Skip to Content

The Ecology of Opuntia Fragilis (Nuttall) Haworth


Author(s)

Eric Ribbens
Department of Biological Sciences
Western Illinois University
E-Ribbens@wiu.edu

Abstract

This interrupted case is based on the author's own personal research on the fragile prickly pear cactus in Stearns County, Minnesota. The data described is a product of the work of several undergraduate students at St. Johns University, which partially funded this research. By simulating the process of doing science through its progressive disclosure format, the case encourages students to think about plant population ecology from an actual research perspective. The case can be used in an introductory biology or botany course, and with slight modifications in an upper-level plant ecology course.


Objectives

  • To explore aspects of basic plant population ecology.
  • To think about research design.
  • To simulate the process of doing science.

Keywords

Prickly pear cactus; Opuntia fragilis; plant populations; threatened plant species; endangered species; experimental design; Thomas Nuttall; Minnesota

Topical Areas

Scientific method

Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Interrupted

Language

English

Subject Headings

Botany / Plant Science  |   Ecology  |  


Date Posted

11/03/05

Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Comments


Eric Ribbens
e-ribbens@wiu.edu
Biology Department
Western Illinois University
Macomb IL
10/17/2013
Addendum from the Author:

We now know that a form of self-incompatibilty prevents sexual reproduction in the Midwest. Many plants have a mechanism to recognize pollen that is produced by itself. These self-pollen grains are then inhibited to prevent them from fertilizing any of the eggs. In effect, these plants have a mechanism to prevent having sex with themselves. In the Midwest, this mechanism inhibits ALL pollen from growing. Probably the genetic marker that is used has lost its genetic variability.

-----------------------------