Help me out r/ecology. Need ideas for ecology lab experiments in urban area for non-science majors.

Help me out r/ecology. Need ideas for ecology lab experiments in urban area for non-science majors.

Hey r/ecology,

I’m the science lab coordinator at a small urban university in a major US city. I am looking for a hands-on laboratory experiment that my non-science-major, introductory biology students could do to learn about ecology. It can be about any aspect of ecology, but this unfortunately has to be an indoors, on-site lab because one of my labs runs until 10 pm, there is no money/method for fieldtrip transportation, and this is not an area where you want to wander around in parks at night.

In addition, it needs to be an experiment that students could feasibly write a short lab report on, and I would prefer not to involve food (like a candy/tragedy of the commons activity) so as to not violate lab protocols. I am also trying to avoid just handing my students data from elsewhere and making this a data analysis lab (e.g. urban temps vs. forest temps using USGS temperature data).

I have a background in ecology/wildlife biology, and many of the good experiments I can think of or found online are field-based. I would love to do the classic graveyard population curve activity, but that is not feasible here.

Any ideas for ecology labs I could do with my students? I appreciate any thoughts you have to offer!

12 comments

90% Upvoted