What plant structures are indivisible inputs (an input that cannot be scaled down to produce a small quantity of output)?

As we begin to consider some parallels between the business world and the natural world, we can identify some very similar patterns in extinction, adaptation, and supply and demand in both. For example, an organism faces many challenges as it attempts to survive in the natural world, just as a business will struggle to succeed in the marketplace. When resources in the environment are limited, like consumers in the marketplace, organisms and businesses will compete. Those that can maximize their efficiency at production will succeed over those that cannot. Let’s look at how the principles of economics determine production costs and the role that these costs play in the success of a business. (Complete the production costs tutorial before you proceed).

Part I

In this tutorial you learned about different types of costs faced by a business. Organisms face similar costs, and require common elements as building blocks: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus. Plant tissues are composed primarily of long chains of sugars called cellulose. They have specialized machinery, chloroplasts, that capture energy from sunlight using pigments such as chlorophyll, and use it to build sugars in a process called photosynthesis. These sugars are used in many places throughout the plant, both structurally and metabolically.

Visit the Missouri Botanical Garden site http://www.mbgnet.net/bioplants/main.html for more information about the basic structure and function of plants. Read the contents on each link found at the left-hand side of the Web page, paying special attention to the content in “Plant Adaptations.” After you view these resources provided on plant biology, apply the following economic terms to plants for the first part of this Case Assignment:

Short-run costs

  • What is a fixed cost for a plant? What are variable costs?

Long-run costs

  • What plant structures should be considered a part of its long-run costs?
  • What plant structures are indivisible inputs (an input that cannot be scaled down to produce a small quantity of output)?

Part II

Now apply the questions above to an extinct business: choose either Kodak or Blockbuster. Do some independent research and use the production cost tutorial to address these questions:

  • What were the fixed and variable costs for this business?
  • What were some of their long-run costs, including divisible inputs?
  • Who were their competitors?
  • What were the factors that contributed to the decision to shut down production?

In the natural world, invasive species commonly displace species of organisms. Provide one example of an invasive species in your region that has imposed new competition to a native species and draw parallels between this example and the extinct business that you chose.

Assignment Expectations

You are provided with many scholarly references to complete this assignment. Include a References section that lists these and any additional sources you used (refer to the Background page). For any additional research you are required to do to complete your assignment, please use scholarly references such as a peer-reviewed journal article or a government-sponsored or university-sponsored website. As you read through your sources, take notes from your sources and then write your paper in your own words, describing what you have learned from your research. Direct quotes should be limited and must be designated by quotation marks. Paraphrased ideas must give credit to the original author, for example (Murray, 2014). Direct copying from “homework help” websites will not receive credit.

For this Case Assignment, answer all questions using full sentences and use Part I and Part II as your headings to organize your paper. The length of this assignment should be 2–3 pages.

Under each main section, use subtitles to organize your answers to the questions. For example:

Part I: Economics of Plant Production and Photosynthesis

Short-Run Costs

Long-Run Costs

Part II: Case Study: Production Costs for Kodak

Costs

Competition and the Shut-Down Decision

Extinctions: Parallels in the Business World

References

SLP 3

Efficiency and Adaptation

Cooperation and trade are common in the natural world. Based on the cost of production and the constraints presented by the environment, an organism may be more successful by trading for a product than producing it. In this situation the organism may specialize in one product and trade for another. In this SLP we will examine an example of trading partners, mycorrhizal fungi and plants, and compare it to the principles of international trade, an important component of macroeconomics. After you view this tutorial, consider some of the principles it introduced and how they apply to specialization and trade between the symbiotic partners that make up a mycorrhizal association.

In the videos and tutorials you completed for your Case 3 Assignment, you learned about how plants can utilize sunlight to build sugars. Some of these sugars are sent to plant roots for growth and storage. Mycorrhizal fungi live within or surrounding plant roots as a symbiosis. Mycorrhizal fungi cannot make their own food. As fungi, they have the ability to decompose organic (carbon-based) material, but they do not contain chlorophyll and must obtain carbon directly from the environment (like we do!). The fossil record shows mycorrhizal fungi living in association with the earliest plants, bryophytes.

Accessed at http://www.larousse.fr/encyclopedie/divers/h%C3%A9patique/46890

Scientists believe that this symbiosis may have been key to plants’ success on land. Begin your introduction to this symbiosis at the Compost Gardener, and be sure to view their video. Next, proceed to this site maintained by the University of Western Australia, School of Plant Biology: http://mycorrhizas.info/vam.html to complete your research and locate important images for your SLP assignment.

Using the resources provided above, develop a PowerPoint presentation that includes the following:

Slides 1–3

Compose a brief overview of the structure and function of plant roots. Include definitions and images of these terms: epidermis, exodermis, cortex, endodermis, and root hairs. You can refer to the following resource:

Roots: http://mycorrhizas.info/root.html

Slides 4–10

Provide an explanation of the symbiosis between mycorrhizal fungi and plant roots. Include definitions and explanation of the differences between Arbuscular mycorrhiza and Ectomycorrhizal fungi using the following images:

Mycorrhizal fungi pdf 1

Mycorrhizal fungi pdf 2

Ectomycorrhizal fungi pdf EMF 1

And the websites: http://mycorrhizas.info/vam.html

http://www.the-compost-gardener.com/plant-fungi.html

Slides 11–15

Discussion of the costs and benefits associated with this trade arrangement using the following resources:

Terms of Trade.ppt

Walder, F., Niemann, H., Natarajan, M., Lehmann, M. F., Boller, T. & Wiemken, A. Mycorrhizal Networks: Common Goods of Plants Shared under Unequal Terms of Trade. Plant Physiology. 2012. 159:789–797. Accessed on August 8, 2014, at http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/159/2/789.full

Slide 16

Now view information by Green Economy about a company that markets this symbiosis. Read more about mycorrhizae and Mycorrhizal Applications, Inc. at their website http://mycorrhizae.com/.

  • How can the trade between these organisms benefit our economy and land use?

Slide 17—References

SLP Assignment Expectations

For this SLP assignment you will develop a PowerPoint Presentation that is 17–20 slides in length and addresses the requirements outlined above. Place the text containing the answers to the questions above in the Notes section of your slide presentation. Reference all of your answers in your Notes sections with citations (Murray 2014). Your slides should contain labeled images that illustrate the text that you included in your Notes sections. Provide the website or reference for each labeled image. Be sure your last slide is a references slide that contains the full reference cited on your slides. Many resources are provided for you. This assignment should not require much independent research.

 

Case 4

Habitat Loss, Land Use, and Conservation

Assignment Overview

In this module you have learned about how carrying capacity imposes restrictions on population growth, and how human economic growth and land use can threaten biodiversity. In this Case Assignment you will look at these topics from three perspectives:

  • Case studies of government regulation of land and trade restrictions to address threatened species in the Economist article: “Political Responses: Where eagles dare”
  • Examples of large mammals and the size of the habitat necessary to support them
  • The cost of conservation in a Botanical Garden case study

Case Assignment

Part I

To prepare for this article, in paragraph format (one paragraph should be plenty):

  1. Define “invasive species” using the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) website: www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/index.shtml
  2. Provide three examples of invasive species in your region.
  3. Define “endemic species,” and provide an example of an endemic species from anywhere in the world. If you can find an example of an endemic species in your region, please include it as well.

Now read the article Political Responses: Where eagles dare. (2013, Sep 14). The Economist, 408(8853):9.

After you have read the article, answer the following questions in paragraph format by using an introduction sentence, related topic sentences and a conclusion statement that draws connections between the ideas presented. You should be able to address all questions in Part I in 1–2 paragraphs.

  1. Name some ways that governments are trying to redress threats against endemic species. Briefly describe the examples presented in this article.
  2. What is described as the biggest challenge for governments?
  3. How are governments addressing this challenge?

Part II

With habitat loss, less land and resources means lower carrying capacity. For the second part of this assignment, you will apply the readings from your Module 4 Home page to two cases in which conservation of habitat applies to carrying capacity and economics. Choose one of these large predators to investigate: African predators (lions, hyenas, etc.), cougars (mountain lions), or polar bears.

  1. What size of land/water is required to support this animal?
  2. What pressures threaten this organism’s habitat?
  3. What role does international trade and political regulation play in protecting this organism? Are these in place and enforced?

Resources

Available via Summon in the Trident Online Library:

Haywarda, M. W., O’Brien J., & Kerley, G. I. H. (2007). Carrying capacity of large African predators: Predictions and tests. Biological Conservation. 139:219–229.

Glick, H. B. (2014). Modeling cougar habitat in the Northeastern United States. Ecological Modeling. 285:78-89.

Websites

Wildlife Conservation Society at www.wcs.org

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife at wdfw.wa.gov/living/cougars.html

Polar Bears International at www.polarbearsinternational.org

Part III

Finally, examine the costs and benefits of conservation using the Montgomery Botanical Centre as a case study. View the results of a study on the costs and benefits of preserving a collection of plants at the following site: http://www.bgci.org/resources/article/0634/.

In 1–2 paragraphs summarize the following in complete sentences:

  1. What are the costs associated with maintaining this collection (generally speaking, not exact numbers)?
  2. What are the benefits of preserving this collection and how are they measured? (Hint: They are described as “conservation success.”)
  3. What part of this collection gives diminishing returns and why?
  4. How does collection size relate to efficiency of management of the collection?
  5. When is it most valuable to preserve a plant species?

Assignment Expectations

You are provided with many scholarly references to complete this assignment. Include a References section that lists these and any additional sources you used (refer to the Background page). For any additional research you are required to do to complete your assignment, please use scholarly references such as a peer-reviewed journal article or a government-sponsored or university-sponsored website. As you read through your sources, take notes from your sources and then write your paper in your own words, describing what you have learned from your research. Direct quotes should be limited and must be designated by quotation marks. Paraphrased ideas must give credit to the original author, for example (Murray, 2014)

For this Case Assignment, answer all questions using full sentences and use Part I, Part II, and Part III as your headings to organize your paper. Design your own headings for these main sections, and under each main section, use subtitles to organize your answers to the questions. You should be able to address the requirements of this assignment in 6–8 paragraphs.

 

SLP 4

Habitat Loss, Land Use, and Conservation

For this Module’s SLP assignment read the following articles:

Duncan, Emma. All creatures great and small. The Economist Sep 14, 2013; Vol. 408 (8853): 3.

And Brazil’s conversion: Trees of knowledge. The Economist Sep 14, 2013; Vol. 408 (8853): 13.

Write a 3- to 4-page page paper discussing the following:

  • Why did the Paragominas support their mayor?

Address the following in your answer:

  • What level of biodiversity does the Brazilian Amazon support?
  • What is deforestation and why is it practiced?
  • How does deforestation affect the Brazilian Amazon?
  • What is the history behind the fight against deforestation? Who spoke out against it? What role did the population of Brazil play in changing Paragomias from a logging town to a site of environmental protection?
  • What role did the Brazilian federal environmental police play and how were they appointed initially?
  • How do education and technology play a role in reducing deforestation in Brazil?

SLP Assignment Expectations

You are provided with many scholarly references to complete this assignment. Include a References section that lists these and any additional sources you used (refer to the Background page). For any additional research you are required to do to complete your assignment, please use scholarly references such as a peer-reviewed journal article or a government-sponsored or university-sponsored website. As you read through your sources, take notes from your sources and then write your paper in your own words, describing what you have learned from your research. Direct quotes should be limited and must be designated by quotation marks. Paraphrased ideas must give credit to the original author, for example (Murray, 2014)

 

For this SLP assignment, you are required to organize your answers to these questions in essay format. Be sure that you include an Introductory paragraph that gives your audience a brief overview of what your paper is about and what you are going to cover. Each topic that you introduce in this Introductory paragraph should correspond with a paragraph in the body that addresses it. Include a Conclusion paragraph that summarizes your discussion of the Economist article. This article is your only required reference and should be reported in a Reference section along with any additional references you used.

 

Case 5

Economic Growth, Technology, and Education

Assignment Overview

For this final Case study, let’s examine the positive impact of two successful businesses that have direct ties to the natural world, Honest Tea, and Mycorrhizal Applications, Inc. As you review the content in this video and website, think about the relationships between population growth, utilization of resources, and the opportunities afforded by economic growth and the success of these businesses.

Case Assignment

In a 2- to 3-page paper, address the following topics for each company after you have reviewed the above resources:

  1. What aspect of the natural world are these companies marketing?
  2. How are they incorporating social responsibility into their business plan?
  3. How are they incorporating environmental responsibility into their business plan?
  4. What role is technology playing in facilitating the efficiency of production?
  5. What role does education play in the ethics of these companies?
  6. How are their products and outreach programs providing solutions to problems that population growth and climate change create for our natural world?
  7. What role do you think ethics should play in business development and economic growth? (Be sure to define ethics and economic growth briefly.)

Assignment Expectations

You are provided with two references to complete this assignment. Include a References section that lists these and any additional sources you used (refer to the Background page). For any additional research you are required to do to complete your assignment, please use scholarly references such as a peer-reviewed journal article or a government-sponsored or university-sponsored website. As you read through your sources, take notes from your sources and then write your paper in your own words, describing what you have learned from your research. Direct quotes should be limited and must be designated by quotation marks. Paraphrased ideas must give credit to the original author, for example (Murray, 2014).

 

Organize your answers to these questions in essay format. Be sure that you include an Introductory paragraph that gives your audience a brief overview of what your paper is about and what you are going to cover. Each topic that you introduce in this Introductory paragraph should correspond with a paragraph in the body that addresses it. Include a Conclusion paragraph that summarizes your discussion of the topics. This article is your only required reference and should still be reported in a Reference section.

Suggested format:

Introduction: Introduce the negative implications of economic growth. Introduce the two companies and what they are doing to facilitate the positive potential of economic growth.

Body: One paragraph each for topics 1–6

Conclusion: Address Topic 7 and whether or not you think these companies align with your opinions of ethics, business development, and economic growth.

References: Be sure to list all references and cite them throughout your work.

 

SLP 5

Economic Growth, Technology, and Education

To complete your review of the articles published by the Economist regarding economic growth and biodiversity, read the following:

The effects of growth: The long view. The Economist Sep 14, 2013; Vol. 408 (8853): 11.

Address the following questions:

  • What evidence does this article provide that GDP is related to habitat conservation? (Define GDP in your answer.)
  • According to the article, what is the role of technology in protecting biodiversity? Briefly discuss the examples provided in the article.
  • What changes in land use related to economic growth have a positive impact on natural resources and biodiversity conservation?

SLP Assignment Expectations

You are provided with the reference necessary to complete this assignment. As you read through this article, take notes from then write the answers to the questions above in your own words, describing what you have learned from your reading. Direct quotes should be limited and must be designated by quotation marks.

For this SLP assignment, you are required to organize your answers to these questions in essay format. Be sure that you include an Introductory paragraph that gives your audience a brief overview of what your paper is about and what you are going to cover. Each topic that you introduce in this Introductory paragraph should correspond with a paragraph in the body that addresses it. Include a Conclusion paragraph that summarizes your discussion of the Economist article. This article is your only required reference, and should still be reported in a Reference section.

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