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To facilitate you pulling all the concepts of this course together and in lieu of a midterm exam you will create a systems diagram of an ecosystem of your choice accompanied by a written narrative describing the system in detail. To go about this assignment:
a. select an ecological system… agricultural fields… wetlands.. local parks… your favorite area to hike… family farm/ranch… any ecological system you can visit.. take pictures on your visit.
b. make a list of detailed list biotic and abiotic components in that system.
c. make a list of interactions among those biotic and abiotic components
d. make a list of controls of the interactions between the biotic and abiotic components
e. draw a diagram of the system… components connected by interactions and controls. (see examples below)
f. write a narrative explaining the systems diagram… including a section on what might happen in the system if there were a disturbance such as fire or invasive species.
It is critical that you include many of the concepts conveyed in the first 4 weeks of this course… use the correct terminology. Matter of fact, I highly recommend you go through each week and note how all the concepts relate to your selected ecosystem.
This assignment will be graded on how thoroughly and accurately you’ve covered your ecosystem in relation to the concepts we’ve covered.
Your final project should include:
systems diagram (See attachments – example 2,3,4)
written narrative describing the systems diagram IN DETAIL, and in this written narrative pictures you took on your visit to the site should be referenced and included as inline pictures (placed within the narrative) or an appendix of pictures.
Note this is NOT an artistic exercise. Do not draw a picture, but rather a diagram of a systems components and call out interactions and controls. Think about the water and nutrient cycles – think about individual species biology, population ecology and community ecology, then think about disturbance in your system. You are not expected to cover everything in your system, but it is expected that your submission reflect that you spent time thinking about your system.