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ERIC Number: EJ756014
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 7
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-1059-9053
A Method to Teach Age-Specific Demography with Field Grown Rapid Cycling "Brassica rapa" (Wisconsin Fast Plants)
Kelly, Martin G.; Terrana, Sebastian
Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education, v33 p40-46 2004
In this paper, we demonstrate that rapid cycling "Brassica rapa" (Wisconsin Fast Plants) can be used in inquiry-based, student ecological fieldwork. We are the first to describe age-specific survival for field-grown Fast Plants and identify life history traits associated with individual survival. This experiment can be adapted by educators as a method to teach age-specific demography or ecology with Fast Plants. Four genotypes of Fast Plants (dwarf, elongated internode, standard, and rosette) were used. Fast Plants were grown in a "common garden" experiment. The site was surveyed every day to monitor emergence, and every 2 days to record mortality. Seven life-history traits were measured: days to emergence, emergence date, death date, life span, flowering date, juvenile days, and adult days. Most seedlings emerged 5 to 6 days after sowing and plants lived an average of 30 days. Flowering began about 17 days after seedling emergence. Life table analysis showed that Fast Plants have Type I age-specific survivorship. Analysis of variance showed that these four genotypes did not differ for any of the life-history traits measured. However, correlation analysis revealed that life span was negatively related to emergence date, and flowering date was positively related with emergence date. We suggest that ecologists extend the use of Fast Plants to include student fieldwork. Through inquiry based work, students can construct a personal understanding about the process, practice, and outcomes of science. Students will also gain understanding about the limits of numerical data, their analysis, and their interpretation. (Contains 3 tables and 3 figures.)
American Society of Agronomy. 677 South Segoe Road, Madison, WI 53711. Tel: 608-273-8080; Fax: 608-273-2021; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A