Geography 2152F/G Study Guide - Final Guide: Northern Pocket Gopher, Pumice, Phytoplankton

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The first animal to be discovered in the area after the eruption was the northern pocket gopher. The scientists were surprised to find prairie lupines in the pumice plain, and it was able to grow as it has a special root structure that provides its own fertilizer. Bacteria work with the plant, providing nitrogen to the plant and in return, the plant provides the bacteria with simple sugars via photosynthesis. The bacteria in spirit lake rapidly consumed the oxygen, which made it impossible for any air-breathing organisms including fish, amphibians and insects. The discovery of phytoplankton in the lake, which were probably brought in by birds or by the wing, was so important as phytoplankton turn sunlight into oxygen. Phytoplankton are the basic building blocks of aquatic life. Gophers enrich the pumice by burrowing their way through the ash and as a result, they mix in fresh soil and help new plants spread.

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