of species you find.  You don’t have to know the name of each species, you can just say tree species 1 and tree species 2, for example. If you have a camera, iPad or smart phone, you can take a picture of each different species to help you identify them later. You should also keep track of how many individuals you find for each type of species, which will give you the population size for that species.  But it is the number of species that determines species richness, not the number of individual organisms.
2.   Documenting ecological interactions.
Go outside in your backyard, the school grounds, to a park, zoo or aquarium – some place where you will see a variety of living organisms. Observe two organisms that are interacting in some way, and draw or photograph the interaction and describe what you see.  Explain what type of interaction you think is occurring and why.  If you can identify the types of organisms you have observed, you can do some research online or in books to see if your explanation is likely correct.

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