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ERIC Number: ED562962
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 170
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-8376-9
Uncharted Waters: Bivalves of Midway Atoll and Integrating Mathematics into Biology Education
McCully, Kristin M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Santa Cruz
To protect and conserve the Earth's biodiversity and ecosystem services, it is important not only to understand and conserve species and ecosystems, but also to instill an understanding and appreciation for biodiversity and ecosystem services in the next generations of both scientists and citizens. Thus, this dissertation combines research into the ecology and identity of large bivalves at Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) with research on pedagogical strategies for integrating mathematics into undergraduate biology education. The NWHI is one of the few remaining large, mainly intact, predator-dominated coral reef ecosystems and one of the world's largest marine protected areas. Previous bivalve studies focused on the black-lipped pearl oyster, "Pinctada margaritifera," which was heavily harvested in the late 1920s, has not recovered, and is now a candidate species for restoration. First, I combined remote sensing, geographic information systems, SCUBA, and mathematical modeling to quantify the abundance, spatial distributions, and filtration capacity of large epifaunal bivalves at Midway Atoll. These bivalves are most abundant on the forereef outside the atoll, but densities are much lower than reported on other reefs, and Midway's bivalves are unlikely to affect plankton abundance and productivity inside the lagoon. Second, I used molecular techniques and phylogenetic reconstructions to identify pearl oysters ("Pinctada") from Midway Atoll as "P. maculata," a species not previously reported in Hawaii. As a small morphologically cryptic species, "P. maculata" may be a native species that has not been collected previously, a native species that has been identified incorrectly as the morphologically similar "P. radiata," or it may be a recent introduction or natural range extension from the western Pacific. Finally, I review science education literature integrating mathematics into undergraduate biology curricula, and then present and evaluate a computer inquiry module using learner-centered teaching strategies to introduce structured population (matrix) models in an upper-division ecology course. Using pre- and post-test surveys and student interviews, I concluded that students accomplished the module's learning goals: to use matrix models to assess and protect populations and to better appreciate the importance and uses of mathematics in ecology and conservation. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii