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A Struggle for Power in China: The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam in China is one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams, providing energy for millions of people. However, the dam's construction forever altered the Yangtze River ecosystem and the lives of local residents. In this case study, s...

Caribou Conservation Conundrum
As a Government of Canada biologist, "Rachael Mercer" faces the task of advising the Environment Minister on whether a proposed wolf cull should be carried out to conserve threatened caribou populations in the Northern Alberta oilsands region. The Albe...

Cat vs. Bird: Another Look at Complexity in Conservation
This clicker case is an adaptation of a case by Loren Byrne that told the true story of a Texas man who killed a cat that was killing piping plovers (see "Complexity in Conservation: The Legal and Ethical Case of a Bird-Eating Cat and its Human Killer,...

Cauldron of Democracy
This case study explores the controversy surrounding Yellowstone bison (Bison bison) and the relationship between wildlife management and pluralist democracy. In the late 1960s Yellowstone National Park suspended the policy of strictly managin...

Community-Based Management and Conservation in Africa
Niko lives in Namibia and is about to attend a community meeting at which the fate of his family's re-settlement will be decided. He is unsure as to what would be best for his family; his father does not want to move while his brother is optimistic tha...

Complexity in Conservation
Conservation biology focuses on the scientific study and practice of preventing biodiversity loss. Many complex sociocultural factors affect the success of conservation. This case study presents the true story of a Texas man who killed a cat that was k...

Counting Sheep
In this case study, students hear arguments on both sides of a debate over wildlife management and must integrate ethical and scientific perspectives to formulate their own opinions. The case as written is most appropriate for an environmental ethics o...

Do Corridors Have Value in Conservation?
This case study discusses conservation corridors as a means to reduce the problems of population size and isolation in a fragmented habitat. In an interrupted format, students learn what a corridor is, consider how nature preserves and corridors functi...

Does the Matrix Matter?
In this case study, students apply principles of landscape ecology, experimental design, and data interpretation to examine alternative explanations for how birds respond to forest fragmentation and landscape matrix. Using an interrupted format, the ca...

Hunting the Black Rhino
This case study was developed to teach students the importance of understanding the behavior of wildlife, explore the difficulty in making management decisions when the public is invested in a species, and to help students develop critical thinking and...

Killing Coyote
In this interrupted case study, students view a documentary film about a coyote hunting contest and then assume the role of various stakeholders in coyote management in the western United States to explore issues associated with wildlife management. As...

Making It Fit: Using Excel to Analyze Biological Systems
In this case, students read about a biologist who needs to determine how to analyze age-at-length data, a common situation in fisheries biology. The fictional Dr. Latimer is tasked with fitting non-linear models to the data, and the case develops as he...

Mathematics in Conservation
This interrupted case study teaches probability theory and transmission genetics through their application to the conservation of the endangered Florida panther. An endangered population is unlikely to survive simply due to its small population size. B...

Mini Cases on Choosing Appropriate Statistical Tests for Ecological Data
This set of mini cases on the ecology of eastern cottontail rabbits is designed to give students practical experience using statistics in a scientific context. Given a dataset and experimental design, groups of students are asked to play the part of a ...

No Bats in the Belfry
This interrupted case study investigates the geographic origin of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). WNS is a devastating fungal disease caused by the fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (formerly know...

One Whale or Two or … ?
This case study focuses on the intersection of defining a scientific species and defining a legal species. The compelling story of Lolita, an orca whale in captivity, is used to highlight the legal significance of species declaration. Students will wor...

Rabbit Calicivirus Disease - Magic Bullet or Pandora's Box?
The characters in this dilemma case, representing the scientific community and government, must make a decision about whether or not to release a virulent pathogen into the environment in order to control the rapidly expanding population of European ra...

Restoring Resilience: Changing the Landscape Legacy in Patagonia
Sheep ranching has destroyed habitat and decimated species in many areas of the world, but in Patagonia declining wool prices provide an opportunity to turn the tide. This case study places students in the role of advisor to an international NGO that h...

Sealing the Deal
This case study uses a PowerPoint-driven approach combined with role-playing to explore issues surrounding the grey seal population off the coast of New England, specifically Chatham, Massachusetts. After gathering information, the students take the pa...

Seeing the Forest for the Trees
This case study has for its central theme the importance of tree size in both ecology and natural resource management and is designed to introduce components of forest management and policy, the importance of ecological relationships, and the challenge...

Si el Norte Fuera el Sur
In this case study, students are given the task of developing a recovery plan to protect a recently discovered population of Central American squirrel monkeys on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. In the process they must determine whether the population...

The Bear Facts
In this decision case, students consider the pros and cons of reintroducing grizzly bears into the northwestern United States as they learn about natural resource policy and the wildlife management decision-making process. Students consider four differ...

The Big Bad Wolf or Symbol of the American Wilderness?
Students enrolled in natural resource programs typically have classroom experience in science-based curricula with little exposure as to how to apply that science to real-life issues. This case study was designed to introduce students to understanding ...

The Dangers of Deicing
Loss of species richness is often due to anthropogenic activity. The global decline of amphibians is one such example. This case study examines the impact of road deicing agents on amphibians living near bridges and roads treated heavily with salt duri...

The Dilution Effect
In this case study students are provided with information for piecing together the story of how forest fragmentation and biodiversity loss can affect the risk of Lyme disease transmission to humans. The case introduces the dilution effect, a widely acc...

The Effects of Coyote Removal in Texas
This interrupted case study presents published data on the effect of coyote removal in Texas. It was designed to help students in introductory level biology courses understand trophic level relationships and the role of keystone species. Students inter...

The Mystery of the Missing Martens
This interrupted case study introduces basic modeling to investigate a decline in an American marten population on an island in Southeast Alaska. Two summer field technicians working on a long-term field ecology project for one of their professors noti...

The Perilous Plight of the Pika
This interrupted case study addresses several concepts related to climate change and its effect on the American pika. Often called an indicator species for climate change, the pika has a unique set of variables specific to its environment. Factors such...

The Return of Canis lupus?
Although gray wolves once freely roamed North America, the gradual loss of their habitat from westward expansion and extermination programs led to their demise in the early 20th century. Many argue that predators such as wolves benefit a functioning ec...

Too Many Deer!
A town meeting is the setting for this case study in which students explore the topics of overpopulation, bioethics, and management of urban wildlife. The case makes use of role playing, small group discussion, interrupted case techniques, and critical...

Why Did the Snake Cross the Road?
Although Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium is a fundamental part of introductory biology classes, students often have difficulty understanding its implications. This interrupted case study places students in the role of small teams who are conducting prelimin...