Temperature and precipitation as limiting factors in ecosystems

This classroom activity is aimed at an understanding of different ecosystems by understanding the influence of temperature and precipitation. Students correlate graphs of vegetation vigor with those of temperature and precipitation data for four diverse ecosystems, ranging from near-equatorial to polar, and spanning both hemispheres to determine which climatic factor is limiting growth.

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GLOBE Project

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Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Activity could be enhanced if educator indicates that seasonal patterns may be changing somewhat and builds some connections towards an understanding of global climate change.

The recognition that temperature can be an indicator of either energy that plants can use to capture carbon or energy plants cannot use could be included when teaching the activity.