Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Diversity, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210
THE ECOLOGICAL QUESTION
Has the timing of spring leaf out shifted over more than a century of global warming and how will that affect the biospheric carbon sink?
FOUR DIMENSIONAL ECOLOGY EDUCATION (4DEE) FRAMEWORK
- Core Ecological Concepts:
- Abiotic and biotic features of the environment
- Energy flow - productivity
- Global climate change
- Ecology Practices:
- Quantitative reasoning and computational thinking
- Data skills – data visualization
- Computer skills: spreadsheets
- Working collaboratively
- Human-Environment Interactions:
- Human accelerated environmental change
- Global climate change
- Cross-cutting Themes:
- Pathways & Transformations of Matter and energy
- Spatial & Temporal
- Stability & Change
WHAT STUDENTS DO
- Use Excel to create line graphs plotting changes in mean monthly temperature over 115 years.
- Use regression analysis paired with their temperature change figures to calculate both rates of temperature increase and total temperature increase.
- Analyze correlation coefficients to determine likely temperature drivers of spring leaf phenology.
- Hypothesize different temperature sensitivity strategies based on the ecological trade-offs of strong vs. weak phenological responsiveness to temperature.
- Use Excel to create bar graphs depicting mean historic vs. contemporary timing of budburst for four focal species.
- Use Excel to perform t-tests to determine if spring leaf out time is significantly different between historic and contemporary observation periods.
- Predict how their observed changes in spring leaf out would affect carbon storage.
Think-pair-share, cooperative learning, brainstorming, informal groupwork
A worksheet that students complete with line graphs, trendlines, calculated rates of temperature change and total temperature change, bar graphs, t-tests, responses to short-answer questions
Roughly 2.5 hours
This investigation has been used in an introductory majors Biology class focused on evolution, ecology, and organismal biology. Most of the students are freshman and sophomores although there are some juniors and seniors.
Calinger, K, and Curtis, P. 2023. A century of climate warming results in growing season extension: Delayed autumn leaf phenology in north central North America. PLoS ONE 18:e0282635. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0282635
Description of Resource Files:
- Graphing and Statistic Guide.docx: Graphing and statistics guide for students.
- Climate Change Pre-lab.docx: Pre-lab assignment for students.
- Student pre-lab data.xlsx: Student data for pre-lab assignment.
- Faculty pre-lab data.xlsx: Faculty data for pre-lab assignment.
- Student temperature data.xlsx: Student temperature data.
- Faculty temperature data.xlsx: Faculty temperature data.
- Student historic vs modern budburst data.xlsx: Student budburst data.
- Faculty historic vs modern budburst data.xlsx: Faculty budburst data.
I developed this data set independently using my own published work. This resource was developed to provide students with a laboratory activity to complement our lecture-based discussions of global warming. I had no funding to support this work. We acknowledge Jon Horn and Maggie Wetzel for their helpful comments and suggestions during the development of this resource.
Kellen Calinger. August 2023. Investigating the Biospheric Carbon Pool in North Central North America. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, Vol. 19: Practice #5. https://tiee.esa.org/vol/v19/issues/data_sets/calinger/abstract.html