Additional Resources

Teaching Resources

There are many useful online resources available to help one address the issues of ecology education. A few of those resources are highlighted below:

Eco Ed Digital Library

Guide to Long-Term and Continental Data Sources in Environmental Sciences for Undergraduate Education EcoTrends

Biological Inventories of World Protected Areas

“Teaching with Large Data Sets”



Eco Ed Digital Library

Other Resources: http://www.esa.org/education_diversity/fed/teaching.resources

Submit a Teaching Resource

We also welcome submissions of teaching resources at ESA’s EcoEd Digital Library. We especially welcome images(photos and figures), labs, classroom activities and field activities related to continental-scale education.

Back to Top


Guide to Long-Term and Continental Data Sources in Environmental Sciences for Undergraduate Education EcoTrends

https://www.ecotrends.info/EcoTrends/index.jsp

Original data source(s):

LTER network and additional long-term ecological research facilities.

Principal topics of data:

Biogeochemistry (e.g. water chemistry, litterfall, decomposition); biotic (e.g. cover, productivity); climate; human activities (e.g. farming, land use.)

Geographic coverage:

Currently 50 sites, mostly contiguous U.S. states, but also Alaska, Puerto Rico, Antarctica and Moorea coral reef.

Temporal scope:

Long-term data sets of various lengths, some data back to 19th century.

Data and output formats:

Data are available as time series. Most data are available as monthly or yearly averages. Data can be presented as html tables, downloaded as .csv or depicted as line or scatter graphs with time as the X-axis.

Review:

EcoTrends is primarily organized for examining trends over time for a single site (or a few sites). The EcoTrends interface and search features are straightforward and intuitive and users can quickly begin generating graphs and downloading data with little or no instruction. The graphs generated are limited to ones with time as the X-axis variable. Up to four items can be plotted on a single graph (e.g. a single variable at four sites, four variables for one site, etc.). To compare data across a broad range of sites, the data must be downloaded one site at a time and processed with external data analysis and visualization software. Similarly, to compare variables with one another, the data must be downloaded and then processed with external software. The ease with which data can be located, downloaded and graphed makes this a very useable database to use for classroom activities exploring the temporal dynamics of environmental processes.

Tips to facilitate data access:

Browsing or a search will lead to a list of available data sets. For each set there are icons for downloading the data (as .csv), viewing the data as a plot, saving the data to a personal “data store” or viewing meta-data (“view dataset details”). Non-intuitively, to view a data table in the browser one first opens the meta-data window, and this includes an option for viewing the data as html.

Site manager / Contact person:

Christine Laney, EcoTrends Project Coordinator, ecotrend@nmsu.edu

Back to Top


Biological Inventories of World Protected Areas

http://www.ice.ucdavis.edu/bioinventory/bioinventory.html

Original data source(s):

Several databases associated with the U.N. Man and the Biosphere program are incorporated, including ACCESS, MABFlora/MABFauna and BioMon.

Principal topics of data:

Species occurrences for fish, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and plants, for protected areas.

Geographic coverage:

1415 sites in 133 countries.

Temporal scope:

No indication is given of the dates at which areas were surveyed.

Data and output formats:

Data can be output as species lists for individual protected areas or as lists of areas of occurrence for individual species. Either type of list can be viewed onscreen or downloaded as .csv files. These files contain additional data columns not seen onscreen (e.g. reproductive status of population, abundance).

Review:

This site provides species occurrence data for a very large number of sites. The quality and comprehensiveness of this data undoubtedly vary. For example, one reserve of 6500 km2 has a plant list of only 40 species. Primary references are given for the species lists for each protected area, although many of these primary sources may be difficult to obtain. The lists on the website were apparently last updated in 2005. Despite these limitations, the large number of protected areas included makes this a useful resource for examining broad-scale patterns of distribution of flora and vertebrate fauna.

Tips to facilitate data access:

When browsing for species lists, one first obtains a list of protected areas by country. Clicking on an individual area brings up a box that includes the species counts for each taxa for that area. One has to then click on the name of the area in that box to open another box that contains links to the species lists.

Site manager/ Contact person:

Robert J. Meese rjmeese@ucdavis.edu

Back to Top


“Teaching with Large Data Sets”

taken from Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE)

1. Using Data in the Classroom – A Site for Educators and Resource Developers

Engaging students in using data to address scientific questions has long been an integral aspect of science education. Today’s information technology provides many new mechanisms for collecting, manipulating, and aggregating data. In addition, large on-line data repositories provide the opportunity for totally new kinds of student experiences. This site provides information and discussion for educators and resource developers interested in effective teaching methods and pedagogical approaches for using data in the classroom.

2. For Curriculum Resource Developers

A special goal of this site is to provide information for those developing data access and manipulation tools that will help them create resources well-suited for educational use. Developers are invited to join the using-data discussion list as a venue for developing dialog with educators who will use their products. The ‘For Developers’ portion of the site aggregates recommendations from the education community for product development.

3. Data Discovery Toolkit and Foundry

The NASA project “Data Discovery Toolkit and Foundry” a good model for use of large, real-time data sets for inquiry-based learning.

Back to Top