Black-throated blue warblers have been the focus of long-term studies since 1986 at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire.
Their populations are cyclical, with many young produced in years where there is lots of food, primarily caterpillars, and few nest predators (squirrels and chipmunks).
A web-based teaching module has been developed based upon this research. Students can explore fundamental concepts in population ecology through extensive text, pictures, videos, and graphs.
This article summarizes the information in this publication:
HR Sofaer, KM Langin, J Wilson, and TS Sillett. 2011. Demography of songbird populations in a rapidly changing world: the importance of long-term studies. American Biology Teacher 73(5): 285-287
A major goal of ecological research is to understand how ecological factors, such as food and predator abundance, interact to shape birth and death rates. Case studies describing this research can provide students with an understanding of how ecological conditions affect demographic rates, as well as an opportunity to explore and interpret real data. We have developed a Web-based teaching module based on a long-term study of a migratory songbird, the black-throated blue warbler (Dendroica caerulescens). The website describes this species and the ecological factors that affect its population growth and provides three exercises developed to span a range of student levels.
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