Northern River Otter<br />Biology I ~ Pd. 4<br />By: Mikayla Baker<br />
Otter’s Niche<br /><ul><li>Northern river otters are semi-aquatic mammals with long, sleek, dark brown bodies, thick tails, rounded heads, whiskers, and stubby legs with webbed feet. Their soft, thick fur causes them to generate their own heat in water. Their length ranges from 46.81-71.14in., and their weight ranges from 11-30.81 lbs. Males are usually larger than females.
Live in freshwater and coastal habitats where there is an abundant supply of food and easy access to water. They build dens consisting of leaves, grass, moss, and bark in the boroughs of other mammals.
They can withstand a variety of environments, such as warm and cold climates and high elevations.
Mate in late winter and early spring. The gestation period may last from two months to a year. One to six offspring are usually reproduced per litter. For six months, the offspring are nursed and cared for until they leave their natal range. </li></ul>Lontra Canadensis<br />
paws, playing tag, and wrestling.<br /> <br />paws, playing tag, and wrestling.<br /> <br />Food Chain of Otter<br /><ul><li>Mostly like to eat aquatic invertebrates, small terrestrial organisms (on occasion), and aquatic plants.
Otters hunt on water and land. They use their whiskers to detect prey in dark waters. Prey is usually taken back immediately to the water to eat, but larger prey is eaten on land.
Preyed upon by coyotes, bobcats, alligators, and other large predators. Most of the time, they escape predation with their agility in the water and their vigilance on land.</li></ul>Macroalgae<br />(Producer)<br />(Autotroph)<br />Crab<br />(Primary Consumer)<br />(Omnivore)<br />Northern River Otter <br />(Secondary Consumer)<br />(Omnivore)<br />Bobcat<br />(Tertiary Consumer)<br />(Carnivore)<br />Bacteria<br />(Decomposer)<br />
Food Web of Otter<br />Macro invertebrate<br />(Herbivore)<br />Bird<br />(Omnivore)<br />Northern River Otter<br />(Omnivore)<br />Macroalgae<br />(Producer)<br />Alligator<br />(Carnivore)<br />Bacteria<br />(Decomposer)<br />Coyote<br />(Carnivore)<br />Bobcat<br />(Carnivore)<br />Crab<br />(Omnivore)<br />
Stream Quality Effects<br /><ul><li>The graph shows there is a great number of Class I organisms in the stream, which indicates that it’s not polluted.
A great number of organisms in Class I= An unpolluted, clean stream
A great number of organisms in Class II=A partially polluted stream
A great number of organisms in Class III=A highly polluted stream
These conditions are perfect for northern river otters to live and hunt in.</li></li></ul><li>Water Testing Data<br />If a stream consists of a high level of nitrates, it will have an overgrowth of vegetation, which takes up the oxygen supply. A low level of nitrates shows that there’s not much vegetation growth within the stream. The average level of nitrates at Powdermill is 0mg/L.. Some changes to maintain this is to cut down on some of the fertilizer used in agriculture that seeps into run-off and groundwater.<br />A stream consisting of a high level of oxygen will allow aquatic organisms to survive. A low level of oxygen shows a pollution problem and not as many aquatic organisms. The average level of dissolved oxygen at Powdermill is 10mg/L.. Some changes to maintain this to keep the stream’s temperature low by growing a lot of trees near the stream to shade it.<br />
More Water Testing!<br />A stream consisting a pH level from 8 to 14 is considered as basic, and a range from 1 to 6 is considered acidic. The neutral range in order for most aquatic organisms to survive is 6.5 to 7.5. The average pH level at Powdermill is 6.8. Some changes to maintain this is to limit the amount of pollutants that go into the stream.<br />A stream with a high level of phosphates also shows an overgrowth of vegetation. A low level of phosphates indicates low growth of vegetation. The average level of phosphates at Powdermill is 0 mg/L. Some changes to maintain this is to lower the use of fertilizers in agriculture that comes seeps into run-off and groundwater. <br />A stream’s levels of turbidity and temperature also affect the ecosystem. Turbidity can affect a predator’s ability to hunt its prey and a plant’s ability to photosynthesize without sunlight. Temperature can affect the amount of dissolved oxygen in a stream, which affects the population of aquatic organisms. <br />
Otter's Survival<br />In the stream, the otter wouldn’t be able to hunt much, because of the overgrowth of vegetation caused by the high levels of nitrates and phosphates and the low pH level.<br />In the marsh, the otter might not be able to hunt and live there, because even though there’s a great level of dissolved oxygen, it would be sensitive to the acidity of the water. Also, the somewhat high levels of phosphates and nitrates would cause an overgrowth of vegetation and make it difficult for the otter to hunt it’s prey in the water.<br />In the mine water, the otter would be able to live and hunt there, because the somewhat low levels of nitrates and phosphates would limit the growth of vegetation, making it easier for the otter to hunt in the water. The pH level is somewhat neutral. It also has great level of dissolved oxygen.<br />
(+) & (-) Effects on Riparian Zone<br /><ul><li>Some positive factors on the riparian ecosystem include the growth of vegetation, the increasing population of pollutant-intolerant species in streams, limited use of fertilizers in agriculture, and the construction of watersheds.
Some negative factors on the riparian ecosystem include the increasing population of pollutant-tolerant species, pollutants added into the rivers, water seeping through underground mines and bringing nitrates into the streams, and burning fossil fuels and vegetation.
We can preserve the cleanliness of the streams by limiting the burning of fossil fuels and vegetation, lowering the use of fertilizers in agriculture, clean up our underground mines, and setting up reserves in unpopulated areas.
These changes would all help the northern river otter continue to live and hunt in freshwater streams, help the otter population survive, and save their current habitats.</li></li></ul><li>What I've learned...<br /><ul><li>I learned that the population of certain species in an area can indicate certain factors about the area.
I thought that it was interesting how energy passes through the food chain.
I may want to research other ways that we can safely control our climate problems and the number of organism extinctions.</li></li></ul><li>Works Cited<br /><ul><li>AP Images