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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Forest Birds of Connecticut and Rhode Island now available


Into the Woods, by Barbara Lussier

Forest Birds of Connecticut and Rhode Island
Forest Birds of Connecticut and Rhode Island, the eight-year long summer and winter study of the population densities, distributions and habitat use by the forest birds of southern New England, is now available for free download.

We invite readers to become sponsors for individual species. You may do so by writing us your species choice at mail@birdconservationresearch.org. Upon receipt of your choice (please make a first, second and third choice in your message), your name will be added to the species account as a sponsor. Names of species sponsors will be updated daily on the downloadable book so that you may see which species have already been chosen. You will also receive a printed copy of the book as our gift upon completion of the species sponsor campaign. We request a donation of $125 to become a sponsor, and you may make your donation here.

The 251 page book may be accessed through Arts and Academic Publishing under the Bird Conservation Contributions tab.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

SPECIES DIVERSITY

The wet, high elevation limestone forests of Rota in the tropical Pacific are characterized by epiphytic ferns, fern allies and orchids.

The topic of species diversity is focused upon in this next episode of a video series designed to complement the AP Environmental Science curriculum.  It begins with an exploration of the scale at which diversity is considered,  discussing the concepts of alpha, beta and gamma diversity.  It also considers the components of diversity- species richness and species evenness.  

The video then goes on to examine methods of computing diversity.  It evaluates the uses and pitfalls of diversity characterization, including the loss of information that occurs by computing diversity indicies.

Still another diversity-related issue is the edge effect.  The video examines how diversity responds to the boundary between habitats and how certain species are edge specialists.  It also notes, however, that edges can have reduced habitat quality as well as higher rates of predator activity.

The video concludes by examining the species-area effect.  It considers the phenomenon of minimum habitat size and the role of chance in the accumulation of species by virtue of area.


This and other videos in this series are produced by the publishing partner of Bird Conservation Research, Inc- Arts and AcademicPublishing.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

FOOD WEBS AND SPECIES DIVERSITY



Food webs are extensions of the concept of trophic levels- the compartmentalized view of how energy flows through ecoystems from primary producers to primary, secondary and tertiary consumers.  The food web concept clarifies that individual species can influence energy flow in more than one of these trophic levels.  These and related topics are the subject of the next video in a lecture series related to the AP Environmental Science national curriculum.  The video also reviews the concept of trophic efficiency- the percent of energy that is passed from one trophic level to the next, and compares the productivity of a variety of ecosystems on planet Earth.


The focus of the video then shifts to that of biological diversity.  It compares a system with few species in which some reach great abundance with a system housing many species in which no one assumes dominance.  It also examines the components of diversity- richness and evenness.  The video concludes by considering the patterns of diversity that may be viewed at large geographic scales.  This and other videos in this series are produced by the publishing partner of Bird Conservation Research, Inc.- Arts and Academic Publishing.

Monday, December 26, 2016

ENERGY FLOW THROUGH ECOSYSTEMS

Solar energy powers all life processes on Earth

Solar energy captured during the light-dependent reaction of photosynthesis is the ingredient that powers most ecosystem processes.  This energy is passed from trophic level to trophic level, fueling the emergence of virtually all life forms on Earth.  Energy is the theme of the next video in the AP Environmental Science topic of The Living World.  It is available through the publishing partner of Bird Conservation Research, Inc.: Arts and Academic Publishing.

The video begins by exploring climatic relationships among biomes through climatographs.  It then moves to a discussion of the light and dark reactions of photosynthesis and how these processes are used in producing living biomass.  It next considers the laws of thermodynamics and how these constrain energy flow through ecosystems.  Concepts relating to productivity are then reviewed, as is the transfer of energy through trophic levels.  The video concludes by following energy from primary producers to consumers to decomposers.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

WETLAND BIOMES

The rocky intertidal zone of the Rhode Island coast is one of the topics considered in the next video in the Living World series.

In addition to terrestrial biomes, aquatic biomes are also recognized.   Those examined in the next video in the Living World lecture series of Arts and Academic Publishing include estuaries and their vegetated wetlands, including salt marshes and mangrove swamps.  Wildlife of estuarine wetlands are distinctive, and include species like the Seaside and Sharp-tailed sparrows.  Adaptations of these species for the stressful physical conditions of the estuary are considered.

Marine ecosystems are explored next, and investigate the habitats that make them up.  These include the intertidal realm, benthic environments and pelagic environments.  These environments are further subdivided into zones, and the characteristics of each are considered.  All these topics related to the National AP Environmental Science curriculum.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

ALPINE ZONATION AND RELICT COMMUNITIES

Forest gives way to alpine tundra at the highest elevations of the Rocky Mountains.
The next video in the Living World lecture series of Arts and Academic Publishing (the publishing partner of Bird Conservation Research, Inc.) extends its discussion of terrestrial biomes by considering the effects of altitude on the occurrence of biomes. Alpine zonation, as it is called, refers to the appearance of increasingly northern-associated biomes as altitude increases. The video explores the zonation that occurs in the southern Appalachian Mountains, from temperate seasonal forest in the lowlands to boreal forest at the highest elevations. A version of krummholz vegetation even occurs on the highest peaks. In the northern Appalachians and Rocky Mountains, alpine tundra can be found.

A phenomenon related to alpine zonation is that of relict communities- pockets of plant communities that occur much further south than they occur at present.  These communities may still occupy land that they inhabited when global climate was different than it is today. In colder microclimates, such as those found in southern New England bogs, spruce-larch associations typical of the far north still occur well south of their present range. Locally endemic species are often found in such locations, and their occurrence can be related to re-colonization events that followed the close of the last glacial era.

This video is compatable with the AP Environmental Science curriculum.


Monday, November 14, 2016

SUBTROPICAL SAVANNAH, SHRUBLAND AND DESERT

The oak savannah of northern California is first cousin to the shrublands of the southern parf of the state.

The next three biomes covered in the Living World video lecture series of Arts and Academic Publishing include subtropical savannah, shrubland and desert.  These videos are compatible with the AP Environmental Science curriculum.

The examination of subtropical savannah focuses on the Kissimmee Prairie region of southern Florida, and considers its flora and the role of animals in sustaining this ecosystem.  It also examines its endemic fauna, including such species as the Caracara.  Exploration of the shrubland biome centers on the San Gabriel Mountains of southern California.  It considers the annual distribution of rainfall and the role of fire in sustaining this ecosystem.  It also considers the oak savannah of northern California and how this environment relates to these two biomes.  The video then crosses the southern California mountains and examines the high desert ecosystem that develops to the east in the rain shadow of these mountains.  It highlights the Joshua trees of the wetter portions of this desert, and also investigates animal species like the Gopher Tortoise and Spadefoot Toad and the adaptations that they possess for living in this environment.