History of Science: Plant Succession

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Duration:
11 minutes, 36 seconds

In the 1890s the dunes now protected as Indiana Dunes National Park hosted the first research on plant succession. That research helped establish ecology as a science, made succession an enduring concept, and explains why you mow your lawn.

 

INTRODUCTION

The above National Park Service video is by Robert Boyd and Tim Watkins featuring botanist, Noel Pavlovic, fire monitor, Mary Fisher-Dunham and park superintendent, Paul Labovitz.

The length is 11 minutes and 36 seconds. The place is West Beach. The subject if park succession. This video teaches about scientific value and preservation. The dunes got preserved due to their scientific value.

Before showing the video and asking the accompanying questions, please go over the following terms with your students. These words are used in the video. Knowing the meaning of these words beforehand will heighten the learning potential.

For educators looking for the answer sheet, please e-mail our education specialist.

 

KNOW THESE VOCABULARY WORDS

1. rejuvenation - the act or process of making something young or energetic again

2. dynamics - the forces which stimulate growth, development, or change within a system

3. USGS - United States Geological Survey - A scientific agency studies natural resources.

4. stabilized - make or become unlikely to change, fail, or decline

5. rhizomes - a continuously growing horizontal underground stem

6. macabre - disturbing because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury

7. ecologist - a student of the study of organisms to one another and to their habitat

8. climax vegetation - a community of plants and animals that have reached a steady state

9. adaptation – a process by which a species becomes better suited to its environment

10. heterogeneity - being not the same is qualities of shape, size, color, weight, texture

 

QUESTIONS, OBSERVATIONS, DISCUSSIONS, WRITING:

1. Find the following in the movie and check them off when you do: Make your best guess if you do not know the species.

COLLEGE STUDENT
SCIENTIST OF NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
PLANT ECOLOGIST
FIRE ECOLOGIST
PURPLE LUPINE
REDSTART WARBLER
PARK SUPERINTENDENT


2. Put in order of occurrence as you walk from younger to older dunes:
MARRAM GRASS
BASSWOOD
LITTLE BLUESTEM GRASS
PUCCOON
RED AND BLACK OAKS
WITCH HAZEL
JACK PINE


3. Why does succession occur?


4. Give examples of succession.


5. When did Cowles come to the dunes and why did he come?


6. What 2 words describe succession?


7. Like a book with chapters, name the stages of succession starting with chapter one.


8. What does stabilizing the dune mean?


9. What is soil?


10. What is enriching its soil mean?


11. Describe the circle of life.

12. What are the plants doing in the process of succession?


13. What is organic matter?


14. Could you contribute organic matter to the soil?

Well yes, you can. How?

15. How have the dunes changed since Cowles time a hundred years ago?

16. Where does the soil get darker or dark grey? Why?

17. If succession is the driver to change, what does disturbance do?


18. Can succession go backwards? Well, yes it can of course, but how and why?


19. How does succession affect our daily lives?


20. Building off how succession most certainly does affect our daily lives, give an example or two of management tools used to control succession?


21. What do ecologists do? Can you be an ecologist?

Last updated: August 18, 2020

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1100 North Mineral Springs Road
Porter, IN 46304

Phone:

(219) 395-1882
Indiana Dunes Visitor Center phone number.

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