Challenge 4 - Home is Where the Habitat is

Each ecosystem is unique, composed of a series of biotic and abiotic components that play a role in the composition of species that call that ecosystem home. The features of these ecosystems are generally dynamic, changing over the course of time, but can be studied to provide insight into what is best suited to live there.

For example, features such as soil composition, tree size, the presence or absence of dead standing trees, the amount of canopy cover, and the underlying topography can indicate the age and stage of succession that a forest is in.

In our fourth Ontario Envirothon Challenge, you are tasked with identifying any wild plant, fungus, or animal that catches your attention. Unlike other challenges, this one does not rely on identifying the species but identifying features of its ecosystem. These components can help paint a grander picture as to why those specific plants, fungi, or animals prefer that habitat.

Questions to ask yourself when collecting observations for this challenge may include:

  • What does the soil feel like? Is it sandy? Loamy?
  • Is the soil compacted, or loose?
  • What does the plant litter look like?
  • Is there a source of water nearby? How large is it?
  • Is this a wetland? If so, what type?
  • What is the topography – is there a hill?
  • Is this a forest? If so, are the trees large, or small? Is there an established shrub and/or ground layer? Is there woody debris on the ground?
  • Is this a location that gets full sun, partial sun, or little to no sun?
  • .... and anything else you view as significant!
If you have issues identifying what you have found, be sure to take multiple pictures of it! That way, others can better assist you in your identification. Here are some resources that may assist in identifying ecosystem features.

This week's challenge has been sponsored by Enbridge and Maple Leaves Forever.

GOALS
Envirothon Teams

As a team, collectively make 10 observations of any wild plant, fungus, or animal. Each observation must have a minimum of 3 notes on features of the habitat or ecosystem that the observation was made in.

Individual Participants
Individually, make 4 observations of any wild plant, fungus, or animal. Each observation must have a minimum of 3 notes on features of the habitat or ecosystem that the observation was made in.

Publicado por braymade braymade, 15 de abril de 2021

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