EcoBeaker is a tool for teaching basic ecological concepts using a spatially-explicit framework. This allows students and researchers to investigate the implications of models that take account of spatial heterogeneity in underlying habitats and how these interact with the actions and interactions between individual organisms. Such individual-based modeling methods have become an important tool in ecological research and in various problems in applied ecology. Additional references and links on such models is at Craig Reynolds Individual-Based Models Page and further information about EcoBeaker, including a demonstration version, is available at the EcoBeaker Home Page. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville acknowledges with the thanks the donation of a site license for EcoBeaker 2.0 to the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. We use EcoBeaker in our introductory general biology courses, and our general ecology courses, in addition to our graduate courses.
The below projects were developed by students in EEB507 (BASIC CONCEPTS IN ECOLOGY) during the Spring semesters of 1998 and 1999. Included below are both the Situation files that may be loaded into Ecobeaker (use your browser to save these to your computer as text files, using the "Save as" feature in your browser) as well as a laboratory procedure to use these in courses. Note that these labs HAVE NOT been tested in undergraduate classrooms, but you may find them useful as examples of the types of additional labs that can be developed in EcoBeaker.
Project Directions: Using EcoBeaker, develop a laboratory similar to those included in the Lab Guide, to illustrate an ecological concept for which no Lab exists in the Guide. The lab should be written up similar to those in the current guide, and appropriate for use in an undergraduate ecology course (not necessarily limited to general ecology). An example would be a lab on predator-prey cycles, which is not included among the current labs, or a lab to compare the results of a spatially-explicit simulation to more aggregated models such as those in Populus.