DIVERSITY AND INTERACTION IN AN ECOSYSTEM – A FIELD TRIP
|An ecosystem is a community of organisms and the physical environment with which these organisms interact. There are many examples of ecosystems — a pond, a forest, an estuary, a grassland. The ecosystem consists of biotic and the abiotic components. The organisms themselves are the biotic factors.|
Abiotic factors consist of resources, such as water and nutrients, and conditions, such as amount of sunlight, average temperature, and amount of precipitation. Organisms thrive within a range of abiotic conditions. Ecosystems can fall into three categories: freshwater, marine, and terrestrial.
Freshwater ecosystems include lakes and ponds, rivers, streams, springs, and wetlands (including swamps and bogs).
Marine ecosystems include salt marshes, intertidal zones, estuaries, lagoons, mangroves, coral reefs, the deep sea, and the sea floor. The ocean is a marine ecosystem that covers 70% of the Earth’s surface. For the most part, the ocean is uniformly salty, but it is divided into several zones based on water depth, distance from the shoreline, and light penetration.
Terrestrial ecosystems covering a specific geographic are called biomes. Biomes are notable for the species living there. Some of the primary biomes include the tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, savanna or grassland, tropical rain forest, and desert. The two main physical characteristics that define a terrestrial biome are temperature and rainfall. Each biome contains communities of characteristic plants and animals that are adapted to the regional climate.
- The Tundra borders the North Pole. It is very cold, with long winters and a short growing season. (includes Arctic tundra, alpine tundra, and Antarctic tundra)
- The Taiga is a very cold northern coniferous forest. (includes the closed canopy forest and the lichen woodland)
- Temperate deciduous forests have hot summers and cold winters. Here the trees lose their leaves during the winter.
- The Prairies is a temperate grassland, completely devoid of large shrubs and trees. Prairies could be categorized as mixed grass, tall grass and short grass prairies.
- The Savanna is a tropical grassland with alternating wet and dry seasons.
- The mountain ecosystem includes a diverse array of habitats with a large variety of animals and plants depending on the altitudes; higher altitudes may have treeless alpine vegetation and animals that have thick fur coats for prevention from cold and that hibernate in the winter months. Lower slopes are commonly covered with coniferous forests.
- Tropical rain forests occur at the equator, have a high average temperature and the greatest amount of rainfall of all the biomes, and are dominated by large evergreen, broad-leaved trees. (includes tropical evergreen forest, tropical deciduous forest)
- Deserts are biomes in which rainfall is sparse. Note that deserts are not defined by temperature: there can be temperate deserts as the Mojave Desert in California; cold deserts as the Gobi Desert in China, and hot deserts as the Sahara Desert in Africa.
Locate and visit an ecosystem/biome of your choice. You will need to take a photo of yourself in the setting that you have chosen and upload this photo to your Files in Canvas. To do this:
To upload pictures. Go to and open “Account” on the navigation bar. Select “Files.” Upload the picture or image that you have already saved from your computer hard-drive.
Characterize the ecosystem according to the criteria and questions that follow.
- What type of ecosystem have you chosen and where is it located? Specify type from the following list of categories:
- Freshwater: include lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, springs, and wetlands, swamps and bogs.
- Marine: include salt marshes, intertidal zones, estuaries, lagoons, mangroves, coral reefs, ocean, the deep sea, and the sea floor.
- Terrestrial: Arctic tundra, alpine tundra, Antarctic tundra, taiga (closed canopy forest or lichen woodland), temperate evergreen forest, temperate deciduous forest, prairie, savanna, mountain, tropical rainforest, tropical evergreen forest, tropical deciduous forest, desert (cold or hot).
- Post a photo of yourself in the location that you have chosen. With SAFETY IN MIND, include as many of the characteristic plants and animals of the ecosystem in the photo. To do this:
- In the assignment submission forum, after you select reply, a text editor box will open. Select “Embed image.” For the image source, select “Canvas,” then “My Files.” Select the image from your files.
- What is the air temperature 5 feet (approximately 1.5 meters) above ground?
- Is the ecosystem generally a moist, moderate, or dry environment?
- How would you characterize the soil? (sand, clay, silt, loam, peat)
- What general categories of plant types are apparent? (mosses, ferns, small flowering plants [annuals and/or perennials], succulents, herbs, vegetables, grasses, shrubs, conifers, trees, vines, water plants, etc.)
- Which categories of plants are most abundant based on numbers of plants in a category? What is the area covered by your count?
- Which categories of plants are most abundant based on biomass of plants in a category? (This is the total mass of plants in a category in a given area or volume. Look at the amount of space taken up by the most abundant plants)?
- What resident vertebrates do you see? If you do not see them, what evidence do you see that they reside in this ecosystem?
- What resident invertebrates do you see? If you do not see them, what evidence do you see that they reside in this ecosystem?
- What plant-animal interactions do you see?
[NOTE TO STUDENT: You may refer to chapters 12-15 and 19-20 in your textbook for background information to support this exercise. Try to make your submission interesting, as other students in the class will be able to read and “like” your submission. The number of likes received will have no bearing on the grade for this assignment.]
Click on and download, the following form. You may work on this assignment from week 6 through week 9, but there will be only one opportunity to submit the completed form. After completing, copy and paste your completed form to the submission forum. The completed form can be submitted at any time up to the due date.
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complete biology extra credit form troy was first posted on August 9, 2020 at 7:13 pm.
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