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BIOL 355 Final: Finals Notes

Course Code
BIOL 355
Weixing Zhu
Study Guide

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Finals Notes
Everglades Unit
Everglades = watery expanse, 50 miles wide, shallow (6 in deep average), sourced
from Lake Okeechobee
Water rain (rainy summer/dry winter + spring)
Lake Okeechobee (rain and spring-fed rivers)
Soil limestone, ancient sand dunes & organic plant matter (hummus)
Nutrient poor b/c limestone + sand don’t provide many nutrients, high
precipitation leaches nutrients from the plant litter and through the
loose porous soil
Highly Productive b/c high evapotranspiration rate, fast
Highly diverse b/c climate is a blend of temperate and tropical
(subtropical) also great potential for colonization
Glades = sawgrass (sedge), islands of other habitats, much of glade land has been
drained in order to grow sugar cane
Freshwater Slough = deep marsh (min 30 cm, max - 1 m), hydroperiod is almost
year round, Calcareous periphyton (algal mat) and other aquatic plants are at the
bottom of the food web with alligators and wading birds (it’s their ideal habitat)
are at the top with fish and aquatic invertebrates in the middle
Birds great egret, snowy egret, tricolored heron, white ibis, wood stork (all
piscivorous), long legs allow for wading, long beaks allow for grabbing prey
(indicator species)
Pinelands = sandy soil, nutrient poor, dry and fire prone (fire is natural, shapes
community but is often impeded by humans)
Animals geckos, skinks, gopher tortoise (their burrows increase soil
nutrient availability, plant and animal diversity)
Hammock = hardwood tree and shrub islands, vines, few herbs on ground,
Trees wild coffee, gumbo-limbo, royal palm, strangler fig, mahogany
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Moat Surrounding Hammock eroded limestone, water depth (1-2 ft), used
to be year round, alligators live here, acts as fire protection for trees
Mangrove Swamp = receives nutrients from freshwater runoff and tidal flushing
moves the nutrients around, habitat for shrimp and various fish species feeding
ground for wading birds
Hydroperiod = seasonal precipitation pattern, sheet flow from June Oct,
hurricanes bring in massive amounts of water water tables fluctuate depending
on the season, topography and alligator activity. Humans activity also impacts the
water table
Summer (Rainy Season) energy collection w/ plant primary production
and consumer growth (birds fly north)
Fall (dry down) energy concentration w/ high prey densities (birds return
to eat)
Winter + Spring (dry season) spatial variation of wet places (birds enter
nesting phase)
Gawlik Study (2002) = prey availability hypothesis food is the major attraction
for birds in Everglades, this would be impacted by water depth, prey density and
species characteristics
High Quality (prey) Patches determined by prey quality, vulnerability and
density, different birds have different hunting habits and therefore prefer
different water depths
Alligators = females lay 40-60 eggs in a nest of plant material from May June,
hatchlings are looked after by female for 1-2 years, need both wet and dry habitats
Hunted for leather and used by hunter to locate alligator holes
Ecosystem Modifier create “alligator ponds”, provide refuge for water-
animals in winter and dig up soil for plants
Human Impact = 50% of historical Everglades is gone
Drained sawgrass marsh south of Lake Okeechobee (diverted water to
Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, marsh made into agricultural land, lost
rich organic soil, area wide water table drop, saltwater intrusion)
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