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  1. 1. Riparian Zone Retreat and population studies Sarah Rowe Honors Bio II Period 1
  2. 2. Great Blue Heron Ardea Herodias <ul><li>Great Blue Herons need to live near a source of water like a river, lake edge, marsh, swamp or even a saltwater seacoast. They nest in bushes or trees near the water. </li></ul><ul><li>The Great Blue Heron depends on other animals that live near water for their prey. Some of these animals include frogs, fish like catfish, bass, and chub, crayfish, turtles, newts and some water snacks. The Heron doesn’t have many predators, just the red-tailed hawk, raccoons and the red fox. </li></ul><ul><li>Hunting is done mainly in the morning and at dusk when fishing is best. They prefer to hunt alone, even though they breed in colonies and sleep with large flocks during the day. They are also extremely territorial. </li></ul><ul><li>The Great Blue Heron can grow up to four feet and have a wingspan of 6 feet. They have long, rounded wings, long bills that taper to a point and short tails. They also have long spread out toes so that they don’t sink into the mud. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Factors which Affect Birth Rate of the Great Blue Heron <ul><li>Usually breed from March to May in the Northern part of their range and November through April in the Southern hemisphere </li></ul><ul><li>Breed once a year </li></ul><ul><li>Become sexually mature around 22 months of age </li></ul><ul><li>Females lay between 2 and 7 eggs which are pale blue, birds living further North sometimes produce more </li></ul><ul><li>Parents take turns sitting on the nest to keep eggs warm </li></ul><ul><li>Eggs hatch after 26 to 30 days of incubation </li></ul><ul><li>Both parents feed and care for young until their ready to leave </li></ul><ul><li>Babies are ready to leave the nest around two months and survive on their own </li></ul>
  4. 4. Factors Which Affect the Death Rate of Assigned Animal <ul><li>Predator-prey relationship with fish, frogs, small mammals, reptiles, crayfish, large insects and sometimes other birds </li></ul><ul><li>Share a mutalistic relationship with the Double-crested Cormorant. These birds and geese also use the Heron’s nest as shelter after the heron has abandoned it </li></ul><ul><li>Crows and Ravens eat eggs </li></ul><ul><li>Eagles, raccoons, bears, turkey vultures and hawks prey on young birds and sometimes adults </li></ul><ul><li>Abandon the area they live in if adult or young has been killed </li></ul><ul><li>Average lifespan is 15 years old </li></ul><ul><li>69% of great blue herons born will die before they’re one year old </li></ul><ul><li>Over population is usually not a problem </li></ul>
  5. 5. Food Chain of the Great Blue Heron Producer Green Algae Autotroph Primary Consumer Wood Frog Omnivore Secondary Consumer Great Blue Heron Omnivore Tertiary Consumer Red Fox Carnivore <ul><li>Green algae, a producer is consumed by the wood frog. The wood frog is an omnivore that consumes both plants and animals. It is a primary consumer of algae. The Great Blue Heron who is also an omnivore and secondary consumer, sometimes consumes the wood frog as its prey. The red fox only consumes animals and the great blue heron is one of it’s food sources. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Food Web of the Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron omnivore herbivore omnivore omnivore carnivore omnivore carnivore carnivore omnivore omnivore
  7. 7. Population Sampling Techniques <ul><li>Prey ratio and mark and recapture are two types of population sampling techniques. </li></ul><ul><li>Mark and recapture is a common population sampling technique. It would work best for sampling the population of Great Blue Heron. This technique requires the capture and some kind of mark put onto the animal who is then let back into the wild. After some time passes, animals are recaptured in the same area. After a few times of doing this, researchers can calculate the population of the whole species. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Stream Quality Data & Analysis <ul><li>The graph represents that the stream has good water quality. </li></ul><ul><li>There is a large number of class one organisms which shows that the stream is generally pollution-intolerant. If class two or three organisms were the majority found, it could mean there is pollution in the water. </li></ul><ul><li>These stream conditions are great for the Great Blue Heron. A great majority of their food comes from in and around a water source. A stream with lower class organisms could contain pollution which would directly or indirectly affect the Heron. </li></ul><ul><li>If the majority of organisms found were in class III, it would show that something was wrong with the ecosystem and would greatly affect the Great Blue Heron. The stream would have pollution which would cause many class I organisms to parish which in turn would hurt fish, toads, frogs, etc. that survive on those organisms. The Great Blue Heron which uses those consumers as a food source would then be affected. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Water Testing Data & Analysis <ul><li>Phosphates and nitrates are important in the soil for plant growth but are not wanted in the water. pH levels can indicate if the water is too acidic or basic. Dissolved oxygen is very important to the organism live in the water. Turbidity needs to be clear for many reasons. Low turbidity can cause buildup in the water which can collect on rocks, interfere with organisms that breathe through gills and not allow as much sunlight through the water. </li></ul><ul><li>Ideal range for nitrates and phosphates is 0. Dissolved oxygen should be between 6-10 or higher. pH level should be between 6.5-7.5. </li></ul><ul><li>The Great Blue Heron would not be able to survive near mine or marsh water. It would need an ideal riparian area like the stream. The organisms on which it feeds off of are all connected to the water so they would need to be in good water quality. </li></ul><ul><li>Water temperature should be cold. Warm water doesn’t have enough dissolved oxygen to maintain many organisms. </li></ul><ul><li>Farm runoff can be a big problem in streams. The fertilizers used in farms contain chemicals like nitrates and phosphates which can run into the stream and affect the water quality. A solution could be a fence so that farm animals cannot get near the stream. Mine drainage is also a problem with runoff into streams. Fresh water ponds and limestone beds can decrease the acidity of mine water and clean it so that it can be a healthy place for organisms to live once again. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Soil Testing & Analysis <ul><li>Phosphorus encourages plant growth because its an essential nutrient. It’s also a major building block of DNA and important in root growth. Nitrogen is important to plant metabolism. It increases protein in plant content. Potash stimulates flowering and is needed in photosynthesis to make sugars. </li></ul><ul><li>pH needs to be at a correct level which controls how well plants utilize nutrients available to them. If it’s too acidic or too basic, it would be able to do so. Nitrogen, Potash and Phosphorus need to be ideal levels so that the soil and plants have enough nutrients. </li></ul><ul><li>pH: 6-8 </li></ul><ul><li>Potash, Phosphorus and nitrogen should be at medium levels </li></ul><ul><li>If chemical levels are out of their ideal ranges it can be damaging to both plants and organisms. Their environment wouldn’t be fit to suit them anymore and it could result in death. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Positive and Negative Factors <ul><li>The current stream conditions would suit the Great Blue Heron. The organisms which they eat and the environment in which they live near the stream would be well suited for them. The marsh and mine water however would not be able to support the Blue Heron. Organisms which they feed on would not be able to survive in those water types resulting in a great decrease in prey for the species. </li></ul><ul><li>Soil conditions at the riparian zone should be in their ideal ranges to support the Blue Heron well. If conditions are not right it would affect their food source and the growth of plants which they use for shelter. All aspects of the Great Blue Heron’s life revolve around a source of water so it is crucial that the water source is well maintained. </li></ul><ul><li>Positive factors that would affect the ecosystem and the life of the Great Blue Heron would be the correct chemicals in the soil to provide nutrients to plants for growth and ideal water conditions in the riparian zone. Some negative effects would be abandon mine runoff, pollution in the streams, high turbidity in the water, etc. These factors would greatly harm the life of a Heron. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Conclusion <ul><li>I learned that the conditions of streams and riparian zones affect way more than just the organisms that live directly in or around them. I found it interesting to learn how many different organisms there are just in a stream and riparian zone and how they each have their own role which is important in the ecosystem. An environmental topic that I would like to further research would be the conservation of wildlife like the research and steps they take to maintain the species. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Works Cited <ul><li>Dinsmore, James J. &quot;Heron.&quot; World Book Online Reference Center . 2009. [Place of access.]  5 May 2009 <>. </li></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul><ul><li>Raikow, Robert J. &quot;heron.&quot; Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia . 2009. Grolier Online. 7 May 2009 <>. </li></ul>
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