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Topics Explored: Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, Island Biogeography, Ecological Tolerance, Invasive Species, Natural Disruptions, Adaptation, Interspecific Competition, Resource Partitioning, and Ecological Succession

This case study was specifically designed to address the learning objectives of the Unit 2 AP® Environmental Science curriculum. We like to keep a humble tone, but our teacher focus group says it is one of the best case studies we have ever made! This case study explores the interactions between native Brook Trout and introduced Brown Trout in a small headwater stream. As fisheries biologists try to save the Brook Trout from extinction, they propose a novel solution and have collected data over 5 years to enable students to evaluate the success or failure of the plan. Answer Key Included.

Case Study: Rinehart Brook (Teacher & Student Edition)

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

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
    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-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
    HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.*
    HS-ESS3-3. Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
    HS-LS4-6  Create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity.

    AP® Environmental Science Learning Objectives:

    2.1  Explain levels of biodiversity and their importance to ecosystems.
    2.2  Describe ecosystem services. Describe the results of human disruptions to ecosystem services.
    2.3  Describe island biogeography. Describe the role of island biogeography in evolution.
    2.4  Describe ecological tolerance.
    2.5  Explain how natural disruptions, both short- and long-term, impact an ecosystem.
    2.6  Describe how organisms adapt to their environment.
    2.7  Describe ecological succession. Describe the effect of ecological succession on 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.


    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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