This unit provides students with a methodology for how to measure and appreciate biodiversity through the study of taxonomy. Biodiversity is an important issue for today's society with government review of the Endangered Species Act and debate over Kyoto Protocol. Biodiversity affects us on many different levels. On the local level reduced biodiversity increases our risk to vector-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, while increased biodiversity leads to ecosystem stability
Students will be introduced to common plant and animal phyla and the roles they play in an ecosystem. Students will also collect and quantify species from the local neighborhood in order to document the overall biodiversity of the local ecosystem. This unit is primarily designed for the teachers of AP Biology, although teachers at other levels are encouraged to modify this unit for their own purposes. It requires minimal equipment and the chance to go outside to hunt the wild exotica of your school backyard.
(Developed for AP Biology, grade 12; recommended for High School, grades 10-12)