requires you to go to a local open space area to make observations about the ecosystem and the organisms that live there. You will use those observations to identify the organisms found in the community, make a food web, and consider how changes to the climate could alter the community of organisms that live there. To assess the work you have done, you will need to write up a report and include all of the information you have gathered (including photos of the identified organisms). The report must also include all answers for all of the assignment questions. All steps detailed below must completed to receive full credit. If you skip any steps you will only receive credit for the work you have completed.
1) Pick a local open space preserve or county/state park. It needs to be a park that has wild areas with native plants and animals around. Developed community parks with mowed lawns and cultivated trees won’t work for this assignment. Identify the kind of ecosystem you are visiting: Desert, chaparral, mountain forest, riparian….etc
2) Once you get to the park, find a hike or short walk to go on. While on your walk, find 5 different plants/alga to identify & 5 different animals (10 things total).
Take a picture or draw a detailed sketch of the plants/animals. Do your best to include a good picture of both the leaves, stems and flowers (if they have any). You may need a series of photos to accomplish this
Take time to observe any animals that are interacting with the plants or near by in the environment. If possible try to get a photo of these organisms too. The goal is to observe 5 different animals on or near the plants too.
3) You need to identify the organisms you’ve found. If you are some place with a visitors center, someone might be able to help you. Otherwise, try using an app like iNaturalist (this is a free app).
You can download this app to your phone and upload your photos to the app. It can help ID the organisms you’ve found.Another app that can help identify leaves (only) is: leafsnap (http://leafsnap.com/)
Once you have the organisms identified, you need to record both their scientific and common names.
4) After identifying the organisms, create/illustrate a food web to show how these organisms fit together in the ecosystem.
5) If you did not see any top level (3/tertiary consumers) come up with 3 more organisms that could be found in the environment and include them in your food web too.
6) Lastly, imagine that over time the climate changes in this region, and it becomes warmer with more unpredictable rain (could rain less in winter, more in summer or maybe rain very infrequently, but when it does is torrential). How would a change in climate affect the food web you created? What animals and plants would be negatively affected and which ones would be positively affected?
I went to Mission Trails Regional Park and got pictures of the plants and animals and the assignment has to be based on the pictures that I took.