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Topics Explored: Biomes, Climate Change, Ecosystems, Conservation of Biodiversity

This case study explores the complex interactions of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) with the ecosystem and humans, their unique adaptations to their environment, migratory behaviors, predator/prey relationships, and human impacts on their habitat. Answer key included.

Case Study: Caribou (Teacher & Student Edition)

  • ZIP file containing 2 PDF files 
    (1 Teacher Edition and 1 Student Edition)

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
    HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
    HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
    HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
    HS-ESS3-5. Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.

    AP® Environmental Science Learning Objectives:
    1.2 Describe the global distribution and principal environmental aspects of terrestrical biomes. 
    1.11 Describe food chains and food webs, and their constituent members by trophic level.
    2.5 Explain how natural disruptions, both short- and long-term, impact an ecosystem.
    2.6 Describe how organisms adapt to their environment. 
    6.4 Identify where natural energy resources occur.
    6.5 Describe the use and methods of fossil fuels in power generation.
    9.5 Explain how changes in climate, both short- and long-term, impact ecosystems.

    AP® Environmental Science Practices:
    1: Explain environmental concepts, processes, and models presented in written format. 
    2: Analyze visual representations of environmental concepts and processes. 
    3: Analyze sources of information about environmental issues. 
    4: Analyze research studies that test environmental principles. 
    5: Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, and graphs.
    6: Apply quantitative methods to address environmental concepts.
    7: Propose and justify solutions to environmental problems.

    IB Environmental Systems Learning Objectives:
    3.2.1 Explain the concept of resources in terms of natural income.
    3.2.4 Discuss the view that the environment can have its own intrinsic value. 
    3.5.2 Compare and contrast the efficiency of terrestrial and aquatic food production systems.
    4.2.1 Identify factors thaatead to loss of diversity.
    4.3.1 State the arguments for preserving species and habitats.
    4.3.3 State and explain the criteria used to design protected areas.
    6.1.4 Discuss the feedback mechanisms that would be associated with an increase in mean global temperature. 


    AP® is a registered trademark registered by the College Board®. IB® is a trademark registered by the International Baccalaureate Organization®. This work/product/service has been developed independently from and is not endorsed by the College Board® or the International Baccalaureate Organization®. ​​​​​​​

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