Journal cover Journal topic
Web Ecology An open-access peer-reviewed journal
Journal topic
Volume 15, issue 1
Web Ecol., 15, 49-58, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-15-49-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Web Ecol., 15, 49-58, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-15-49-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Standard article 26 Nov 2015

Standard article | 26 Nov 2015

Biodiversity impacts of climate change – the PRONAS software as educational tool

K. Ulbrich, O. Schweiger, S. Klotz, and J. Settele K. Ulbrich et al.
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Theodor-Lieser-Straße 4, 06120 Halle, Germany

Abstract. Loss of biodiversity under climate change is on the top of European research agendas. However, there is a huge gap between the scientific and the educational communities: Only a small amount of current knowledge reaches the young generation. We faced the challenge of how to transfer results of biodiversity research to the reality of school classrooms – in a way that raises interest, awareness and motivation among students from the age of 12 to 19. We developed the educational software PRONAS (PROjections of NAture for Schools) to show how scientists handle questions about the impact of climate change on the habitats of many European species. About 50 European plant and animal species have been used to demonstrate habitat losses, habitat shifts, and mismatch of habitat dynamics of interacting species. The software was developed with a bottom-up approach, and a manual for applying the software in the classroom was written in close cooperation with teachers. We included specific elements of didactic approaches such as storylines describing future scenarios, projections and simulations of species' future climatic niches, as well as the combination of virtual and real excursions. PRONAS is freely accessible in German and English on http://www.ufz.de/pronas-lernsoftware. Feedback was given by about 100 teachers from German and other European schools at six teacher workshops and by 141 students from four German schools. While most teachers confirmed that the designed format of knowledge transfer is attractive and contributes to knowledge building and awareness raising, many students older than 16 felt under-challenged. Altogether, we found that "educational software" is a useful format for scientific outreach which is worth joint efforts of scientists and educators and which needs more support and incentives for scientists to go forward in this direction.

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Only little of current biodiversity knowledge reaches the young generation. We developed the educational software PRONAS to show how scientists handle questions about the impact of climate change on species' habitats. About fifty European species have been used to demonstrate habitat losses and shifts and the mismatch of habitat dynamics of interacting species. We found that “educational software” is a useful format for scientific outreach. PRONAS is freely accessible in German and English.
Only little of current biodiversity knowledge reaches the young generation. We developed the...
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