Exploring ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ population ecology

This activity explores how natural communities are organized and explores two of the most championed hypotheses.

Activity time: 1.5 hr (can be split among two periods)
Game: Evolution: Climate


  1. Assign and discuss primary literature that matches the learning objectives.
  2. Play Evolution: Climate by the publisher’s rules (this is our ‘top-down’ scenario)
  3. Now play the game a second time using our ‘bottom-up’ scenario.
  4. Discuss how these two game scenarios changed the composition of the communities.   Be sure to count how many carnivores and herbivores are present at the end of each scenario.

Bottom-up rules:
Play by publishers rules except:
-Skip the ‘select food cards’ phase (Phase 2).  Instead, place 15 food in the watering hole every turn. (note you can change this value as you see fit)
-Ignore climate actions that change food amounts.

(image credit: kalchio)