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1 April 2011 Teaching Principles of Experimental Design While Testing Optimal Foraging Theory
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Abstract

We describe a simple field study that we have found useful in introducing students to experimental design. Students manipulate the nutritive gain available from flowers to test the hypothesis that the foraging behavior of nectarivorous insects maximizes energy gain rate. They add sucrose solution to some flowers and water to others; additional flowers are left unmanipulated. Visit durations of foraging butterflies are then measured to test the prediction that individuals will forage longer at patches that offer higher energy gains. The project encourages students to consider how a study's design influences the results obtained, and helps to develop scientific reasoning skills.

© 2011 by National Association of Biology Teachers. All rights reserved. Request permission to photocopy or reproduce article content at the University of California Press's Rights and Permissions Web site at www.ucpressjournals.com/reprintinfo.asp.
P. L. Schwagmeyer and Stephanie A. Strickler "Teaching Principles of Experimental Design While Testing Optimal Foraging Theory," The American Biology Teacher 73(4), 238-241, (1 April 2011). https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2011.73.4.10
Published: 1 April 2011
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