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Lizard cold tolerance and extreme weather events: a scientist spotlight featuring Dr. Shane Campbell-Staton

Author(s): Jennifer Apple

SUNY Geneseo

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Summary:
Students interpret experimental and observational data about patterns in cold tolerance in the green anole. They reflect on the experience and identity of the lead researcher based on a video presentation about the study and interview with the…

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Students interpret experimental and observational data about patterns in cold tolerance in the green anole. They reflect on the experience and identity of the lead researcher based on a video presentation about the study and interview with the author.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 26 Jul 2021 doi:10.25334/JP8C-JP93 - cite this

Description

The main purpose of this lesson is to explore how organisms adjust to variation in their environment and can respond to extreme environmental changes. Students examine data on cold tolerance in the green anole, a tropical species that colonized the southeastern US from Cuba, and thus faces wide variation in winter temperatures in different parts of its current range. Dr. Shane Campbell-Staton documented that variation among populations in cold tolerance has a genetic basis, while also showing that these lizards have the capacity to acclimate to cold temperatures. In this lesson, students interpret graphs and interpret experimental data in an online quiz or clicker question format, followed by reading a 3-page Science paper in which Dr. Campbell-Staton demonstrates rapid selection for increased cold tolerance in southern populations of green anoles in response to the extreme winter storm events associated with the 2014 polar vortex. Students work in groups to answer questions about the study. Context for this research is provided by a short video presentation and podcast by Dr. Campbell-Staton, which helps make the paper more approachable for students with limited experience with the primary literature. Students also view an interview with Dr. Campbell-Staton who is Black, and respond to some questions about the experiences and identity of this scientist. Part of this lesson was inspired by and adapted from the HHMI Biointeractive data point activity addressing some of the same findings (Kuhn 2019).

Quantitative learning objectives:

  1. Interpret informative graphs and other data visualizations
  2. Interpret the biological meaning of quantitative results
  3. Interpret, summarize, and evaluate evidence in primary literature
  4. Relate conclusions to original hypothesis, consider alternative hypotheses, and suggest future research directions based on findings

Content learning objectives:

  1. Apply knowledge of ecological processes and develop models to explain ecological patterns and make predictions
  2. Apply evolutionary theory to help explain ecological patterns

Social justice and/or diversity/equity/inclusion learning objectives:

  1. Identify and describe how systemic factors (e.g., socioeconomic, political) affect how and by whom science is conducted
  2. Adopt a more nonstereotypical description of who can be a scientist and increase ability to relate to scientists

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