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Lesson summary for:
Species Concepts in Birds


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This investigation uses multimedia such as bird songs and their associated visualizations to initiate a discussion of traits that can be used to define a species and the resulting conservation implications of that definition.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Grade level:

~ 2.5 hours

Teaching tips:
Computers with Quick Time and Flash player required. This investigation is intended for introductory courses for majors or non-majors, as well as upper-level Evolution, Ecology or Conservation courses. Students should have students having some understanding of the variety of species concepts that exist, as well as the concept of reproductive isolation.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • A species is often defined as a group of individuals that actually or potentially interbreed in nature.

  • Occasionally offspring, known as hybrids, result from matings between distinct species or between distinct parental forms.

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