Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit


Date of this Version



Published in THE SCIENCE TEACHER 38-42 (2007)


The natural world exhibits substantial variation in climate, which influences the distribution, reproductive success, and survival of plants and animals. Although students are aware of weather, their understanding of climate is typically less clear, especially the concept of microclimate-the climate of a specific place within an area as contrasted with the climate of the entire area. Microclimate can influence where birds place their nests (Lloyd and Martin 2004), where insects reside (Lorenzo and Lazzari 1999), and where plants successfully germinate (Tomimatsu and Ohara 2004). Therefore, microclimate can have a profound effect on local community structure and biodiversity, particularly on plants, which are unable to move and thus often limited by local environmental conditions.