Microclimate Narnia

Figure i: A short introductory video to our microclimate.

Site Overview

The location of our plot, Narnia, while well hidden from passing glance, is actually a short, simple walk from Great Valley High School.
To get to Narnia, one exits the rear of the building by the science wing, passes through the back parking lot, follows the narrow road
leading to the exit onto Route 401, hangs a right at the remnants of what was once a pond, and continues all the way to its farthest end.
At this point, a winding dirt path leads into the woods, taking a sharp left at the “blarney stone” - the large rock which serves as our point
of reference - and continues for roughly five meters until one arrives at the center of Narnia.

Fig. 1a: View from Above. Our Microclimate is labeled as point "B."

The Directions


Fig. 1: View from the North

To the north is a large, thorny, rose bush that blocks of access from a northern route. It stands about five feet off
the ground, and serves as one of our four microclimates; the ground beneath the rose bush is bare, eliminating
competition from plants who, due to unsuitable conditions, are unable to survive there.

Fig. 2: View from the East

From the eastern direction, looking towards the entrance path is wooded area differing from that to the south, as
it consists of smaller shrubs and larger bushes, and few large trees. However, there is one coniferous tree that,
despite its size, does not cast shade that affects our plot, and thus is not a factor contributing to the make up of
our microclimates.

Fig. 3: View from the South

In the southern facing direction runs a long line of sycamore trees and is the recipient of the shade casted down by them.
There is a fence that runs along this direction, at a distance of roughly ten meters from our plot, that blocks any entrance
except for our one path. Great Valley High School is also located in the southern direction relative to our plot. The large
wooded area rises high above the ground, blocking large portions of sunlight from some of our plot.

Fig. 4: View from the West

The entrance to our plot is from a south-western direction; a wooded area transforms into an area of lows grasses surrounded
by larger growth. Patches of golden rod also grow in this general direction. The area is enclosed on every side by vegetation,
and thus the undergrowth continues to thicken with each step farther away from the central location of the plot.

Temp (C)
Light Intensity (Lux)
Dew Point (C)
Relative Humidity
Absolute Humidity
Figure 5: A table of the ranges of temperatures Throughout the site.

The Abiotic Factors:

Our microclimate, although surrounded by living things, contains several important non-living factors. A wire fence, located about 10 feet to the
north of our microclimate works to create a barrier so that animals are deterred from crossing onto the school grounds. This could cause several
organisms to remain on the side of our microclimate. Another Abiotic factor that should be discussed is the shade. Plants, which need sunlight
to grow and live, do not receive a large amount of sunlight in our microclimate due to the heavily forested area around it. Thus the vegetation in
our microclimate is made up of plants that do not require large amounts of sunlight to survive. Cloud Cover is another factor that affects the light
intensity of our microclimate. For example, on the first day we took our readings (sunny), the light intensity in our microclimate was stronger than
on the second day when there was cloud cover, and our readings were significantly lower.

The Biotic Factors:


external image sweet-goldenrod.jpg
Fig. 6: Goldenrod

Goldenrod is a perennial plant that is often found in open fields and wooded areas. Goldenrod and grow up to a height of thirty inches. It has yellow
flowers that grow in bunches, which usually bloom in the late summer/early fall. The ones in our habitat had serrated leaves. Goldenrods reproduce
by being pollinated by insects such as bees.

Rose Bush-
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Fig. 7: Rose Bush

The rose is a perennial plant that grows in small bushes. They are most famous for their flowers and thorny stems. The rose plants that were found in our
microclimates were from a species of wild roses. They have “woody” stems that do lose their leaves but survive the winter as a bare bush, which then
re-grow the leaves in the spring.

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Fig. 8: Raspberry Plant

Raspberry plants are a very common plant that is fruit bearing in the early summer through fall. The raspberry plants roots and crown are perennial and it buds
twice a year. They are found from the Arctic to the equator. The variety found in the wild have bright red fruits when ripe, and are a source of food for both animals
and humans.

Sycamore Tree-
external image Sycamore_tree.jpg
Fig. 9: Sycamore Tree in Fall

The sycamore tree was a very prominent part of our habitat as it was in and shaded most of the area. Sycamore trees are most known for the appearance of their
trunk because of its range of colors of white, grey, and black, and its smooth texture. The sycamore tree reproduces by releasing “butterballs” in the spring which
contains thousands of seeds which are spread by the wind. They are most common in the Eastern United States and prefer moist soil.

Japanese Stilt Grass
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Fig. 10: Japanese Stilt Grass

Japanese stilt grass is an invasive species originating from Japan. It was introduced to the United States in 1919 and has since spread like wildfire. It can be found from
New York to Florida. It resembles a very slender bamboo and can grow to 3 feet in height. It has pale green leaves that are lance shaped. It can reproduce asexually by
spouting from an existing plants roots or self fertilization. It also reproduces sexually by spreading with wind pollination.

The Microclimates

Temp. (C)
Light Intensity
Dew Point (C)
Relative Humidity (%)
Absolute Humidity (g/m3)

Golden Rod

Rose Bush


Stilt Grass

Fig. 11: Charts representing the areas where each plant is prevalent. As we were in a rather
homogeneous area, we found differences in our microclimate by looking at areas where different
plants were prevalent.

Microclimate Rosebush

To the north, there is the rosebush microclimate. Naturally, the most prominent organism here is the rosebush.
Our rosebush, with a height of about five feet, was in an area of medium light intensity and had average readings
compared to the other microclimates. It rests in partial shade of the nearby tree, as do all of our microclimates.
The causation of this particular microclimate is due to the seed of a rosebush being moved to this particular spot,
which had the correct biotic and abiotic factors to allow it to grow.

What allowed the rosebush to flourish in this microclimate was that it was in an area that allowed for a good growing environment for the rosebush. The
medium light caused by the shade from the tree is ideal for the rosebushes needs. The soil also met the rosebuds needs because of its positioning near a creek bed.
Its thorns also give it an excellent defense against predators who are no able to get past the poking prowess of the pointy prickers.

Microclimate Japan

To the east, one can find a plethora of Japanese stilt grass. It grows well in this area because of the amount of sunlight
available as well as the relatively higher humidity, which is required for wetland grasses like Japanese stilt grass to grow.

The Japanese Stilt Grass thrived in this microclimate for a variety of reasons. The first being that it does not need much sunlight to survive.
This allowed it to grow well it what is experiences as normal, while limiting competion because of the lack of sunlight. the microclimate was also near a creekbed,
which kept the soil moist which is the ideal conditions for the grass to grow in. Because it is an invasive spieces, it does not have to deal with many natural
predators in this area, giving it another factor that allows it to grow.

Microclimate Antarctica

To the south, or as we like to call it, Microclimate Antarctica, there lies a line of sycamore trees. This casts a great deal
of shade on this particular microclimate, causing the light intensity to be less, along with the amount of vegetation that
grows there.
Within our microclimate is the optimal area for the growth of the Eastern Sycamore tree. The preferred soil conditions, ranging greatly from acidic to alkaline, are well met by the our eastern Pennsylvania soil. In its infancy, Sycamore trees are not susceptible to one of the most common sylvan nuisances; the deer. Deer do not feed on the young Sycamore trees, and thus it is almost guaranteed passage into adulthood. The light conditions of the Antarctica are optimal for the growth the the Sycamore, as it requires much sunlight, and a placement out of the obstruction of any other large botanical species. The Sycamore tree, which grows to be huge in size, is given adequate space within Microclimate Antarctica, giving it ample room to expand to its full potential. Platanus occidentalis is served best in Microclimate Antarctica, and the optimal range of soil condition, ample rainfall, spacing, and sun absorption allows for the ensured survival of this beloved species of tree.


Microclimate Gold

To the west is microclimate gold. This area is enclosed entirely by vegetation, thus allowing for a large amount of undergrowth.
It is here that we found our golden rod embedded in a mixture of other forest grasses. It is the structure of the other vegetation in
this area (providing shelter) that makes it possible for plants like golden rod to grow in this area.
Both biotic and abiotic explain why Golden Rod is present, and thrives, within Microclimate Gold. Goldenrod reproduces through a wind-driven seed distribution system, meaning it requires adequate cross wind and an exposed area to facilitate the movement of its genetic material. This means that the area immediately surrounding Golden Rod must be thin enough to allow for the free passage of gusty wind; Microclimate Gold faces the west into a very thinly spaced wooded area; wind has no problem ensuring the continuation of its survival. Gold Rod also requires adequate space to grow, as it bushes quite widely and does not coexist will with species of similar nature. The presence of those western trees creates a natural outcrop of reduced plant presence, allowing Goldenrod to flourish. And finally, Golden rod seeks its home next in the region of lakes, rivers, or other small bodies of water; only fifteen meters from Microclimate Gold is the remnant of what was once a large pond; Microclimate Gold is the perfect triumvirate of factors enabling the growth of the wonderfully colored Golden Rod.