Instructions on How to Analyze the DNA Datasets

Part of the Ecology Disrupted Curriculum Collection.

Data Analysis main image



Download the files below to use offline, or to incorporate into your own lesson planning tools.

Instructions on How to Analyze the DNA Datasets slide show


Instructions on How to Analyze the DNA Datasets teacher's guide


DNA Datasets



Tell the students to refer back to their datasets and use the data and the maps to analyze how highways impact bighorn sheep.  Each group should receive 6 maps with data and instructions:

  1. Cady Mountain
  2. Eagle Buzzard Spring Mountain
  3. Hackberry Mountain
  4. Indian Spring Mountain
  5. Marble Mountain
  6. San Gorgonio Mountain 

Review the instructions slide:

  1. Use a metric ruler to measure the minimum distance in millimeters between mountaintops.
    Purpose: To give students a baseline for which populations SHOULD have the highest levels of breeding without the impact of the highway.
  2. Draw double-headed arrows between populations to signify the level of breeding between populations. More arrows show more connection, i.e. more breeding; fewer arrows show less connection, i.e. less breeding.
    Purpose: To see the genetic data in a visual manner.  Populations that share (i.e. mate frequently) a lot of genetic information will have more arrows connecting them than populations that do not mate frequently.
  3. Compare your results from step 1 and step 2 and use them to predict where the highways are located. Draw the highways onto the map.
    Purpose: Students will predict that the closest populations share the most genetic information (step 1). However, the genetic data (step 2) tell a different story.  They show that nearby populations with a highway between them share less genetic information (i.e. mate less frequently) than nearby populations without highways between them.

The following slides demonstrate these three steps using the Cady Mountain example.

The final slide is an overview map of the area without highways. When student groups complete their work, they should transfer their data and highways onto the overview map.