Online Research in Biology

These curricular resources aim to help faculty engage undergraduate students in using online data to investigate and learn about selected topics in bird biology. These resources were developed through an award from the National Science Foundation. For information about implementing, citing, or reproducing them, please contact bird-courses@cornell.edu.

 

Investigations

Birds in Human Landscapes

Authors: Yula Kapetanakos, Benjamin Zuckerberg

Summary:
This investigation focuses on examining the impacts that humans may be having on a select group of bird species. The ultimate goal is to evaluate the connections between bird behavior, habitat needs, and factors involved in shifting population trends.

Downloads
Instructor Guide: Birds In Human Landscapes (PDF)
Breeding  Bird Atlas Tutorial (PDF)

 

Student Sheets:
Birds In Human Landscapes (PDF)
Breeding Bird Atlas of New York State (PDF)

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Species Concepts in Birds

Authors: Emily R. Cramer, Kelly J. Wessell, Colleen M. McLinn

 

Summary:
This investigation uses multimedia such as bird songs and their associated visualizations as the raw material to initiate a discussion of traits that can be used to define a species, and the conservation implications of the species definitions we choose.
Downloads
Instructor Guide: Species Concepts (PDF)
Presentation-Species Concepts (PPT)
Presentation-Macaulay Library-Raven Viewer (PPT)

 

Student Sheets:
Species Concepts (PDF)
Quick Guide-Raven Viewer (PDF)
Tutorial-Macaulay Library (PDF)

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Sound Trees

Author: Sarah R. Stockwell

 

Summary:
Students learn how spectrograms represent sound variation, and then examine the sounds of owls for traits that might be useful in determining evolutionary relationships. They compare these traits to morphological ones (appearance and plumage), ultimately coming up with their own evolutionary hypotheses to test using multimedia from the Macaulay Library.

 

Downloads
Instructor Guide: Sound Trees (PDF)
Species Key-Owls In Trees (PDF)
Owl Molecular Phylogeny (PDF)
Presentation-Macaulay Library-Raven Viewer (PPT)

 

Student Sheets: 
Owls In Trees (PDF)
Morphological Traits-Owls In Trees (PDF)
Owl Spectrograms (PDF)
Tutorial-Macaulay Library (PDF)
Quick Guide-Raven Viewer (PDF)
Drawing Evolutionary Trees (PDF)

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Ornamentation in Birds

Author: Elise D. Ferree

 

Summary:
Students use video specimens from the Macaulay Library to investigate elaborate traits of plumage or behavior that can be found in some bird species due to sexual dimorphism. They develop systems for scoring the extent of variation, and frame hypotheses to investigate using Macaulay Library and the Birds of North America Online.

 

Downloads
Instructor Guide: Ornamentation In Birds (PDF)
Presentation-Macaulay Library-Raven Viewer (PPT)
Presentation-Birds of North America (PPT)

 

Student Sheets:
Ornamentation In Birds (PDF)
Tutorial-Macaulay Library (PDF)
Hypothesis Testing Flowchart (PDF)

 

Resources for Teaching with Bird Data (PDF)

 

 

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0919686. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.