Biology HL 1
Hugo, Jacob, Leda, Samantha
7 June, 2015
Detailed Niche of 3 Species in Freshwater Marshes A niche is the specialized habitat of organisms, which include the habitat, nutrition, predators, interactions with other species, and reproduction. Keystone species play a crucial role in the functions of an ecosystem. Alligators are one of the keystone species in a freshwater swap.
Alligators are a keystone species in the freshwater marshes due to the burrows they create to nest and keep warm which then fill with water and provide breeding and drinking for other organisms.
Habitat: Alligators reside in freshwater swaps and marshes
Nutrition: Large adult alligators can eat all aquatic and terrestrial prey. Smaller alligators eat turtles, fish, small mammals, birds, reptiles (including small alligators).
Interactions: They are the highest predator of the freshwater marsh food chain. Their powerful jaws lock any animal it comes across in its mouth, closing its jaw with 7000 pounds of force, killing the prey.
Reproduction: Alligators nest in mud/vegetation, which are constructed at the top of a bank in the beginning of summer. The females lay 20-50 eggs, covering the hole with vegetation. The incubation period is 65 days. Once they hatch, the female takes the hatchlings and carries 8-10 to the water at a time. The pod of juveniles stay with their mother for their first year.
Habitat: Tadpoles reside in shallow water, such as freshwater marshes, lakes, ponds, creeks, streams, and small ponds with nutrient rich murky water, with algae.
Nutrition: They eat plants and microorganisms found in their environment. In rare cases, larger tadpoles eat smaller tadpoles. Predators: Birds, snakes and fish prey on them.
Reproduction: Frog eggs need moister to develop so during spawning, the female Striped Marsh Frog creates floating foam or bubble raft which the fertilized eggs are suspended. After a few days, the tadpoles drop into the water as their nest disintegrates and they hatch. It takes and average of four weeks to complete metamorphosis, but can be affected by temperature and genetics.
Mosquito Larvae Niche: Habitat: Specific species of mosquitoes are spawned in freshwater marshes.
Nutrition: The female mosquito feeds by piercing another organism's skin and finding a blood vessel to drain blood into the mosquito’s body. Mosquitoes do not gain nutrition directly from blood feeding, but instead, proteins from the blood are used to help eggs to develop. Male mosquitos, on the other hand, feed on plant nectars.
Predators: Fish and frogs are the main predators of mosquito larvae.
Interactions: The larvae attach themselves to the stems and roots of plant vegetation in order to obtain oxygen. Though this method, they also acquire a certain amount of protection from predatory fish.
Reproduction: Female mosquitoes feed on blood, and then mate, which then allows for a healthy batch of eggs to be laid in the water. The females try to lay their eggs in small pools of water that do not contain any fish. Thus, mosquito populations are especially high around water sources, as egg laying occurs in small, sheltered puddles of water.
Mesocosm Experiment involving a Freshwater Marsh A mesocosm is an experimental tool that brings ecologically relevant pieces of the natural environment under closely monitored, controlled conditions. It is a model of a large and closed ecosystem. In other words, energy enters the ecosystem and leaves it, while matter, on the other hand, does not. A mesocosm also demonstrates how organisms or communities might react to environmental changes, or to analyze specific toxicants of interest to scientists. This can be seen through the purposeful manipulation of environmental variables. In the mesocosm involving a freshwater marsh, interactions between amphipods and elodea will be assessed. A mesocosm