Now that you have learned about food webs and biodiversity in Unit IV, you will explore the environment “in your own backyard.” This activity can be completed in your backyard, around your office building, at a nearby park, in an urban green space, or anywhere you can get a little bit of nature under your feet! There are four parts that must be completed for this assignment.
- Part 1: The first thing scientists record when out in the field is general data. Introduce your homework with information about the location where you are completing your research. Include the date, location, time of day, temperature, weather conditions, and a brief description of the area you are researching. This part of your homework should be at least 100 words in length.
- Part 2: Sit down on the soil, and take a close look. Describe at least five species. Do you see small insects? Do you notice different types of grasses and small flowers? What do you see? Record what you find, and remember to be as descriptive as possible. Identify as best you can what it is you are looking at. Is it a plant (grass, tree, flower), reptile, amphibian, insect, arachnid (spider), mammal, or bird? Do you know what species it is? Describe the organism. How tall is it? What distinguishing features does it have? Does it have a scent? Does it have a color? How many of them did you find? This part of your homework should be at least 200 words in length.
- Part 3: Describe a food web in your area, and explain where the species you listed fall in the food web. For instance, what feeds on them or what do they feed on? Think about what would live in this habitat, and look for signs of these animals (e.g., tracks, burrows, nests). Explain how the food web shapes species’ diversity in your area. Explain how keystone species play a vital role in the environment that shapes habitats and impacts biodiversity. This part of your homework should be at least 100 words in length.
- Part 4: What do you think is the greatest threat to biodiversity in the area you observed? For instance, describe loss of habitat from development or population growth. How could biodiversity be restored or increased in the area? Describe how ecology and biodiversity benefit human life and how human life negatively impacts the environment. This part of your homework should be at least 200 words in length.