Habitat Size 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 size 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 shrubs of different sizes, both before and after fumigation. The results can be used to demonstrate the species-area relationship, a major pattern in island biogeography, and the fact that this relationship returns even after a major disturbance.
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 size or area.
equilibrium, fumigation experiment, island biogeography, linear regression, logarithmic scale, scatterplot, specialist, species richness, species-area relationship, 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.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
AP Biology 2019
IB Biology 2016
AP Environmental Science 2020
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.D, ERT-2.G; SP3, SP5
IB Environmental Systems and Societies 2017
Common Core 2010
Vision and Change 2009
CC5; DP2, DP3