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Biology Quarter 1 Significant Task
Snow Geese in Peril
The Mid-continent population of Lesser Snow geese has been experiencing amazing growth
since the beginning of record keeping in the late 1960’s. The reasons are complicated and the
results have wide reaching implications. You will be exploring and analyzing this case study in
population dynamics and management in some detail.
NGS Standards assessed:
Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect
carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among
organisms in an ecosystem.
Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species’ chances to survive and
Create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on
If typing your answers, please use an easily read color, other than black, for your answers.
Make sure that you use complete sentences!
Link to video:
Use the video and the internet to help you answer the following questions.
Draw the Snow Goose’s migratory route on the map below.
Draw a star on the map to indicate where the Snow Geese breed and nest.
b. Circle the region of the map to indicate where they spend the winter.
c. What are some of the climates/biomes the snow geese live in and pass through?
2. How is the group behavior of migration important for the survival of the lesser snow goose
3. How is the group behavior of flocking important for the survival of the lesser snow goose
4. Why is the snow goose population considered a man-made problem?
5. What are some methods/practices being done by researchers to track and monitor the snow
geese population size as well as the impact on their habitat?
6. How are the snow geese initiating the process of secondary succession in the tundra?
7. List 6 specific limiting factors (something that could limit the population’s growth) that you
noticed in the program or found in your research. Also label each limiting factor as either
density-dependent or density-independent.
8.What are some consequences to the snow goose population if they exceed the carrying capacity
of their habitat.
9.List and explain the effects that snow geese have on 3 other populations.
10. Why do you think the population is still increasing, even with the damage to the nesting
11. Suppose every bird in a population of 4,000 snow geese burns an average of 800 kilocalories
per day. How many kilocalories must be available at the trophic level of their food sources? Fill
in the energy pyramid below with your answers.
12. The snow goose population estimates from 1970 – present have been shared with you In
Google drive, in the ecology folder. Make a population time graph of this population by
highlighting the population numbers column and selecting Insert and choosing Chart. Label the
axis and give the graph a title. Insert the graph below.
Summarize what you see happening to the population as shown by your graph.
b. Based on this data, can you determine a carrying capacity for the snow goose
habitat? If so what do you estimate it to be?
13. If you were the person who was put in charge of trying to control this population, what would
you do to make sure the geese didn’t ruin their nesting habitat? Provide a detailed description of
your management plan including materials, time, and procedure.