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Stability and Change in Biological Communities

This analysis and discussion activity engages students in understanding how biological communities remain stable and how they change during ecological succession.

Students analyze several types of research evidence, including (1) repeated observations of a biological community to assess stability or change over time, (2) analyses of dated fossils in a peat bog, and (3) analyses of how mutualism, competition and trophic relationships contribute to stability or change in biological communities.

Students use this evidence to understand the causes of stability and succession in a variety of habitats, including a tropical forest, a new volcanic island, abandoned farm fields, and ponds. Students also analyze the effects of climate and non-native invasive plants.

The Student Handout is available in the first two attached files and as a Google doc designed for use in online instruction. The Teacher Notes, available in the third and fourth attached files, provide background information and instructional suggestion and explain how this activity is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. A PowerPoint with illustrations of each habitat is available in the last attachment.

ecological succession SH.docx3.81 MB
ecological succession SH.pdf1.11 MB
ecological succession TN.docx499.05 KB
ecological succession TN.pdf703.42 KB
ecological succession PowerPoint.pptx13.19 MB


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