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A Walk Through the Woods

By Jerome Chave, David Coomes, Steven Jansen, Simon L. Lewis, Nathan G. Swenson, Amy E. Zanne, Gaby Lopez-gonzales, J Illic, RB Miller, MC Wiemann, Samantha Swauger1

1. DryadLab

Published on


This resource has been updated - find the current version here:

Wood density data used in this activity are derived from: Zanne AE, Lopez-Gonzalez G, Coomes DA, Ilic J, Jansen S, Lewis SL, Miller RB, Swenson NG, Wiemann MC, Chave J (2009) Data from: Towards a worldwide wood economics spectrum. Dryad Digital Repository. doi:10.5061/dryad.234

In this data driven curriculum module students will use an authentic data set from Dryad Digital Repository to explore whether evolutionary tradeoffs actually occur in plants and whether evolution has led to tissue distributions that match predictions about efficiency and safety. Students will

  1. form hypotheses about the influence of environmental variables on wood structure,
  2. test their hypotheses using wood structure data,
  3. interpret their results in light of the environmental pressures and physiological function, and
  4. revise hypotheses as necessary.

Students will be able generate a hypothesis, examine a data set, select the appropriate data to test their hypothesis, visualize these data, and evaluate their hypothesis based on the results. The module contains scaffolding, and can be customized to meet the needs of students of varying abilities.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Jerome Chave; David Coomes; Steven Jansen; Simon L. Lewis; Nathan G. Swenson; Amy E. Zanne; Gaby Lopez-gonzales; J Illic; RB Miller; MC Wiemann; Samantha Swauger (2015), "A Walk Through the Woods,"

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Atteh Akoto

University of Pittsburgh