This lesson will explore how plant traits like seed dispersal (e.g., wind-dispersed, animal-dispersed, etc.), seed hardiness, and land-use history influence the assembly of weed communities following a major disturbance (e.g., construction of a BEST plot, agricultural field, or garden plot). The focus will be on volunteer species (read: weeds) most commonly found in the BEST plots across the network. The lesson begins by providing students background information on seed traits and land use legacies. After covering this information, participants will do a brief activity that involves making predictions about which plant traits make weeds made most successful. Students will spend the remaining portion of the lesson analyzing and interpreting volunteer species abundance data from the BEST plot network.
At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to:
- List and describe four different plant dispersal mechanisms
- Describe three determinants of “how a plant got there” (dispersal mechanism, seed bank longevity, effect of landscape)
- Better interpret histograms and scatterplots
Lesson Plan created by GK-12 Fellows Tyler Bassett, Dustin Kincaid, and Cara Krieg, 2012