BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species
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BioBlitz Educator Resource: Identifying Species

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PowerPoint presentation on a science skill used to collect data in biodiversity and conservation research.

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  • If students are unfamiliar with salamanders, explain that they are amphibians (not lizards, which are reptiles!).
  • Here are some “big picture” questions to engage students in the topic.
  • Explain that this is a complicated question in biology, with no single answer. Ask students why species identification is important to studying biodiversity. Once identified, organisms can be monitored over time to track population patterns. Scientists also study associated species to understand the relationship between species in ecosystems.
  • Discuss with students. Many species are difficult to find or observe. Many species can not be told apart without DNA analysis and expert investigation.
  • Discuss with students. Millions of species live on Earth. Some have a limited distribution. Optional: Watch as scientists discover a new species of elephant shrew. For more on “A New Shrew,” see Identifying Species Educator’s Resource, p. 4, or go to nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz.
  • Ask students to share examples of threats. Possible answers: habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, exotic species.Ask students why species diversity is an indicator of environmental health. Answer: An ecosystem needs to be rich in resources to support a large variety of plants and animals.
  • For more information about the ATBI, see Discovering Life in America, www.dlia.org/atbi.
  • Optional: Watch as scientists discover a new species of slime mold. Fore more on “On Top of Great Smoky,” see Identifying Species Educator’s Resource, p. 4, or go to nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz.
  • While many species can be identified by their external characteristics or features, some species are so similar they can only be identified through DNA analysis or an examination of internal structures.
  • Explain that scientists and naturalists apply their own knowledge and use other resources such as field guides, species keys, and species experts to identify specimens. Distribute the Purchase Knob Salamander Key, p. 4 to students. They can use this key to identify these species. Answer: Grynophilus or Spring salmander (L); Santeetlah salamander (R).
  • Review with students.Optional: Point out that an organism can have many common names, depending on location, which can often make it difficult to determine which specific organism is being identified. However, an organism has only one scientific name (giving its genus and species). Using the scientific name, researchers can identify a specific organism anywhere in the world, in any language.
  • If students are unfamiliar with salamanders, explain that they are amphibians (not lizards, which are reptiles!).
  • ×