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  1. Ecologists are increasingly using macrosystems approaches to understand population, community, and ecosystem dynamics across interconnected spatial and temporal scales. Consequently, integrating macrosystems skills, including simulation modeling and sensor data analysis, into undergraduate and graduate curricula is needed to train future environmental biologists. Through the Macrosystems EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration) program, we developed four teaching modules to introduce macrosystems ecology to ecology and biology students. Modules combine high-frequency sensor data from GLEON (Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network) and NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) sites with ecosystem simulation models. Pre- and post-module assessments of 319 students across 24 classrooms indicate that hands-on, inquiry-based modules increase students’ understanding of macrosystems ecology, including complex processes that occur across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Following module use, students were more likely to correctly define macrosystems concepts, interpret complex data visualizations and apply macrosystems approaches in new contexts. In addition, there was an increase in student’s self-perceived proficiency and confidence using both long-term and high-frequency data; key macrosystems ecology techniques. Our results suggest that integrating short (1–3 h) macrosystems activities into ecology courses can improve students’ ability to interpret complex and non-linear ecological processes. In addition, our study serves as one of the firstmore »documented instances for directly incorporating concepts in macrosystems ecology into undergraduate and graduate ecology and biology curricula.« less
  2. In freshwater lakes and reservoirs, climate change and eutrophication are increasing the occurrence of low-dissolved oxygen concentrations (hypoxia), which has the potential to alter the variability of zooplankton seasonal dynamics. We sampled zooplankton and physical, chemical and biological variables (e.g., temperature, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll a) in four reservoirs during the summer stratified period for three consecutive years. The hypolimnion (bottom waters) of two reservoirs remained oxic throughout the entire stratified period, whereas the hypolimnion of the other two reservoirs became hypoxic during the stratified period. Biomass variability (measured as the coefficient of the variation of zooplankton biomass) and compositional variability (measured as the community composition of zooplankton) of crustacean zooplankton communities were similar throughout the summer in the oxic reservoirs; however, biomass variability and compositional variability significantly increased after the onset of hypoxia in the two seasonally-hypoxic reservoirs. The increase in biomass variability in the seasonally-hypoxic reservoirs was driven largely by an increase in the variability of copepod biomass, while the increase in compositional variability was driven by increased variability in the dominance (proportion of total crustacean zooplankton biomass) of copepod taxa. Our results suggest that hypoxia may increase the seasonal variability of crustacean zooplankton communities.