This video explains the importance of animals like spider monkeys for seed dispersal in forests and how habitat fragmentation and deforestation are disrupting this symbiotic process.
Two scientists explain their fieldwork tracking spider monkeys in a tropical forest of Colombia, discuss the seed dispersal process, and highlight their work distributing and planting seeds to restore the trees in this habitat.
This is a great way to introduce students to the importance of protected habitat for ecosystems to function and to maintain biodiversity.
The video provides a first-hand account of what scientific fieldwork entails.
The video is also available in Spanish and a transcript is provided.
Before watching the video, students should be familiar with terms like habitat and reforestation.
The resource provides more curriculum connections at the bottom of the page.
As a follow-up activity, have students research other animals that contribute to seed dispersal in forests.
Have students consider the implications of reduced seed dispersal due to habitat fragmentation for climate change and then discuss in pairs.
As an extension, have students use this lesson to learn more about the different causes of deforestation and brainstorm solutions that will protect forest habitat and reduce carbon in the atmosphere.
AP or IB biology classes can link this video to lessons about ecosystems, habitat loss, species loss, symbiotic relationships, and plant reproduction strategies.
This video discusses deforestation and fragmentation in Columbia and how that affects animal’s habitats, especially the spider monkey. The video also discusses how spider monkeys assist or contribute to forest regrowth through seed dispersal. The resource also links to an adjacent activity for students. Students will also get a glimpse into what field work can look like for scientists studying the spider monkeys and how collecting scientific data can work. The information presented is accurate, and this resource is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
HS-LS4-5 Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
HS-LS4-6 Create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
Speaking & Listening (K-12)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.2 Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems, evaluating the credibility and accuracy of each source and noting any discrepancies among the data.