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A Mangrove Excursion

Dr John Hey

Ecology is the INTERACTION of organism and environment

A local ecosystem
Welcome to a virtual field trip of a mangrove swamp!

. The Biotic Factors of an ecosystem consist of the living organisms which share the same environment.Biotic and Abiotic Factors Abiotic factors are the non-living components that effect the living organisms of the community.

The abiotic components of an ecosystem include both physical and chemical factors. The physical factors include: ‡ sunlight and shade ‡ average temperature ‡ average precipitation and distribution ‡ wind ‡ latitude and altitude ‡ nature of soil (for terrestrial ecosystems) ‡ fire (for terrestrial ecosystems) ‡ water current (for aquatic ecosystems) ‡ amount of suspended solid material (for aquatic ecosystems) .

level of dissolved oxygen in aquatic ecosystems . The chemical factors are: 1. level of plant nutrients dissolved in soil moisture (for terrestrial) and in the water (for aquatic) 3. salinity of water for aquatic ecosystems 5. level of natural or artificial toxic substances dissolved in soil moisture and in water 4. level of water and air in soil 2.The abiotic components of an ecosystem include both physical and chemical factors.

based on how they get their food or organic nutrients they need to survive.Biotic Factors Organisms that make up the biotic component of an ecosystem are usually classified as autotrophs and heterotrophs. .

Abiotic Factors of the Mangrove Environment Mangrove is a general term that covers trees that are able to withstand regular flooding with fresh and salt water. .

In this virtual excursion we are going to look at three abiotic factors: y y y Salinity Temperature Oxygen .Measuring Abiotic Factors The term abiotic refers to the nonliving or physical components of an ecosystem.

.Measuring Abiotic Factors To navigate through this virtual excursion you should use the navigation box on the next slide.

Abi ti Salinity t r Bi ti t rs Native Plants Size of Plant Population Size of Animal Population Quadrat Capture Recapture Transect Trophic Levels Temperature pH Oxygen .

Use a salinity meter to take salinity measurements.Measuring Abiotic Factors Salinity Salinity is a measurement of the amount of salt in water. .

. Temperature can be measured using a datalogger .Measuring Abiotic Factors Temperature The movement of the tides and the exposure at low tides means that there is a large variation in temperature every day.

.Measuring Abiotic Factors Temperature -Close up of datalogger with temperature probe .

Measuring Abiotic Factors pH ²Student measuring pH using a data logger . .

Measuring Abiotic Factors Oxygen The level of oxygen is an important abiotic factor in aquatic ecosystems. Oxygen content can be measured using a datalogger . .

Site Temp C Salinity (ppt) pH 1 2 3 16 17 15.3 9.2 8.2 3.4 o Dissolved O2 61% 47% 75% . 0.Table of water quality results for three sites.5 24.5.2 7.

5 18 19 19 19 19 19 19 18 .00pm 4.00pm 5.00am 1.00pm 7.00pm 2.00am 12. Time 9.00pm Temp oC 17 17 17.00pm 6.The table below contains the results from the temperature readings taken over ten hours.00pm 3.00am 11.00am 10.

The Mangrove Community.Biotic Factors of the Mangrove Environment The organisms which share the same environment. .

Native Plants Click on picture for more information .

The plant has little branchlets which grow no more than 15 cm high. with thin.The Narrow-leafed Wilsonia The Narrow-leafed Wilsonia (Wilsonia backhousei) is a slightly woody-textured ground-creeper or µsubshrub¶. with star-like white faces less than 1 cm wide . It has small tubular flowers. dark green leaves about 1±2 cm long.

. with succulent leaves about 1 cm long and triangular in cross section. usually less than 5 cm high. It has pinkish mauve flowers with a ring of many µpetals¶ and a diameter a bit smaller than a 20 cent coin.Miniature Pigface (Lampranthus tegens) The Miniature Pigface is a low ground-creeper.

. It has a tassel of thick light brown bark around its base and can grow to 50 or 60 metres.Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna) The Sydney Blue Gum is a stately tree that takes its name from its bluish green trunk.

. and has dense spikes of golden flowers. known as phyllodes which grow vertically so they expose less surface to the sun. leathery leaves. flowers in winter. It has thin.Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifola) It grows to about five metres.

and because they are very hardy.Swamp She-oak (Casuarina glauca) Swamp She-Oaks can grow up to 20 metres high. are often planted as street trees. .

Paperbark/Tea Tree (Melaleuca decora)

Melaleuca is a common tree that grows in many types of country, including wetlands and woodlands, in sandy soil, along river flats, even in some rocky areas.

Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera)

The Turpentine is a tall, handsome tree and can reach up to 40 metres in height. It carries a good canopy of shiny deep green leaves and under optimal conditions, has a straight trunk with thick stringy bark.

Estimating the size of a plant population
The plant population we are going to estimate is juvenile (young) mangrove trees. We estimate the number of trees by using the random quadrat method. A 1 metre square quadrat was placed randomly in an area containing juvenile mangrove trees. A stick was thrown over the shoulder and where the stick landed was the bottom corner of the quadrat.
No. of Quadrat juvenile mangroves 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total 4 3 8 0 7 5 2 6 5 6 46

The average is then multiplied by the area covered with the nipper holes.Estimating the size of an animal population Random quadrat The animal population we are going to estimate is a crustacean commonly called a nipper. By using a random quadrat you can take 10 measurements and then calculate the average number of holes per square metre. These animals live in holes in the ground and at low tide it is easy to count the holes. .

.Estimating the size of an animal population A quadrat as the name suggests is usually a square. This is a picture of a smaller quadrat Now I want you to count the number of nipper holes that appear in the following images. A metre square is a convenient size to use.

Estimating the size of an animal population Quadrat 1 Quadrat 2 Now go to the next page .

Estimating the size of an animal population ua rat # Ni r l s Quadrat 3 t l Now complete the table .

Average = The total area of nipper holes is 100 metre x 130 metre = 1300sq metre Multiply this by the average in 1 square metre. This will give you the average.Estimating the size of an animal population Take the total and divide by ten which is the number of quadrats you took. Your estimate for the total population is .

Estimating the size of an animal population Capture/Recapture This method of sampling is most useful when dealing with an animal population that moves around. In this method individual animals are marked or tagged and then released back into the environment. After leaving time for dispersal the population is then resampled and the number of tagged animals in the sample gives an estimate of the entire population. .

Estimating the size of an animal population The following equation is used to estimate the population Population = M x n m Where M = number of captured tagged and released organisms n = number samples the second time (tagged and untagged) m = the average number of tagged animals recaptured .

Estimating the size of an animal population In this field study we are going to estimate the number of a species of leatherjacket. . This is a good species to catch because they survive netting well. Other species can be killed by the process of netting so they would have to be sampled in another way.

.Estimating the size of an animal population The leatherjackets were sampled using the netting method shown below.

Estimating the size of an animal population The netting was done three times and each time 10 Leatherjacket were caught and tagged. . Therefore the total of tagged fish was 30. After a week the area was resampled and out of 30 leatherjackets caught 5 were tagged.

The distribution of the organism is another important part of the ecosystem.Distribution of a plant and animal species You have been looking at the abundance of organisms. The abiotic factors of the ecosystem in conjunction with the biotic factors control the distribution of organisms. .

Distribution of a plant and animal species Using a Transect The same area that was sampled by using the random quadrat method can also be sampled using a transect. On the next page is a transect picture through a saltmarsh. Sampling can be taken continuously or at predetermined distances along the line. A transect is a straight line that is taken through an area. .

Salt marsh with students and measuring tape along transect One way to investigate plant distribution is by of a 'transect'. .

Observing the plants contained by the quadrat. it is possible to estimate the proportion of the ground which is covered by each species.A quadrat We set up a series of tapes running from the track towards the bay and then laid down a 250 mm square 'quadrat' made of wire every 2 metres along the tape so that the quadrat is on the East side of the tape and has its rear corner on the metre mark. and to record the result in the table provided .

the cover scores were Sarcocornia 3. Sporobolus 2 .In the example shown.


Producers Consumers Decomposers
On your field trip you need to observe the organisms that inhabit the study area. Below is a table that lists the organisms that were observed. To see photographs click on the names in the table. You have to create food chains from these organisms and then combine the food chains into a food web. To help you do this there is a table for you to fill in. Fill in the table as you look at the organisms below. When you have completed the table draw a food web for this ecosystem.

Producers Consumers Decomposers
Mangrove Zostera Sargassum Phytoplankton

Consum ers
Nippers Leatherjacket Bream Whiting Heron Cormorant Ibis Oyster Soldier Crab Sea Eagle

Decom posers

Mangrove Uses Eaten by The sun detritus. . insects Avicennia marina -the Grey Mangrove is a shrub to medium sized tree with a well defined trunk.

Zostera Uses Eaten by The sun detritus .

Sargassum Uses Eaten by The sun detritus .

zooplankton. prawns .Phytoplankton Input Eaten by Sun oysters.

herons. phytoplankton. bream. ibis . zooplankton crabs. whiting.Nippers Eats Eaten by detritus.

bream. whiting.Leatherjacket Eats Eaten by detritus. phytoplankton. herons. zooplankton crabs. ibis .

herons. nippers humans. ibis .Bream Eats Eaten by soldier crabs.

Whiting Eats Eaten by soldier crabs. nippers humans. ibis . herons.

nippers. foxes . small bream and whiting Eggs eaten by other birds.Heron Eats Eaten by soldier crabs.

whiting.Cormorant Eats Eaten by soldier crabs. bream sea eagle . nippers.

nippers humans. herons .Ibis Eats Eaten by soldier crabs.

Oyster Eats Eaten by phytoplankton. herons. zooplankton. detritus humans. ibis .

whiting. ibis .Soldier crab Eats Eaten by detritus bream. herons.

offal. snakes. rabbits. ducks. carrion. humans.foxes .Sea eagle Eats Eaten by fish.

Zooplankton Eats Eaten by Detritus. prawns. fish . phytoplankton Crabs.

prawns. fish .Bacteria E. coli Uses Eaten by Detritus Crabs.

Fungus Uses Eaten by detritus crabs. prawns .

Interactions Table Or is s s r s agrass ts s r r t by Small is .


Red Rumped Parrot 3.1. Miniature Pigface . Lathams Snipe 4. Iron Bark 2. White Bellied Sea Eagle 6. Narrow-leafed Wilsonia 7. Green and Golden Bell Frog 5.

Native Animals Click on picture for more information .

They also have excellent night vision.6 metres and a flying speed of 35 kilometres an hour. Often known as fruit bats. a fox like head. they are the only species with a mantel of reddish brown fur around their neck. thin membrane wings and a claw on the first and second digit of each wing.Grey Headed Flying-Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus The grey headed flying fox is the largest flying fox in Australia. weighing up to one kilogram. which it uses when hanging at rest. . They have large eyes. with a wingspan of around 1.

which it flicks in and out when on the move or when danger approaches. a narrow neck and a smooth-scaled. four very short legs. . stocky body with a pattern of brown and grey bands.Blue-Tongued Lizard (Tiliqua scincoides) The Blue-Tongue has a large wedge shaped head. Its common name comes from its bright blue tongue.

with dark grey feathers on their back and most of their tail. weighing up to four kilograms.White-Bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) They are large birds. Both male and female are similar in appearance. with a wingspan around two metres. . and white on the rest of the body. The claws are black and the bill is blue-grey and black at the tip.

They have no distinctive markings. with softly mottled grey and brown feathers.Tawny Frogmouth (Podargus strigoides Tawny Frogmouths like to live in eucalypt woodland and they actually look like the branch of the trees that grow there. which can only be seen when the wings are spread. They are about 340-460mm in length. except for the white spots on their dark brown wings. .

her neck and breast dull yellowisholive. with white touches on her abdomen and under-tail feathers. as the birds have predominantly green plumage. It¶s a dull red though. Her head and upper body is an olive green. the eyes dark brown eyes and the legs grey.Red-Rumped Parrot (Psephotus haematonotus) Only the male of this attractive bird has a red rump. . There are also bluish shades on the back and wings of the male. Her rump is green and her bill is grey. with touches of white on the tail feathers. The bill is black. The female is different again.

a little head. neck and tiny shell. while the males are slightly smaller at 14-15cm. Tiny turtles can be captivating. . and bright orange spots on their legs. Mature females measure around 16 cm. with big eyes.Long Necked Turtle (Chelodina longicollis Turtles have webbing between their toes. while tortoises have clubfeet or toes with no webbing and no flippers.


Introduced Plants .

The plant thrives in the dry inland as well as the humid coast. If a few seeds are eaten by humans. . which is now removed during the production of Castor Oil. they may result in death. it thrives just about everywhere! The seeds contain ricin. It has reddish clusters of flowers which bloom in late summer in temperate regions and later in the rainy season in tropical areas.Castor Oil Plant (Rinicus communis) This annual short-lived perennial shrub can grow to about 3 metres in height. In fact. a highly poisonous toxin.

Except on young plants. the leaves are hairless and covered with a cottony down. Leaf edges are not usually serrated.Bitou Bush (Chrysanthemoides monolifera) ssp. . rotundata The Bitou Bush has attractive flowerheads with up to 13 yellow petals and egg-shaped fruits.

.Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum grandiflorum) You can't miss Balloon Vine with its large. Contrasting with these strange appendages are the 4-petalled white flowers that bloom for most of the year. inflated and hairy capsules that can grow up to 8cm ling.

Cotoneaster is appreciated for its fleshy red berries. .Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster glaucophyllus) The Cotoneaster is an evergreen shrub which grows to 4 metres high. It is often seen growing as a hedge or an ornamental in many domestic gardens. it is one of a number of species that have become naturalised in Australia. A native of China.

red and white flowers is a popular plant that can be seen climbing on fences and trees throughout the suburbs .Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) This beautiful climbing vine. with its fragrant yellow.

It is often seen growing as a hedge or an ornamental in many domestic gardens. A native of China. .Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster glaucophyllus) The Cotoneaster is an evergreen shrub which grows to 4 metres high. Cotoneaster is appreciated for its fleshy red berries. it is one of a number of species that have become naturalised in Australia.

the solitary flowers last for only a day. While bright yellow and quite 'showy'. The leaves are alternate. . hairy and spear shaped and grow to between 4 and 12cm long. These flowers are produced in succession in leaf axils at the end of stems. The plant's many small pepper-like seeds are contained in 4 to 5 rows within a capsule. the Primrose Willow grows up to 4 metres tall.Primrose Willow (Ludwigia peruviana) At times.

European Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus) Blackberry is a highly invasive weed that infests wide areas of temperate Australia. It has taken over at least 8.8 million hectares of pastures and natural ecosystems. It is a woody plant that can grow five metres high with prickly canes that stretch to seven metres. .

about one metre a year for the first few years. . Camphor Laurel is fast growing. reaching a height of about 20 metres. this tree was first recorded in Sydney in 1822 where it was planted for its rounded shady canopy and its scented wood.Camphor Laurel (Cinnamomum camphora) An Asian native.

whose stock have died after eating the berry. by day. might think this a perfectly good description. though many farmers. too. Its clusters of greenish yellow flowers smell foul. often mistakenly called Deadly Nightshade. and gives off a fragrance at night. like urine.It is highly poisonous. with brittle stems and shiny green leaves. Green Cestrum (Cestrum parqui) . have a foul smell when crushed. These. Cestrum plants form into dense scrub that grows up to three metres high.

however. . gullies. first recorded in 1841 in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Once it escaped garden confines. Eucalypt Woodlands. it went wild. As with many ornamental plants introduced to Australia. it had a respectable beginning. scrambling and climbing through rainforests.Lantana (Lantana camara) Lantana beds down anywhere it finds a warm climate and high rainfall. and farms.

spreading every which way . It springs up everywhere. anywhere it can find a handy peg for its trailing stems. . a purple invader smothering the natives along the way. heart shaped leaves and trumpet shaped flowers.Morning Glory (Ipomea indica) Once established. roadsides and wasteland and bushland. Blue Morning Glory takes off.

fading gradually to brown. .Pampas Grass (Cortaderia jubata) Pampas Grass is a perennial grass that forms tussocks. usually around two to three metres high. Its dense plumes of flowers stand erect on stout hollow stems that stand proud of the leaves. It has leaves like thin blades that taper to a fine tip. The flowers appear in late summer and are a pinkish colour at the start.

up to ten metres high. a dense bushy scrub that could be trimmed and shaped to provide the privacy and security of a fence. . The Small-Leaf Privet is less grand.Broad-leaf Privet (Ligustrum lucidum) Small-leaf Privet (Ligustrum sinense) Both kinds of Privet were attractive ornamentals for gardens and parks. The Broad-Leaf Privet grew into a handsome tree.

this water plant continues to grow. Instead. Salvinia is so aggressive that it has spread to all the mainland states. . with large fragments simply drifting away to start their own colony. No matter how much it is broken up. including the Northern Territory where it has invaded Kakadu National Park wetlands.Salvinia (Salvinia molesta) Salvinia is sterile and produces no seeds. it keeps reproducing from fragments that form daughter plants.

Introduced Animals .

dogs should be registered. . dogs have been known to destroy native flora and fauna. Approximately 40% of Australian households own a dog and there is a great variety of breeds and mixed breeds on the streets of our towns and cities. To minimise the damage caused by dogs.Dogs Dogs are one of Australia¶s most popular domestic animals. When poorly supervised or left to roam wild. micro-chipped and well looked after.

Cats More than 26% of Australian households have a cat as a pet and they provide people with a lot of joy and entertainment. However poor control and the abandonment of these animals has resulted in a large feral cat population. . feral cats cause significant harm to native birds and animals. Due to their instinct for the hunt.

rabbits. pigs. Species including cats. . foxes and rabbits were introduced and have since had a huge negative impact on native flora and fauna. The management of the species is a high priority so that future generations of Australians can enjoy the bush as past generations have done.Other Introduced Animals A large number of animal species was introduced to the Australian environment with the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.