Modeling Challenge #3

Modeling Challenge #3

Overview: For this final modeling challenge you will connect the model you made for challenge #2 with a second system to make a conceptual model interconnecting these two systems.

Groups: You may work independently or as part of a group. If you choose to work as a group, please form your own groups and see the instructions for the group assignment below.

Software: We will not use Dragoon for this final challenge. Your models will be conceptual and can be made in a program of your choosing or hand drawn.


MODEL DETAILS (16 points total)

  1. Building your model: Your model must include the following: (7 points total)
  • minimum of 16 nodes (8 nodes for each of your two subsystems) (2 points)
  • a brief description and justification of each node (2.5 points)
  • a brief description and justification of each of the connections among your nodes, including discussion of the relationship between the two nodes (e.g., is it positive in the sense that if one node increases the other will also increase, or negative in the sense that if node one increases, node 2 will decrease) (2.5 points)
  1. Discussion: In addition to drawing and describing the nodes and connections of your model, you will need to write a ~1,000-word discussion that includes the following: (9 points total)
  • overview: (1 point)
    • ~ 100 words describing your whole system and highlighting the importance of understanding it.
  • environment: (3.5 points)
    • ~300 words describing the environmental components of your system
    • must include at least 2 citations of peer-reviewed literature that does not include your textbook (check with us if you have questions)
    • must include reference to at least 2 ecological concepts we’ve covered in the class
  • social: (1.5 points)
    • ~200 words describing the social aspects of your system
    • must include at least 1 citation
  • economic: (1.5 points)
    • ~200 words describing the economic aspects of your system
    • must include at least 1 citation
  • technological: (1.5 points)
    • ~200 words describing the technological aspects of your system
    • must include at least 1 citation
  • note: you can use the same citation for multiple subsections, as makes sense, but you must have a minimum of 3 citations in total.
  1. For groups: In addition to the criteria for the base model above, your team must have:
  • a summary of how each team member contributed and an estimate of the % contribution that each team member made
  • an additional 5 nodes per person (i.e. if your group has 3 people, you must have 16 + 5 + 5 = 26 nodes)
  • an additional ~300 word increase in discussion length per person added (i.e. if your group has 2 people, then instead of being about 1,000 words, it would be roughly 1,300 words)
  • an additional citation per person added (i.e. if your group had 4 people, instead of having a minimum of 3 citations, your group would be required to have 6 citations)



Pick one of the following. You can choose to work with a sub-system you did for challenge #2 or pick an entirely new system.


  • System 1:
    • Lake trout: Create nodes pertaining a food chain or cascade around the predator and a human influence causing eutrophication.
    • Agricultural field crop: The scenario is a farm in a developing country that has direct influences encouraging it to begin using fertilizer to increase crop yield. One node must be a natural system that is impacted by runoff.
  • System 2:
    • Louisiana marshlands: Chronicle a keystone species and have two human influences: one that preserves or grows marshlands and one that degrades them.
    • BP oil leak: Include human pressures that causes the frequency or amount of oil spilled (a function of demand, price, ect.) and a natural system that it impacts.
  • System 3:
    • Wolves in Yellowstone: Figure out how wolves in Yellowstone declined and which species their decline impacted. A human influence is needed.
    • Riverine shrubs: This can have a human impact or not. You define the system!
  • System 4:
    • A constructed wetland (Phoenix’s Tres Rios perhaps!): Find out how the ecosystem works and how human influences impacting it.
    • Urban yards Phoenix: How do green grasses affect the ecosystem components of a node away? What are the important pressures that lead to this (think $$$), and what happens with the water?


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