Ecology Exam III


Grass (Few Trees)

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10-30 inches Rain


Warm Summers and Cold Winters



Grasses and Forbs


Greatests Productivity per Unity Standing Crop

High Root/Shoot Ratio


Types of Grasslands

1.  Cultivated

2.  Successional

3.  North American Grasslands

4.  Eurasian Steppes

5.  South American Pampas

6.  South African Veldt

7.  Australian Grassland

Types of North American Grasslands

Tall-grass pairie – Big Bluestem, Needlegrass, legumes, composites, squirrels, gophers

Mixed-grass pairie – Needlegrass-grama, bison, pronghorn, antelope

Short-grass prairie – blue grama, buffalo grass, prairie dogs

Desert grassland – SW US, N Mexico, Bunchgrasses

Annual grassland – San Joaquin Valley, CA

Palosue Prairie – b/n Rocky Mtns and Cascades, cool season bunchgrasses, sagebrush


Grass with Scattered Woody Vegetation


Wet/Dry Seasons


Central and Southern Africa



Wildebeest, Leopard, Lion, Zebra, Giraffe, Elephants, Cheetah, Rhino, Hyaena, Termites, Bunchgrasses


Arid/Semi-Arid Regions


Types of Shrubland

Mediterranean – Hot dry summers, cool wet winters, sclerophyllous Vegetation


North American Chaparral – thicket of Shrubby Evergreen Oak, Active in Winter, Dormant in Summer, Scrub ak, Chamise


Northern Desert Scrub – Cold Desert of Great Basin, Sagebrush


Heathlands – Heath-like plants, sclerophyllous vegetation, Arctic Regions, NW Europe


Successional – Sumac, Alder, and Willow


Animals of a Given Region or Area


Jackrabbit, coyotes

Found in Chaparral and Desert Shrubs


< 10 Inches of Rain


Hot Summers


Poor Soil


Low Productivity

Types of Desert

North America

    Great Basin – Cold Desert, Sagebrush


    SW US – CAM Plants, Cactus (Giant Saguaro),        Yucca, Ephemeral Species, Lizards, Snakes,            Coyotes, Spadefoot Toda, Rodents (Kangaroo         Rat)


Treeless, Cold, Short Growing Season


Arctic – permafrost, dwarf shrub and heaths, lichen, moss, chusion plants, grass, and sedge


Alpine – no permafrost, wetter than Arctic

Types of Alpine Tundra

Western Mountains – Cushion, mat-forming plants, Marmots, Mountain Goats, Bighorn Sheep, and Pika


Appalachian – heaths and sedge meadows


Tropical – Rosette Plants

Types of Coniferous Forests

  1. Taiga
  2. Montane
  3. Southern Pine
  4. Temperate Rainforest


Boreal Forest


Not very productive

(little plant biomass produced each year)

Not very Diverse



Spruce, Fir, Larch, Pine, Birch, Aspen, Lichen, and Moss


Of, or related to, Northern Biotic Region
Taiga Fauna
Caribou, Moose, Snowshoe hare, and Lynx

Central Europe – Norway Spruce, Scots Pine


Rocky Mountains – Engelmann Spruce, Subalpine Fir, Douglas-fir, Ponderosa & Lodgepole Pines


Sierra Nevada & Cascades – Red Fir, Lodgepole Pine, Giant Sequoia, Sugar Pine, Ponderosa

Southern Pine

Coastal Plains – Pine

    Pine Barrens (NJ) – Dwarf Pine: pitch pine, dwarf blackjack oak


Southeastern Mixed – Oak and Pine

Temperate Rainforest

Pacific NW – Douglas Fir, Redwood (CA), Ferns, and Mosses


Fauna – Bear, Moose, Mountain Lion, Squirrel, and White-tailed Deer

Types of Temperate Broadleaf Forest

  1. Temperate Deciduous Forest
  2. Temperate Evergreen Forest
  3. Temperate Woodlands

Temperate Deciduous Forest


Eupore – Beech, oak, ash, birch, elm

North America – hemlock, northern hardwood forest, central hardwood forest

Hemlock Temperate Deciduous Forest
White Pine & Northern Hardwood Forest Mix
Northern Hardwood Forest – Temperate Deciduous Forest
Beech, maple, black cherry, red oak
Central Hardwood Forest – Temperate Deciduous Forest

Southern Slopes – Oak and Chestnut


Northern Slopes/Cloves – Tulip tree, high diversity of temperate tree species


Ozarks – oak and hickory

Temperate Evergreen Forest

Australia – Eucalyptus forest


Gulf Coast and Florida Everglades – Magnolia, live oak, Spanish moss, Palm

Temperate Woodlands
Oak, Oak-Juniper, and Pine-Juniper
Tropical Rainforest


Amazon Basin, Indo-Malaysian, West & Central Africa


Warm, Constant Temperature with 60 to 160 inches of rain

Flora – Broadleaf evergreen trees, Epiphytes, Lianas


Vegetation structure/stratification:

    Feeding Layers, Most Productive Ecosystem,         Infertile soil, nudtrients are in the vegetation     not soil, Organic matter decomposes quickly,     no significant litter layer

Mountain Rainforest/Cloud Forest

Shorter Trees with gnarles limbs


More even canopy

Tropical Seasonal Forest

Transitional – less rain, temperature more variable


Few trees lose leaves during dry period

Tropical Dry Forest

> 40 % tropical Forest


Most tropical forests are not rainforests


distinct wet and dry seasons


plants lose leaves during dry period

Lentic (Lacustrine)
Open Water Area
Zone of Lakes

Zones are relative to Light Compensation Points

Limnetic – Light Penetrates

Profundal – Deep water, without Light




Zoo Plankton – Rotifers, copepods


Phytoplankton – Blue-green Algae, Green Algae, Diatoms


Free Swimming Organisms


E.g. Fish, large Invertebrates


Organisms associated with Surface of Lake


E.g.  Water striders


Bottom (on or in)




Profundal benthos

Littoral benthos

Margin of Lake



Types:  Muddy and Oozy, Rocky and Sandy Shores

Large Plants in a Lake
Types of Macrophytes

  1. Emergent – e.g. reeds, cattails, bulruches
  2. Floating – rooted – e.g. water lilies, pondweeds
  3. Free-floating – (surface) – e.g. duckweed
  4. Free-floating – (submerged) – e.g. hornwort
  5. Submerged-rooted – e.g. Chara, Elodea


Lacustrine Succession

  1. Bare bottom and Open Water – pioneer stage
  2. Submergent Vegetation and Phytoplankton (Algae)
  3. Emergent Vegetation
  4. Temporary Pond
  5. Marsh
  6. Grassland – Prairie, meadow
  7. Forest


Littoral Fauna


Dragonflies, mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, midges, backsimmers, water strider, and diving beetle



Physical Features of Lakes

  1. Light
  2. Temperature


     Zones: euphotic, disphotic, and aphotic

     Light Compensation Point



Thermal Stratification: epilimnion, metalimnion, hypolimnion

Dimictic Lakes: 2 mixing periods/overturns

Formation of Lakes

  1. Glaciers – e.g. Kettle Lakes
  2. Ice Scour – e.g. Finger Lakes, Great Lakes
  3. Tectonic Lakes – e.g. Rift Lakes, Lake Tahoe
  4. Volcanic Lakes – e.g. Crater Lake
  5. Riverine Lakes – Oxbow Lakes, Floodplain Lake
  6. Coastal Impoundment – e.g. Coast of S Africa
  7. Organic Origins – e.g. Hoover Dam

Major Lakes

  1. Caspian Sea – Largest Inland body of Water
  2. Dead Sea – Most concentrated natural salt Lake in world, Lowest point on Earth
  3. Great Salt Lake
  4. Baikal – Largest (Volume) Deepest
  5. The Great Lakes – e.g. Superior (Largest in Surface Area), Michigan
  6. Aral Sea

Salt Marshes

Associated with Estuaries, Flooded daily by tides, High Productivity, Low Diversity, and Food web Changes with Tide


Flora – Saltwater Cordgrass


Fauna – Fiddler Crab, ribbed mussel, and Marsh Periwinkle



E.g. – River deltas, bays, lagoons


Primarily marine, benthic organisms (e.g. Oysters)


Salinity Stratification

Coral Reefs

Warm, shallow, nutrient-deficient seas


Very productive, high biodiversity


Living Coral, Coralline red algae, foraminifera, mollusks

Why do Streams Exist?

  1. Surface Water
  2. Channels
  3. Slope or Gradiant

Area or River where a water stream drains
Stream Order

Stream Orders from 1 to 3 = Headwater Streams

Stream Orders from 4 to 6 = Mid Size Streams

Stream Orders from 6 and Above are Larger Streams

Major Rivers

  1. Nile – Longest River
  2. Mississippi/Missouri River – 12 miles shorter than Nile
  3. Amazon River – Widest River
  4. Colorado – Drains into the Pacific Ocean
  5. Columbia/Snake
  6. St. Lawrence

Stream Physical Features

  1. Flow
  2. Pools and Riffles


Must be moving and it Meanders

Water flows the fastest in the Center of the River

Benthic Structures of Streams

  1. Sandy Benthic
  2. Bedrock Benthic
  3. Gravel and Rubble Benthic – Most productive becuase of small spaces for small organisms to hide


Detritus of Streams

  1. CPOM – Coarse Particulate Organic Matter – Size is anything > 1 mm in Diameter (e.g. trees, woods, plants, leaves)
  2. FPOM – Fine Particulate Organic Matter – Size range from .5 mm to 1 mm (e.g. invertebrates that live in small spaces)  Some of these particles can actually move out and dissolve into UPOM
  3. UPOM – Ultrafine Particulate Organic Matter – Size is < .5 mm and Particles generally do not dissolve at this level