Teaching Module: Mapping Range Shifts

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A teaching module that demonstrates the effect of temperatures on species distributions. This module by Linton et al. enables students to analyze data for a chosen species, from Natural History Collections, for its range shift due to rising temperatures. It includes the following activities: 

  1. Reading a meta analysis by Pecl et al. titled, ‘Biodiversity redistribution under climate change: Impacts on ecosystems and human well-being’.
  2. Investigate a species: Students can select a species they want to investigate. Students in the same group can pick different species.
  3. Generate Distribution Maps: Using the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), students can obtain records for the ranges of species and how these have changed over time. 
  4. Examine Latitude Over Time: Using the GBIF database. 
  5. Interpret Your Data: Analyzing the species range and range shifts over time.  

Students will learn how to review published data to show the link between rising temperatures and potential changes in species distribution. They will further learn how to use quantitative reasoning to extract data from an aggregated dataset.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. Discuss how climate change can potentially cause changes in species distribution. 
  2. Discuss the range shifts for the species of your choice in the classroom.

About the tool

Tool NameSpecies Range Over Space and Time
DisciplineBiological Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineRange Shift, Species Distribution, Biodiversity, Species
Climate Topic Climate and the Biosphere
Type of tool Teaching Module
Grade LevelUndergraduate
Developed byDebra Linton, Anna Monfils, Libby Ellwood and Molly Phillips
Hosted atQubes
Computer SkillsBasic