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ERIC Number: EJ1170736
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Dec
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1539-2422
A Field Investigation into the Effects of Anthropogenic Disturbances on Biodiversity and Alien Invasions of Plant Communities
Wise, Michael J.
Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching, v43 n2 p4-14 Dec 2017
The importance of biodiversity to the health of our planet is increasingly being discussed, not only by scientists, but by the public at large. Therefore, an understanding of how human activities are affecting biodiversity is vital for informed participation in society, and thus it is an important topic for liberal arts education. Here, I present the protocol and results for a field activity that I have used in a non-majors' biology course to investigate the influence of anthropogenic disturbances on plant communities. Students surveyed plant-species abundances in five sites that had experienced a range of disturbance regimes, including protected nature trails, mowed fields, and a ruderal (waste) site. Disturbances had a negative impact on measures of species richness, evenness, and diversity; moreover, disturbances made the plant communities much more susceptible to invasion by alien species. While the approach taken in this study worked very well in my non-majors' course, it could easily be adapted and refined for use in ecology, conservation, and botany courses for biology majors.
Association of College and Biology Educators. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A