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How well are you teaching one of the most important biological concepts for humankind? A call to action

October 1, 2016

We represent several generations of biology educators – with teaching experiences beginning in the 1940s and continuing to the present, from elementary school to graduate-level programs. We find the vast array of subjects that biology teachers can now cover both thrilling and mind-boggling. Depending on the grade level, units exist that focus on neurobiology, forensics, DNA analysis, biotechnology, marine biology, and a host of other topics.

Although science teachers cover a potpourri of advanced topics, we must ask ourselves – no matter our biology-teaching responsibilities – how well we are teaching carrying capacity, one of the most fundamental biological concepts for our society, knowledge of which becomes more important every day. As biology teachers, most of you know that carrying capacity is defined as the maximum population an environment can sustain, given the amounts of food, habitat, and other resources available. Every environment – from your goldfish bowl to the local forest to planet Earth – can only sustain a set number (weight) of a particular species, based on available resources and space. Currently, most science classes teach …

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