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The Hidden Kingdom: Island Biogeography with Fungi

By Erica F Kosal

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

In this activity, students will explore a dataset of fungi dispersal capabilities and colonizing success to test the predictions of island biogeography theory.

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group HHMI BioInteractive Data Explorer FMN (2020)

Version 1.0 - published on 12 Aug 2020 doi:10.25334/FGQX-7040 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International according to these terms

fungi image.jpg


Fungi are a diverse, but understudied kingdom of organisms in the classroom.  In this module, the characteristics of fungi are introduced and then using a dataset, fungi dispersal capabilities and colonization success are examined.  Fungi were introduced to different sized petri dishes that represented islands with various concentrations of resources.  The colonization success, growth and reproductive capabilities of fungi are examined against the predictions of island biogeography theory.  Students will determine which statistical tests are appropriate to use given the data and then determine what some long-term impacts of the study may be.

Student Learning Objectives

  • Understand the roles that fungi play in the environment
  • Summarize how fungi sexually reproduce and disperse their spores
  • Identify the diversity in fungi groups and in relationships with other organisms
  • Apply island biogeography theory
  • Construct graphs to illustrate predictions for an experiment
  • Analyze data to compare different treatment results
  • Calculate means and standard deviations
  • Make claims based on scientific evidence and use scientific reasoning to support the claims


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HHMI BioInteractive Data Explorer FMN (2020)

HHMI BioInteractive Data Explorer FMN (2020) group image

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