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Contents
1.  What you can do
2.  Water
3.  Ecology
4.  Amphibians
5.  Environmental Issues
6.  Keystone species
7.  Get Wet!-
     Field Study Ideas

8.  The Zoo Experience
9.  Frogs & Friends
10. Case Studies
11. Resources
12. Glossary

Wetland Curriculum Resource
Unit 3. Wetland Ecology - Answers and Notes for Educators

3.1. There's No Place Like Home

  1. Producers - aquatic plants and algae
    Consumers - invertebrates, fish, snail
    Decomposers - bacteria (from bottom muck)
  2. Oxygen, carbon dioxide, temperature, pH, and light.

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3.3 Swamped!

  1. Insects, deer, woodpeckers, and the beaver.
  2. When dead trees decay, they return nutrients to the ecosystem. Standing dead trees provide perching and/or resting spots and vantage points for numerous birds. The insects they harbour serve as a food source for woodpeckers. Mammals such as raccoons and porcupines use them to den in.
  3. The result of cutting down the trees would be:
    1. habitat loss for vast numbers of organisms; this includes nesting, feeding, breeding, and resting areas
    2. extensive erosion from wind and water
    3. flooding
    4. loss of recreational enjoyment
  4. Trees are a valuable renewable resource and our lives depend on them. However, proper management will only secure trees in the future. For every tree that is cut down, two trees should be planted to replace it. Because of their importance to an ecosystem, the decision to cut down any tree should always be given careful consideration. In a swamp area, the value of trees to the ecosystem may outweigh any commercial value gained in harvesting them.

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3.4 Light My Fire

  1. Oxygen is clear, colourless, and odourless.
  2. It caused the glowing splint to burst into flame.
  3. Oxygen is one of the very few gases that will cause a glowing splint to burst into flame. Air will not.
  4. The control was needed to ensure that the source of oxygen is photosynthesis, not the air or water.

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3.7 Ranagade Retreat

  1. In nature, in order to maintain a balanced ecosystem more prey species have to be available to predators. Because energy is lost as you move up a food chain, predators need to consume large numbers of prey to satisfy their appetites.
  2. Usually standing still. In nature, most wetland animals rely on camouflage because they cannot leave the wetland and the area has a limited number of hiding spots.
  3. Camouflage allows them to wait for unsuspecting prey, plus animals feed on prey in which they are specifically adapted to eat.

    For example:
    Blue Heron - long beak for piercing fish
    Mink - canine teeth for tearing
    Bullfrog - broad mouth for large prey
    Marsh Hawk - hooked beak for ripping
    Snapping Turtle - powerful jaws for holding

  4. In order to be successful at capturing prey, predators had to evolve better methods of capturing prey. There are 3 methods of capturing prey: a) pursuing; b) stalking or searching and c) ambushing (sit still and wait for prey).

These methods take into account 2 factors, time and energy. Pursuers use up very little time when searching for food because they usually know the location of prey. However, they use up much energy in capturing prey and therefore must secure relatively large prey. Searchers spend more time and energy encountering prey, but can afford to take smaller prey. Ambushers require more time to obtain food but can afford a low frequency of success, because hunting by ambush requires minimal amounts of energy. However, their prey must be large enough to meet their energy requirements.

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3.8 Food for Thought

  1. Plants are called producers because they use the sun's energy to produce their own food.
  2. Less energy is available to each organism as you move up the food chain. This is evident because it takes the energy of many producers to support fewer and fewer consumers (10% of the energy is utilized at each level of consumption). If the sun produces 1000 units of energy, 100 are utilized at stage 1, and 10% at subsequent transfers of energy.
  3. A scavenger ingests dead organisms. A decomposer lives in or on food supplies and absorbs organic energy not harvested by consumers, leaving inorganic elements to the environment for recycling.

Extension questions:

  1. Ratio of third-order consumers to producers = 1:1000
  2. Ratio of first-order consumers to third-order consumers = 100:1
  3. 10 dragonflies
  4. 200 units
  5. A total of 3000 (500 x 6) garter snakes and leopard frogs would feed 6 bullfrogs over one year.

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3.9 One Thing After Another

  1. Natural factors - disease, insects, fire, climate, animal activity (eg. beavers), flooding, drought.
  2. Human activities - dredging, draining, filling in, trampling of vegetation, cutting of mature vegetation

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