Habitat Selection, Biology tutorial

Introduction:

Habitat selection is the option by an organism of a specific habitat in preference to others. Example: may fly nymphs live in the underside of stones in fast-flowing streams and burrow in sediment in still water whereas habitat is a place where species get what they require to survive: water, food, cover and a place to raise young. In another words, a habitat is an animal or plant's home. For people, habitat may stretch from their home (that is, where they have water, cover and a place to elevate young), to the supermarket (that is, where they procure food). All the places people go to get what they require to survive can be considered part of their habitat.

Types of Habitat:

The different habitats are as follows: 

1) Polar or arctic regions

2) Mountains

3) Deserts

4) Oceans

5) Savannah/grasslands/prairies

6) Woodland or forest

7) Tropical rainforest

8) Wetland areas or marshes

9) Taiga

10) Tundra

11) Coral reef

12) Rivers or lakes

13) Pond

14) Deciduous forest

15) Cave

16) Tide pool

Forests:

Forests are attractive ecosystems. How can you identify a forest? The defining characteristic of a forest is its intense growth of trees. However why do forests grow where they do? In general speaking, the two key variables dictate the geographical distribution of the Earth's various habitat kinds: Humidity and temperature. Forests grow where there is adequate water available to fulfill the requirements of trees. The amount of forest growth as well based on temperature ranges, soil nutrients, adequate growing season and altitude.

The whole forests in the continental United States are temperate forests (positioned among the boreal and sub-tropical zone). Eastern temperate forests tend to encompass cold winters and wet, hot summers. Deciduous trees (that is, those which lose their leaves in the fall) such as oak and maple thrive in such conditions. However, most of the eastern forests are stated through the mix of maple, oak, birch and other trees which grow there. These trees make a canopy which shades the forest floor and gives a variety of habitats for numerous creatures, like gray squirrels, white-footed mice, white-tailed deer and blue jays. Deciduous trees are as well found in the Nigeria Southwest and continental Africa. 

Grasslands:

Grasslands are characterized as regions where grasses are the main vegetation and the subsoil is dry by seasonal moisture in the upper soil layers. Their evolution was shaped through periodic fires and the presence of grazing animals. Such conditions resulted in the establishment of vast regions of grassland on all of the continents apart from Antarctica. Nowadays, a quarter of the earth's land surface remains covered by this quickly vanishing ecosystem. Illustration in Nigeria is Osun State extending to part of kwara/kogi.

The whole grasslands share some common traits. Generally, the word grassland signifies to land which:

a) Is dominated by grasses.

b) Takes place on flat or rolling terrain.

c) Consists of similar soils (that is, lots of organic matter, alkaline, very fertile and fine-grained).

d) Consists of soil which is nearly completely covered through vegetation.

e) Generally consists of fires and high winds (that lead to high evaporation rates and the spread of fires).

f) Is characterized through periods of rain followed by periods of drought.

Deserts:

As dissimilar from one another as deserts of the world are, they all share one feature: they are extremely dry. Scientists state deserts as regions which get less than 10 inches of rainfall a year and encompass an extremely high rate of evaporation. When the annual evaporation rate of a region is higher than the yearly amount of rainfall, the region is considered a desert. Evaporation rates are high as deserts tend to encompass very little cloud cover and strong winds.

The other feature of deserts is sporadic rainfall. When the limited rainfall in deserts fell a little at a time all through the year, most of the deserts possibly would not look much similar to deserts. Rather, they had a lot more vegetation. Rain does not fall evenly all through the year in a desert, although. It generally comes in big bursts. In a few deserts, none at all might fall for more than a year. And then a huge thunderstorm might dump over 5 inches all at once!

Deserts encompass a few of the most variable temperatures of any places on earth. As the desert skies are almost cloudless, the temperatures throughout the day might sizzle. However without cloud cover to hold in the heat, it radiates to the atmosphere much quickly once the sun goes down. In several deserts, the temperature might drop as much as 77 degrees Fahrenheit in 12 hours, for illustration Maiduguri and Bauchi.

Wetlands:

As the name imply, wetlands are regions where water is present at least portion of the year, usually for at least a part of the plant-growing season. Moreover, wetland soils distinct considerably from close by or surrounding uplands. Hydric soils, found in the wetlands, are wet, low in oxygen and often black with muck. Lastly, wetlands support plants termed as hydrophytes which are adapted to living in wet, oxygen-poor soils. Altogether, this water, soil and vegetation features make up a broad statement for wetlands.

However all wetlands have water at least periodically, the volume of water and the amount of time a wetland is 'wet' differs greatly. They as well differ in size, from wading-pool sized vernal pools to thousands of acres all along coastlines or rivers.

Wetlands are found all over the North America, along coastlines, far inland, in rural regions, and even in the middle of the well-populated urban regions. There are usually five types of areas where we find out wetlands: 

1) Rivers 

2) Near coasts and inland lakes

3) In depressions where land is low compared to surrounding landscapes 

4) Regions where ground-water seeps out of the ground

5) In broad, flat regions which receive significant rainfall (like the Everglades).

Arctic Tundra:

The arctic tundra is circumpolar, signifying that it is an ecosystem surrounding the polar area, above around 60 degrees north latitude. The Arctic Circle takes place at 66 degrees north latitude.

In the tundra, short days for much of the year and a harsh cold climate outcome in a brief growing season of 50 to 60 days. By contrary, the growing season in temperate forests is around six months long and in tropical forests lasts the complete year.

Strong winter winds challenge the stability of any plants which grow more than an inch or two over ground surface. Beneath a thin layer of soil which thaws each and every summer is ground which remains frozen year-round, termed as permafrost. The permafrost might be extremely deep, reaching more than 1000 feet thick in some locations. However the tundra receives less than 10 inches of precipitation each year (that is why it is at times termed to as an arctic desert), there can be abundance of standing water if the upper layer of soil thaws each summer.

Because of its high latitude and the tilt of the earth, the arctic experiences light and temperature extremes all through the calendar year. The animals and plants of the tundra should be adapted to face such challenges, comprising not only extremes of day length and temperatures, however as well harsh winter winds, long periods of beneath-freezing temperatures and permanently frozen ground.

Habitat selected by some animals:

African Elephant: They are mainly found in forests, marshes, grasslands, scrub and semi-desert regions. Elephants live in a highly organized social structure termed to as a matriarchal herd. The herd is usually composed of up to 10 females and their young. Each and every females in the herd are directly associated to the matriarch, who is usually the oldest and largest female. Males beyond the age of maturity are with the herd just for the period of mating.

Penguin: Tend to live in islands and remote landmasses which are relatively free from land predators. A few species spend almost 75 percent of their life at sea.

The entire penguins live south of the equator, from the icy waters of Antarctica to the tropical Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, approximately astride the equator. Penguins are specific marine birds adapted to living at sea. A few species spend as much as 75 percent of their lives in the sea - just coming ashore for molting and breeding. Penguin wings are paddle-like flippers employed for swimming, not flying. 

Sea Stars: They are mainly found from the bearing sea, generally resting on broken or solid rocks. They are generally found on rocks, gravel and sand in the low intertidal zone.

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