Application 02

Environmental Science

Environmental Analysis

Note: include 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b, and 3 in your report. The rest is for reference.

1 - Ecosystems and Succession

  Background (For your information - do not place in report)

Ecological Succession is a series of environmental changes or stages which occur in all ecosystems. The stages that any ecosystem passes through are predictable. There two fundamental types of succession primary and secondary. Primary succession is the series of community changes which occur on an entirely new habitat which has never been colonized before. For example, a newly quarried rock face, sand dunes or farmland that has been farmed but now left dormant.




          Secondary succession is the series of community changes which take place on a previously colonized, but disturbed or
          damaged habitat. For example, after felling trees in a woodland, land clearance or a fire.





         Frederic Clements, believed that these environmental changes or stages were highly predictable and culminated in a   
          climatically determined stable climax community as illustrated in the diagram.




Fundamentals of an Aquatic Ecosystem                                                                                                                                                  


                                                                       Picture A      



                                                                    Picture B  


                                                                       Picture C                                        


Activity - Place in your report

a. The above pictures indicates aquatic succession. Determine the stage of succession, Early, Mid, Late or   
limax, for each picture and explain your criterion for your selection of each stage of pond succession.

    Record answers in chart provided. (Copy and paste into your report)                                                                                                                       




Criterion - Plants or Animals Present














Fundamentals of an Field Ecosystem


         b. The above picture is of an abandoned Farm Field.  (note this field was once stripped and left)   

               1) Determine the type succession of succession - Primary or Secondary ___________________                  

               2) Determine the current succession stage of succession - Early, Mid, or Climax_____________    

       3) List the plants and animals and other factors that would be observed to support the stage selected.



The following four pictures, of a pond, illustrate the various stages of succession. Study the pond
 descriptions and answer the questions.







Cattails, bulrushes, and water lilies grow in the pond. These plants have their roots in the bottom of the pond, but they can reach above the surface of the water. This pond is an ideal habitat for the animals that must climb to the surface for oxygen. Aquatic insect larvae are abundant. They serve as food for larger insects, which in turn are food for crayfish, frogs, salamanders, and turtles.




Plankton growth is rich enough to support animals that entered when the pond was connected to the lake. Fish make nests on the sandy bottom. Mussels crawl over the bottom.




Decayed bodies of plants and animals form a layer of humus over the bottom of the pond. Chara, a branching green algae, covers the humus. Fish that build nests on the bare bottom have been replaced by those that lay their eggs on the Chara.




The pond is so filled with vegetation that there are no longer any large areas of open water. Instead, the pond is filled with grasses. The water dries up during the summer months.



            c. Answer the Following Questions in your seminar report.

    1) Write the letters of the ponds in order from the youngest, to the oldest.

    2) Black bass and bluegill make their nests on sandy bottoms. In which pond would you find them?

    3) What will happen to the fish as the floor of the ponds fills with organic debris?

    4) In which pond would the Golden shiner and mud minnows lay their eggs on Chara?

    5) In which pond(s) would amphibians and crayfish withstand periods of dryness by burying themselves in mud?

    6) In which pond will gill breathing snails be replaced by lung breathing snails that climb to the surface to breathe?                

    7) Some mussels require a sandy bottom in order to maintain an upright position. In which pond will they die out.



2 - Environmental Facts of Your Community.

     a. Community Analysis - You must include your community and zip code.

    Using the link, Envirofacts ( Select Topic Searches. Select a topic, air, land, etc,  and enter your zip code to obtain information pertaining to your area.(If there are more than ten entries then you may limit list to ten.) 

    Name of City:_____________________________  Zip code of your community ________     

       1)  Air . . . . . .  List the facilities that produce and release air pollutants in your community

2) Toxics . . . . List the facilities that produce and release toxic releases in your community.

3) Waste . . . .  List the facilities that have produced hazardous waste.     

4) Water . . . .  Identify the community water systems.

5) Watersheds: Name the watersheds in your community?

6) List any violations reports for your community? Click on the link and describe.

     Look to the lower right hand side of the web-page for "MyEnvironment" and enter your zip code.

b. Environmental History of Your Community

The history of the land in your community may be found through your local historical societies, local library or possibly through contacting city officials. Some cities will list the histories at their website. 

1) What type of ecosystem was there in the 1800?

2) Provide details of the types of plants and animals that existed in the 1800.

3) How has this ecosystems changed?    

4) How has the human population in the area changed from the 1800 to today? 


3. Summarize the application containing "what you did" and "what you found out" concerning this activity.


References: - Go to page 44 of this pdf for the census of the counties of MI. - Michigan Environmental Education - The Great Lakes: An Environmental Atlas and Resource Book.


For additional references and sources click on Web Resources





Last Updated: 24 January 2015