WEBCAST: Measuring Biodiversity - Life in One Cubic Foot

Watch the archive of the webcast with marine biologist Dr. Chris Meyer. In the show, Chris explains the techniques he uses to measure biodiversity.

Smithsonian Science How: Measuring Biodiversity: Life in One Cubic Foot

Featuring Marine Biologist Chris Meyer

Dr. Christopher Meyer is a marine biologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Join him in peering into the diversity of life on coral reefs in Moorea and Indonesia. Consider why you would want to find and catalog all the species in an ecosystem and what it tells you about that ecosystem's resilience to change. Contemplate the importance of monitoring biodiversity in ecosystems around the world. See how techniques used by Chris can be used by students to measure biodiversity in their own neighborhoods. 

Watch a recording of the April 10, 2014, webcast in the player above. The show aligns with national science standards

How do you participate in the webcast program?

1. WATCH the archive video in the player above

2. Get TEACHING RESOURCES for the webcast

3. Design an ASSESSMENT for your students


The Quantifying Biodiversity Webcast package supports students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations by offering a set of resources that integrate science concepts with science practice skills.

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem
  • MS-LS2-2 Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems
  • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations
  • MS-LS2-5 Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services