Classroom Resources: Dig Deeper

By Douglas Fox
July-September 2006 (Vol. 7, No. 3)

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Discussion Questions

  1. How can paleoecological information be used to understand the causes of ecological problems and their possible solutions?
  2. From a practical perspective, why might it be useful to understand pre-human conditions for an ecosystem that includes information on natural patterns of variation?
  3. If paleoecological studies have the potential to change our views about restoration strategies, what are the arguments for and against requiring all restoration plans to include paleoecological analyses of past ecosystem conditions and processes?
  4. What does the article indicate about the potential reliability of written and oral human history?  What implications does this have for incorporating indigenous knowledge into restoration plans?

Websites for Further Information

Paleoecology and Conservation in the News

Peer-reviewed Literature

  • Chamberlain CP, Waldbauer JR, Fox-Dobbs K, et al. 2005.  “Pleistocene to recent dietary shifts in California condors,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102 (46): 16707-16711.
  • Rodriguez CA, Flessa KW, Dettman DL.  2001.  “Effects of upstream diversion of Colorado River water on the estuarine bivalve mollusc Mulinia coloradoensis,”  Conservation Biology 15 (1): 249-258.

Key Concepts

  • Paleoecology
  • Food webs
  • Eutrophication
  • Restoration
  • Habitat modification
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