comparisons for the field component of this lesson could include
calculating the number of species in each trophic level for each habitat
and comparing measurements among additional diverse habitats.
Unfortunately, biological invasion is a global phenomenon
and continues to grow (Seebens et al., 2018), so selecting culturally appropriate examples to relate to students from other parts of
the world should be straightforward. Online databases curated by
the U.S. Geological Survey ( https://nas.er.usgs.gov/) and the Invasive Species Specialist Group ( http://www.issg.org/) can also be
used to adapt this activity to another country or region of the
United States. This activity could also be conducted in local community gardens or parks, where students could study and document the damage or presence of invasive species. This activity
could also be modified in partnership with local stakeholders
such as Border Patrol, National Park Service, and other professionals who regularly have to deal with the risks and effects of contamination and invasive species.
Finally, although we have described a lesson emphasizing the
impact of biological invasions, the activity described could be
amended such that it does not focus on any specific target a priori
and instead aims to measure the differences in grass, herb, and
shrub densities in mowed vs. unmowed areas, grazed vs. ungrazed,
burned vs. unburned, and many others. In this way, our flexible
activity can be adapted to provide place-based and experiential
learning not only about biological invasion, but also about habitat
loss, disturbance, and many other elements of global change.
This activity was hosted by Texas Tech University STEM Center for
Outreach, Research & Education (STEM CORE) and the Texas
Tech University Department of Natural Resources Management.
Thanks to Dr. Jerry Dwyer for encouragement to put this lesson
together. Mark Johnson assisted with instruction during the field
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MATTHEW A. BARNES ( email@example.com) is an Assistant
Professor in the Department of Natural Resources Management, ROBERT D.
COX ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is an Associate Professor and President’s
Excellence in Teaching Professor in the Department of Natural Resources
Management, and JESSICA SPOTT ( email@example.com) is Senior
Program Administrator of the STEM Center for Outreach, Research &
Education, all at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409.