Monday, December 6, 2010

Pond,by William and Brad

Figure 1. A sign in front of the pond
in Nose Hill. It shows a map of the
park and describes the rules of the park
            Nose Hill Natural Environment Park is a park located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 51°, 7 minutes north and 114°, 7 minutes west. The park has an area of 11.27 km2 and is a natural environment park which is commonly regarded as a retreat from city life and a place to enjoy nature by the citizens of Calgary. The park is home to many species of mammals and birds, as well as reptiles and insects.The park is almost 30 years old and is a host to many kinds of ecological biomes including ponds, forests and grasslands.

The focus of this blog will be onthe aspects of the pond located at an altitude of 1152 meters above sea level, at latitude of 51.6°, 6.59 minutes north and a longitude of 114°, 8.31 minutes west. The pond is a stormwater wet pond and is home to many insects; however a flock of ducks also calls the pond home. Organisms that were confirmed to be present due to being collected as samples include, freshwater shrimp, mayfly larvae, damselfly larvae, leeches, caddisfly larvae, snails, phantom midges, predacious water beetle larvae and water boatmen (which are a type of diving beetle).

            These organisms were observed under a few conditions, the first one being at 9:50 AM at nosehill pond, when we had just collected the first sample. They were not very active and interacted very little with their surroundings (we placed aquatic plants with them, which were later used as more samples). The second time the organisms were observed was when we collected another sample of different organisms from the same section of the pond. The only difference between these two samples was a temperature change of about 2.5°C. However, in the second sample, the organisms were observed to be much more active. They interacted with each other, as well as with their environment much more than the first sample. The final time the organisms were observed was in the lab. The lab was about 21°C, which is about 13 degrees warmer than the warmest temperature recorded at nosehill. Both of the organisms from our first sample and our second sample were observed at this time. These organisms exhibited hyperactivity, despite being a in a plastic bag for over 4 days. They interacted with their surroundings very actively, as well as with each other.

Clearly the data collected in the observation above says something significant about the effects of temperature on organisms. The temperature is directly linked to the amount of activity from collected organisms. Since the lighting was about the same for the entire session at nosehill, and the lighting at the lab is about as bright as the lighting at nosehill on the day we performed our research, temperature remains to be the only strong factor for these observations. The tables below show data collected about the temperature of the pond during the early morning of September 22, 2010.

Water Temperature (°C)
Ground Temperature (°C)
Air Temperature (°C)
9:50 AM
10:25 AM

Table 1. Average temperatures taken at different times in the morning

Ground Temperature 30 cm from water (°C)
Ground Temperature at edge of water (°C)
Ground Temperature 15 cm into water (°C)
9:50 AM
10:25 AM

Figure 3. A photo of ducks at Nose Hill pond.
Table 2. The ground temperatures at different areas by the pond in the morning, as well as the time they were taken at.

Figure 2. A photo of a group of deer sighted
as the temperature increased.
            As shown on the tables, the temperature change from 9:50 AM to 10:25 AM was about an average of 2.5°C.  All of the organisms reacted to this temperature change, which is proved by the more frequent sightings of birds as the temperature increased, as well as much more frequent sightings of mammals and amphibians. A group of deer are shown in Figure 2. They were observed at around 10:35 AM as they moved from the pond to another area of the park. Other animals    Figure 2. A photo of a group of deer sighted such as the ducks in Figure 3 were also        as the temperature increased.
observed becoming more and more active as the temperature became warmer. Mice were also observed moving around as the temperature increased. They appeared as extremely fast black dots in the grass. They were so fast that we could not take our cameras out to take photos of them before they whizzed away. All of these organisms were affected similarly by temperature. There were differences, however they were not major. The general theme that was observed repeating for all the organisms we studied was that the temperature affected their activity levels.     Figure 3. A photo of ducks at nosehill pond.
The higher the temperature, the more active all of the animals were. This did not change for any of the species observed. Keep in mind that the organisms did not have a sudden spike of activity the moment the temperature hit a certain level. They became more active over time, eventually shifting from passively hiding in the grass to actively interacting with their surroundings. They did not have equal reactions with the surroundings either. Some organisms did not have large reactions when the temperature changed,
Figure 4. A photo of a salamander that was
found at Nose Hill park.
others did. The organism with the biggest reaction to temperature was the salamander that we collected, which can be seen in Figure 4. At 8°C the salamander was moving at a very slow rate, probably at about half a meter every minute. However, once the temperature increased the salamanders pace picked up
considerably. This occurred when it was brought into the lab and was warmed up.   It moved at over 3 times the speed that it  was moving at when it was found at nosehill park. Other species, such as the damselfly larvae, did not have such a large reaction to temperature. Although it did become more active, it did not begin moving at 3 times its pace while cold.

            Another observation that was noted was that the population of the organisms in the first sample we collected, compared to the second sample that was collected was that there were about 3 times the amount of organisms in the second sample (the one collected at a warmer temperature), than in the first sample (the one collected at a colder temperature). This is probably related to the activity of the organisms and is definitely an important factor in our study.

            As the observations suggest, temperature has a large effect on the way organisms behave. Higher temperatures increase both the amount of activity from the organisms and the population of them, while lower temperatures decrease these values. The amount of species that can also be seen also increases as the temperature increases. Temperature changes have the ability to change the way an ecosystem behaves by altering the behaviour of predators or prey, as well as changing the population of the ecosystem. This is a very important factor in the reason why an ecosystem behaves in a certain way and should definitely be studied to a degree that is much higher than the one that this study has performed.

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