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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.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM

The shortgrass prairie habitat of the American Bison is featured in this video.
In its tour through AP Environmental Science topics, the next installment of the Living World video series focuses on three additional biomes.  It begins by examining temperate grasslands, and explores the physical environmental factors that favor the development of grassland environments- continental climate, limited rainfall and wildfires.  It also explores the relationship between perennial grassland vegetation and the animal species it supports, notably the American Bison, Pronghorn Antelope and Black-tailed Prairie Dog.

The focus then shifts to rainforest environments, first temperate rainforests and then tropical.  It compares and contrasts these, illustrating the coniferous nature of the temperate systems and the vast diversity of broadleaf vegetation that fills tropical systems.  In both environments, abundant moisture produces trees of great size, although the longevity of temperate rainforest giants is unsurpassed.  The video concludes by depicting the bird life of both systems, highlighting in particular the specializations employed by the diverse avifaunas of tropical rainforest.


This video, like all in the series, is available through Arts and Academic Publishing, the publishing partner of Bird ConservationResearch, Inc.