Sci/256 Week 2 Discussion Question
Identify a natural ecosystem in which you live or one near to where you live? How does this ecosystem support you? At what trophic level are you? Why? An ecosystem (2011), according to Merriam Webster Learners Dictionary, is everything that exists in a particular environment. An ecosystem includes living things, such as plants and animals, and things that are not living, such as rocks, soil, sunlight, and water.
One such example of a natural ecosystem is the George Mitchell Nature Preserve in Creekside Village in the Woodlands, TX. Thewoodlandstx. com (2011) website illustrates that the George Mitchell Nature Preserve is part of the Montgomery County Spring Creek Greenway, which will connect and protect up to 12,000 acres of forest on both sides of Spring Creek. The Mitchell Preserve covers nearly 1,700 acres, and opened on October 19th, 2007. The natural ecosystem of this nature preserve can support humans in many ways.
For example, the Spring Creek watershed currently contains tens of thousands of acres of bottomland hardwood forest and various edible plants. It also provides homes to wildlife, creates recreation opportunities such as hiking and biking trails, reducing flooding, and improving air quality (Montgomery County Precinct 3, 2011). Not to mention, the preserve increases real estate values and community pride, reduces pollution, and lowers air temperature. Second, wildlife in the nature preserve offers many to take the chance to bird watch.
The forests along Spring Creek provide a crucial stopover point for migratory songbirds, where they can rest and refuel after crossing the Gulf of Mexico on their annual spring migration from Central and South America (Montgomery County Precinct 3, 2011). Many species of fish live in the lake year-round including catfish, crappie, and bass. White bass migrate through during springtime, and all are available for fishing. Last, the preserve offers an exceptional educational benefit.
Several elementary, middle, and high schools have taken field trips learning about Spring Creek, the preserve, nature, and the benefits it has to offer to the public. A trophic level (2011) according to Encyclopedia Britannica, is a step in the nutritive series, or food chain, in the ecosystem. We as humans eat plants and animals, also considered omnivores. This in terms puts us at the third trophic level. However, several humans who are vegan would be considered second trophic level consumers because they eat only produce.
Though it may sound simple, the food chains and food webs are often complex and difficult to analyze. The ecosystem is natural and living. As humans, we are as very much a part of the ecosystem as plants and animals, along with other organisms and bacteria. Although we expend plants and animals as third trophic level consumers and depend on them for survival, we must also take into consideration that the first, second, and fourth trophic level consumers also rely on the ecosystem for survival as well. Thus meaning ecosystems are essential for all life on earth.
References Ecosystem. ( 2011). In Merriam Webster Learners Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www. learnersdictionary. com/search/ecosystem Montgomery County Precinct 3. (2011). Spring Creek Greenway. Retrieved from http://www. springcreekgreenway. org/the_creek. htm Thewoodlandstx. com. (2011). The Woodlands TX. Retrieved from http://www. thewoodlandstx. com/parks/george-mitchell-nature-preserve. php Trophic Level. ( 2011). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/606492/trophic-level