SEEd - Wildlife Biology
Core Standards of the Course
Strand WILD.1: ECOLOGICAL PROCESSES AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS
Ecological habitats are shaped by abiotic factors that determine the living organisms that live there. Energy is a limiting factor for population size and growth in an ecosystem. Behaviors and interaction between organisms also have a role in the dynamics of an ecosystem.
Analyze and interpret data for how abiotic factors affect characteristics of ecosystems and the individual organisms living there. Examples of abiotic factors could include seasonal climate, latitude, elevation, or soil composition. Examples of effects of abiotic factors could include temperature regulation strategies in endothermic and exothermic animals or the effect of day/night lengths on antler growth
Use computational thinking to model and explain how the quantity of available energy is the limiting factor for population size and growth in an ecosystem. Emphasize how the laws of thermodynamics affect the amount of energy available in a trophic level and affect the ecosystem's carrying capacity. Examples of explanatory models could include an ecological energy pyramid or carrying capacity graphs.
Construct an explanation for how behaviors of and interactions between organisms affect populations and population dynamics in an ecosystem. Examples of behaviors could include migration, food storage, or grazing. Examples of interactions could include symbiotic relationships, predator/prey relationships, competition, or decomposers. Examples of population dynamics could include population size, diversity, dispersal, birth/death rate, or survivorship.
Strand WILD.2: IDENTIFYING ORGANISMS AND THEIR FUNCTION IN THEIR ENVIRONMENT CLASSIFICATION
Organisms can be identified and studied based on their physical structure and characteristics using classification tools. Classification systems change as technologies and information about species improve. Organisms can have an impact on their environment and other organisms. Invasive species affect ecosystems in ways that can be predicted and measured.
Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about organisms by using classification tools to identify and study them based on physical structures and characteristics. Emphasize a focus on different kinds of organisms-plants, animals, fungi, and lichen. Examples of classification tools could include a field guide or dichotomous key.
Construct an argument from evidence for why there are ongoing changes to classification schemes and systems. Emphasize the role of technology to provide added understanding of organisms by looking at their genetic and chemical characteristics.
Construct an explanation for how organism characteristics and behaviors impact their environment (system). Examples of characteristics that impact the environment could include roots of plants affecting how stream or river flows or the presence of a keystone species can determine populations of other species. Examples of behaviors could include migration paths, pollination preferences, or burrow/tunnel creation.
Analyze and interpret data to identify invasive species, describe how they are introduced, describe why they are successful in the environment, and predict/measure their effects on an ecosystem.
Strand WILD.3: DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS OF WILDLIFE POPULATIONS
Understanding the quantitative and qualitative data for an environment or population is critical to understanding its health. There are techniques used to collect data for quantitative and qualitative characteristics of a population. Mathematical reasoning and statistical principles are used to estimate current population sizes based on a sample and to predict how a population may change based on environmental factors. Wildlife Biologists investigate how changes to an ecosystem may affect the ecosystems dynamics.
Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about techniques used to take population measurements that determine quantity and quality of populations. Emphasize an evaluation of both quantitative and qualitative characteristics of populations. Examples of qualitative measures could include analysis of leaf color, tree core samples, dentition examination, or scat evaluation.
Use mathematical reasoning and statistical principles that use data to estimate current population sizes (scale and quantity) in an ecosystem based on a smaller sample size. Emphasize using gradelevel mathematical and statistical principles.
Use mathematical reasoning and statistical principles to model and predict how a population may change given data about current populations and environmental factors. Emphasize using grade-level mathematical and statistical principles.
Strand WILD.4: HUMAN IMPACT AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT
Human activities have an effect on ecological systems and wildlife. Humans have found some solutions to minimize or reduce the effects of their actions. Species go extinct for specific reasons and their extinction may have an impact on their environment. Humans identify and protect endangered species to limit the effects of this extinction. Ecological collapse can occur if significant changes to the environment occur. Wildlife management plans are created and executed to support a wildlife habitat and/or specific species.
Construct an argument based on evidence for the impacts (effects) humans have on ecological systems and wildlife. Emphasize a historical context for how individuals, state and local management plans, and government have identified and adjusted practice to reduce and/or reverse these impacts. Also emphasize how the level of urban development in and around the ecosystem may make management plans more challenging compared to an area where urbanization is just starting. Examples of impacts could include water and air pollution, deforestation, poaching, ocean acidification, or urbanization.
Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information for the purpose, creation, execution, and effects of a wildlife management plan. Emphasize how wildlife management plans differ between states and countries and how they have changed over time. Examples of components in the wildlife management plan could include habitats, threats, species management/conservation, monitoring plans, and/or implementation approach.
Design a solution in the form of a wildlife management, conservation, or restoration plan to support (effect) a specific habitat or a specific population. Define the problem, identify criteria and constraints, develop possible solutions using models, analyze data to make improvements from iteratively testing solutions, and optimize the solution. Emphasize basing the plan on scientific principles.
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