Habitat Isolation Impacts Arthropod Species
This activity guides the analysis of a published scientific figure from a study that explored the relationship between species number and habitat isolation for arthropods living on desert shrubs.
The arthropod species in this figure are specialist herbivores that feed and live only on the shrubs. The figure shows the number of these species on isolated shrubs at different distances from a large, dense clump of shrubs called the continent. The results can be used to demonstrate the distance effect, a major pattern in island biogeography.
The “Educator Materials” document includes a captioned figure, background information, graph interpretation, and discussion questions. The “Student Handout” includes a captioned figure and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret data from a scientific figure.
- Explain the relationship between species number and habitat isolation (distance from a major source of species).
distance effect, island biogeography, linear regression, logarithmic scale, scatterplot, specialist, species richness, trendline
Sanchez, Brian C., and Robert R. Parmenter. “Patterns of shrub-dwelling arthropod diversity across a desert shrubland-grassland ecotone: a test of island biogeographic theory.” Journal of Arid Environments 50, 2 (2002): 247–265. https://doi.org/10.1006/jare.2001.0920.
HS-LS2-2; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
IB Biology 2016
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.D; SP3, SP5
CC5; DP2, DP3