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Exploring the population dynamics of wintering bald eagles through long-term data

Author(s): Emily Dangremond1, Julie Beckstead2, Alexandra Lagasse2, Scott Robinson3

1. Roosevelt University 2. Gonzaga University 3. Wildlife Biologist, Retired, Bureau of Land Management Coeur d'Alene Field Office Coeur d'Alene

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Module included in Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) Volume 7 Students will identify dependent and independent variables, create graphs of dependent variables plotted against independent variables and evaluate long-term eagle...

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Version 1.0.0 - published on 14 May 2018 doi:10.25334/Q4H99H - cite this

Adapted from: Exploring the population dynamics of wintering bald eagles through long-term data v 1.0


How does a bald eagle population change over time at a winter migratory stopover and which factors influence its abundance?

This activity has two different aspects to the learning style:

  • Guided Approach: Students will generate questions abut bald eagle numbers influenced by weather and food availability.  Students will then use graphing software (JMP of Excel) to compile the data in a graphical form to answer their questions.
  • Open-Ended Approach: Students will generate their own hypothesis of interest from the larger bald eagle data set.  This approach is encouraged for upper division ecology students in conservation biology, wildlife management, or population ecology classes.

I implemented this module by using the guided approach over two class periods in an upper division Ecology lab. I had to make some additional modifications along the way because students needed clarification on how to make the graphs and needed guidance in developing questions that could be answered with the data available.

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