This unit is about ecology, the study of the interaction between living species. As we discussed in the unit lesson, all species are dependent on one another—even trees need birds to eat the insects that want to devour the trees. Some trees, like oaks, need squirrels to plant their acorns. Consequently, when you study a species in the Red List for this assignment, be aware that somewhere along the line, this species is important.
A computer with Internet access
- Click on https://www.iucnredlist.org (or copy and paste the URL into your browser) to go to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website. Take a moment to peruse the website. Scroll down and look at a few of the animals and the news articles.
- Next, you will search for and select a species that falls into one of the following categories: Near Threatened (NT), Vulnerable (VU), Endangered (EN) or Critically Endangered (CR).
3. Search instructions:
- Start by clicking ‘Advanced’ (located next to the search field at the top of the page).
- At the Advanced Search page, on the left side of the screen, scroll down and click the ‘Red List Category’ dropdown menu; select CR, EN, VU and NT or LR/nt. You may select only one of these if you choose. Selecting all of them will yield more results. DO NOT select LC, DD, EX, EW or LR/cd. Doing so will result in substantial point deductions.
- After selecting the categories, click the ‘Land Regions’ dropdown menu and select ‘North America’. If you would like to select another region, feel free to do so.
- With these parameters selected, you should see many organisms to choose from. Scroll through and find one that interests you and answer the questions below.
What Information Did You Find?
Study the available information about your species and answer the following questions (in your own words—do not copy and paste from the site). When reviewing information on the site, look for “in detail” to get a more comprehensive picture (e.g., population in detail, conservation in detail, and so on).
Respond to each question in the blank area following it. Each area will expand as necessary.
- What is the common name and the scientific name of your species? (5pts.)
- What is your species’ Redlist category? (For example, endangered, critically endangered, etc.) (5 pts.)
- What kind of habitat does the species inhabit? Briefly describe the habitat/biome and what other plants and animals live in this biome. (5 pts.)
- What are 2 threats the species faces? Identify which threats are caused by humans. (5 pts.)
- Does human population growth adversely impact this species? In what way? (5 pts.)
- Consider the population of your species.
- What is the estimated population of this organism and how was it measured? (5 pts.)
- What is the population trend? (5 pts.)
- Consider the habitat for your species.
- Define ‘density dependent factor’ and provide at least one example that might affect your species. (5 pts.)
- Define ‘density independent factor’ and provide at least one example that might affect your species. (5 pts.)
- List two ways in which climate change might be affecting this creature’s habitat. (5 pts.)
- List two specific actions that can be taken to protect this species’ habitat. (5 pts.)
- List two specific actions that can be taken to protect biodiversity in general. (5 pts.)
- Is your species in an extinction vortex? Explain why or why not. (5 pts.)
Written Response Questions
- Consider what it means to be a keystone species.
- Discuss what it means for a species to be a keystone species and explain using an example. This should not be your species. (5 pts.)
- Is the species you picked on the Redlist a keystone species? Why or why not? (5 pts.)
Consider changes in the biome or food web should your species become extinct. If you cannot find a detailed answer on the Redlist website, feel free to briefly search other appropriate websites (e.g., .gov, .org, .edu) to better understand these concepts.
- Which species might benefit if your species becomes extinct, and how would that/those species benefit? (5 pts.)
- Which species could be harmed if your species becomes extinct? Explain why. (5 pts.)
- Define the terms below, provide an example of each and explain the relationship. Use your Redlist species if possible:
- Mutualism (page 352 in your textbook) (5 pts.)
- Predation (page 352 in your textbook) (5 pts.)
- Competition (page 353 in your textbook) (5 pts.)
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