What's UP? A micro-climate ADVENTURE!

GLOBETROTTER GABBY, CAMP RANGER CHRISTINE, AVANT-GARDE ANA

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It begins...
Throughout the months of September and October of 2010, three determined biology students, were sent out in nature to study and experiment a given micro-climate. Boy was it an adventure! That expedition and it's origins were stationed in the hazardous, mysterious fields of the Great Valley High School Campus.
Figure 1
Figure 1

Just behind this beautiful school (Figure 1) our destiny lay in the form of a microclimate.Our particular space was located to the left of the school's back driveway (at a point nearly parallel to the driveway). If one were to ask directions, you would reply, "When traveling along side the retention pond, continue going straight, on a path, until you reach a little patch of plants on your right." Here, on this small piece of land, is where we decided to delve into a world unknown to the students of that seemingly normal school. An entire biological habitat was beckoning us. There is a baseball field to the left of the plot which was surrounded by open grass/wooded areas. The rear of the high school is straight ahead, up the driveway, while 401 is down the driveway, behind (See inadequate map; Figure 2).
Figure 2
(front)GVHS(back)
Back Driveway
Baseball Field Our Plot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Retention Pond
More Back Driveway
401
From all Directions:
FACING NORTH: We discovered dense areas of clumped vegetation such as, Urtica Urens, Locoweed, Golden Rod and various types of grasses (most common plants). They were generally found in groups of species. When directly looking at the plot, the north end was on the left side, facing the baseball field.
FACING SOUTH: This side of the microclimate was highly populated. There were many weeds because it was located on the right side of the bottom of the hill. These weeds prosper because of the water and they prevent flooding becase they help prevent run off.

FACING EAST: Tall grasses and bushes were scattered on this part of the site. The east side was at the top of the hill and to the middle which allowed and many less versatile plants to grow because they weren't affected drastically by water. Similar to the north, the grasses were clumped according to species.

FACING WEST: Colorful flowers intertwined at the highest peak of the hill.

At this beautiful micro-climate site, we established 10 different plots from random. They are named Plot 1, Plot 2, Plot 3, etc. in order to differentiate and observe accordingly. We studied Plots 1, 5, 7 and 9 together to create GLOBETROTTER GABBY's microclimate. CAMP RANGER CHRISTINE's microclimate was composed of Plots 4 and 10 while AVANTE-GARDE ANA's Microclimate consisted of Plots 2, 3, 6 and 8. Using an "Explorer MDX" we were able to collect data on the temperature, light intensity, dew point, relative humidity, and absolute humidity for each climate over several days. Many variables, over many days, contributed and produced the results below.
Abiotic Variables and their ranges the Micro-Climate:
Temperature: 15.8 - 32.0 degrees Celsius
Light Intensity: 140.99 - 557.9 Lux
Dew Point: 9.5 - 20.6 degrees Celsius
Relative Humidity: 31 - 74%
Absolute Humidity: 9.7 - 18.4 g/m3

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GLOBE-TROTTING GABBY's MICRO-CLIMATE

Gabby's area of expertise lay at the bottom of hill. This area was highly populated with dense weeds. Plots 1, 5, 7, 9 make up this micro-climate with thanks to the common weed growth. Quack Grass Golden Rod, Tall Red Top, Mustard, Loco Weed, Evening Primrose, and Carpet Weed.

Listed below is the range of data of Gabby's micro-climate:

Temperature: 15.8 - 32.0 degrees Celsius
Light Intensity: 140.99 - 557.90 Lux
Dew Point: 9.5- 20.6 degrees Celsius
Relative Humidity: 46 - 74%
Absolute Humidity: 9.7 - 16.9%

Abiotic Factors: Note, the plants examined were located at the bottom of the hill, for a reason. Run-off from rain, was controlled through the dense weed barrier. In terms of the weeds, they received the ideal amount of rainfall as well as direct run off because they still prospered, instead of drowning and dying.



GLOBE TROTTER GABBY
GLOBE TROTTER GABBY


CAMP RANGER CHRISTINE's MICRO-CLIMATE


Christine's area of expertise lay in Plot 4 and Plot 10. These two plots were located at the very top of the hill were lush grasses and flower-like weeds lay. Specifically, Loco weeds, Goose foot, Golden rods, Dandelions, and urtica urens,and wild radish highly populated this micro-climate.

Listed below is the range of data of Christine's micro-climate:

Temperature: 16.3 - 31.8 degrees Celsius
Light Intensity: 205.7 - 416.5 Lux
Dew Point: 10.3- 19 degrees Celsius
Relative Humidity: 50 - 70%
Absolute Humidity: 10.1 - 16.7 %

Biotic and Abiotic Factors: The findings in this micro-climate lay at the top of the hill, with no shade and direct sunlight. This explains how the light intensity contributed tothe various species abundance and survivor-ship rates. The abundant rain fall and abundant sunlight together allowed the weeds to prosper.


CAMP RANGER CHRISTINE
CAMP RANGER CHRISTINE


AVANTE-GARDE ANA's MICRO-CLIMATE

Ana's area of expertise lay in Plot 2, Plot 3, Plot 6, and Plot 8. We conidered to be the aboslute most dense area of our entire micro-climate. Her area lay in the center of the area and was highly populated in intertwining weeds and grasses. It was difficult to maneuver through this area because it lay in the center of our micro-climate in between the highest point and lowest point of the hill.

Listed below is the range of data of Ana's micro-climate:

Temperature: 15.8-32.0 degrees Celsius
Light Intensity: 198.67-392.2 Lux
Dew Point: 9.4-18.4 degrees Celsius
Relative Humidity: 31-74%
Absolute Humidity: 9.6-16.4%

Biotic and Abiotic Factors: Loco weed along with the other grasses recorded, are commonly found in small niches of a habitat. Our microclimate served the weeds needs to survive, even with inte-competition. The ideal fall weather served as a key component, for based on reasearch, this is the ideal climate for the organisms found.


AVANT-GARDE ANA
AVANT-GARDE ANA


CRITICAL VEGETATION
RECORDED THROUGHOUT:
Plots 1,5,7,9
  • Quack Grass
  • Golden Rod
  • Tall Red Top
  • Mustard
  • Loco Weed
  • Evening Primrose
  • Carpet Weed
  • Urtica Urens

Plots 4,10
  • Grass
  • Golden Rod
  • Loco Weed
  • Wild Radish
  • Goose Foot
  • Mouse-ear Chickweed

Plots 2,3,6,8
  • Grass
  • Johnson Grass
  • Golden Rod
  • Loco Weed
  • Wild Radish
  • Tall Red Top


THE COMMON ORGANISM PROFILE:
In our microclimate, we found a various array of plants and insects. There are simply too many to count so among the masses, we've identified some constants throughout the plots.
Golden Rod is considered to be a companion plant or a host for insects. It's small yellow blossoms cluster on tall green stems that are lush with leaves. You can find this organism in pastures, meadows, grasses and gardens. Like it's fellow microclimate friends, it is considered a perennial.
Goldenrod
Goldenrod


Mouse-ear Chickweed permeates our space with a mat-like dispersion. It has thick, hairy stems that blossom small, fleshy leaves. You can find it in dense areas such as, common, grassy patches of lawn or garden. Mouse-ear Chickweed is much more dense than the any of the other organisms we found especially because it carpeted the floor of our plots.
Mouse-Ear Chickweed
Mouse-Ear Chickweed


Quack Grass flourishes in the cooler seasons of fall and winter. It spreads with the movement of soil which allows it to be a common organism throughout crops and lawns. This plant is extremely versatile and often identified by it's tall, long, wide blades of grass.
Quack Grass
Quack Grass


Tall Red Top thrives in warmer, dryer meadows and fields. The blades and stem are often reddish purple and the plant tends to bloom in August and September. It is known to tolerate low pH levels and wet soil regardless of it's inclination towards dryer habitats. You can find this plant in any open area because it is transported by wind and also, soil movement.
Tall Red Top
Tall Red Top


Wild Radish blooms in the summer and continues to grow throughout the winter because of it's versatile tolerance. The organism attracts beneficial predators like bees and crop pests. You can find this organism in grassy areas occupied by other similar plants. It grows from the ground and was seen throughout our microclimate.
Wild Radish
Wild Radish


Urtica Urens is considered to be a beneficial herb that is influenced by pollination. It is an annual plant that lacks lignified tissue. This organism prospers in a range of climates because it is tolerant to many conditions. It is a tall plant with white blossoms and leaves stemming from all parts. The organism is found in grassy areas populated by other plants and insects.
Urtica Urens
Urtica Urens


The Stink bug was unfortunately, accidentally introduced to the United states and has since then, infested our community. It was no surprise that we saw this bug all over our micro-climate. It uses a wide variety of host plants and can survive through many conditions (because it hides in our homes). It has 6 legs, is about 17mm long and is brown and armored with protective wings.
Stink Bug
Stink Bug


The Carpenter ant is a common ant and common resident in grassy fields everywhere. It's little black body and 6 legs transport it through different conditions and it thrives on food particles it finds near other organisms.
Carpenter Ant
Carpenter Ant


The common Squirrel is found all throughout American in areas where it can create a home in a tree. The squirrel eats nuts among other things and is a small rodent subject to different types of weather. It has thick fur to get it through different seasons and it has a large bushy tail that accompany cute button eyes.
Squirrel
Squirrel



Relationship between Biotic and Abiotic Factors:
The natural seasons in our region of Pennsylvania provide for cool falls, snowy winters, damp springs and hot summers. With these conditions, the humidity, temperature, precipitation and other abiotic factors provide the plants in our microclimate with a stable environment. Most of our plants are able to live through wet and dry conditions and also sunny or shady. Some tend to do better than others with different variables in the mix but for the most part, the organisms we found are very versatile. The soil and air can be moist or dry, the temperature can be warm or cool but either way, the common organisms in this microclimate were found to live on. Moderate temperatures (not hot or cold) surely provide for optimum growth. There is enough moisture to nourish the plants but not drown them, even though our plot was towards the bottom of a hill. It is directly in the sunlight, so through photosynthesis, the plants get the energy they need. There is plenty of space for the bugs and rodents to make their habitats so everyone is well suited by all abiotic factors.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

http://www.hort.iastate.edu/courses/syllabi/hor...ckweed.jpg

http://www.english-country-garden.com/a/i/anima...rrel-5.jpg

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/images14/StinkBug1CIMG4446.JPG

http://biology.missouristate.edu/Herbarium/Plan...flavus.JPG

http://healthyhomegardening.com/images/gardenge...ss_360.jpg

http://www.ontariowildflower.com/images/stout_g...flower.jpg

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10091127

http://www1.umn.edu/webdd/prepcare/



Our journey is over. Sadly. But it has been a trip and we have learned a ton!
The End.
The End.