I’d like you to provide me with a thorough, detailed description of a community or ecosystem/biome of your choice. I’d prefer that you keep it within the bounds of our state (Arkansas is the Natural State and one of the most ecologically interesting in the country). Potential examples are listed below to get you started.
Things you should probably focus on:
-What are the major plants (flora) and animals (fauna) that occur there?
-How do you think species interactions act to structure populations within that community?
In other words, give me examples of potential species interactions that you think might be important (e.g., predation/herbivory, competition, mutualism, etc. that might be indicative of that community).
-What sorts of impacts might community-level patterns and processes have on the ecosystem at large?
In return, how might abiotic features of the ecosystem act to affect populations and communities?
-What are patterns of temperature and precipitation (or other sources of water) in your system? How do those patterns shape species—especially in ways that influence species interactions?
-What nutrients are likely to be limiting in your community and ecosystem? What are their sources? How are they cycled?
-Lots of other possibilities.
This is a fairly open-ended question. I’m looking for your ability to research a topic and then to provide a thorough and critical analysis of that topic followed by a synthesis of the patterns and principles we discussed in class. Basically, use what you’ve learned to tell me something about one of our state’s native ecosystems. You can’t cover every species, every interaction, environmental effect. So pick some that you think are important and discuss those. Be sure you make an attempt to put them into the framework of the ecosystem as a whole You might also consider whether
Other things to consider: your thoughts/feelings/beliefs about whether or not communities are real entities, conservation/restoration implications of biodiversity regarding your system (BTW, you can be ‘for’ or ‘against’ controversial ideas—no right or wrong answer, just make sure you present a well-though-out argument), or you could discuss any number of other topic(s) you find interesting You could even approach this from a Clementsian vs. Gleasonian view of ecology and how your system fits or does not fit into either of those views.
This is also a fairly long essay. I’m looking for at least 800 words MINIMUM! That’s about two single-spaced pages or 3.5 double. Again, be thorough! You have a week to finish.
Don’t forget about the below-ground community! That’s a rich area for discussion they could be a part of an essay on any biome. OR, you could consider doing essay that compares below-ground communities among different ecosystems/biomes