PART I – PLANET EARTH OBSERVATIONS
Watch Planet Earth https://watchdocumentaries.com/planet-earth/ (or on Netflix) pick any episode. Classify and describe 3 species interactions seen in the film, be specific.
PART II – YOUR OBSERVATIONS
Spend some time outside, classify and describe 3 species interactions you observe, be specific.
- Over the next week, make observations of species interactions when you are outside. Observe wild animals, not domestic animals. These can be on the small scale, such as insect interactions in your back yard or the food chains seen in a drop of pond water under a microscope. Using field guides, do your best to identify the specific species you are documenting. If you remember some particularly interesting observations from the past, include them. Photographic evidence is encouraged. Record the observation in sufficient detail, and then classify it as to the type of interaction.
Example 1: In September at the corner of Rundell Hall and Lee College, Baytown, TX, I saw a female rufous hummingbird and a ruby-throated hummingbird in active combat over a patch of Turk’s cap mallows. I would classify the interaction between the birds as being competition-direct interference. The relationship between the flowers and birds illustrates protocooperation.
Example 2: During an afternoon in June along the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park, I saw a Uinta ground squirrel being caught by a short-tailed weasel. This is a predator-prey relationship. On the same day in the same area, an osprey dived into the Snake River and caught a 12-inch cutthroat trout. The predator-prey interaction was interrupted by a bald eagle that started chasing the osprey. The osprey spiraled up, trying to gain altitude, then broke for some distant trees. I lost sight of them before the eagle caught the osprey, but sometimes the eagle is successful in stealing from the osprey. I would classify the interaction between the two birds as competition-direct interference.
PART II – YOUR OBSERVATIONS
Write your own observation, be detailed, including time, temperature, cloud cover, etc. (You may have more than one of the same type of species interaction)
|Species interaction||Species #1||Species #2||Notes|
|Competition – direct interference|
|Competition – resource use type|
|Protocooperation – facultive mutualists|
|Mutualism – obligate symbiosis|
Part III – Questions
- What relationship exists between the organisms in the termite gut and the termite? Read The Beast with Five Genomes by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, Natural History Magazine. June, 2001.
- What sources would you use to understand species interactions? Why? How would you verify their scientific veracity?
- Name several places within the city of Austin and surrounding areas (within one hour) where you could go to observe species interactions. Be specific. Remember not to include domesticated animals.
- Requires some research: How do invasive/exotic species change the dynamics’ of species interaction?
-MINIMUM 3 SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES CITED
Some additional invasive species resources:
US Forest Service