Friday, April 3, 2009
"LORD OF THE ANTS"
On Friday I showed my classes parts of a Nova documentary on one of my scientific heroes, Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson. This documentary was just released in DVD a few weeks ago after airing on PBS last year. There is a web site supporting this episode, available here.
Students who wish to see the entire documentary can view it online for free at Hulu.com, here. I've also embedded it, above.
Wilson's interests touch on some of the important themes we've been covering in this course the last few weeks, including the following important State Standards:
ECOLOGY (6) Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing effects. As a basis for understanding this concept, students know:
a. biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms, and is affected by alterations of habitats.
b. how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from changes in climate, human activity, introduction of non-native species, or changes in population size.
c. how fluctuations in population size in an ecosystem are determined by the relative rates of birth, immigration, emigration, and death.
e. a vital part of an ecosystem is the stability of its producers and decomposers.
I encourage my students to learn more about Wilson's work, and the work of other scientists who are working to preserve natural ecosystems.