Bog and Boreal Forest, Vermont
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Bog and_Boreal_Forest, Vermont, EL_DP45
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Bog and boreal forest, Vermont. The bogs of the north country are glacial relicts from the last ice age. These bogs are cold and highly acidic, so that only a few well adapted plant species can survive. Most notable of these plants is the sphagnum moss which forms a large floating mat around the open water. With time, the moss thickens and spreads. Dead plant matter that sloughs off of the mat and falls to the bottom of the bog decays very slowly, as the conditions are inimical for bacterial decomposition. The bog slowly closes in on the water, eventually filling in, and becoming forested.


title Bog_and_Boreal_Forest, Vermont, EL_DP45
continent North America
country USA
state/province Vermont
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Wetlands, aquatic; Forests
Forests Boreal forest or taiga
Wetlands, Aquatic Bogs, fens
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Coastal sage scrub, Point Lobos, California
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Coastal sage_scrub, Point_Lobos, California, EL_DP22
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Coastal Sage Scrub, Point Lobos, California. Much of coastal California experiences a Mediterranean climate, with cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers. The plant species of the coastal sage scrub community have adapted to this regime quite well, and many of them have thick leaves that resist water loss. These species are also adapted to deal with regular fires and conservation biologists have been using fire to manage and restore this plant community. This area is protected by the state of California in Point Lobos State Reserve.


title Coastal_sage_scrub, Point_Lobos, California, EL_DP22
continent North America
country USA
state/province California
city/place/location Point Lobos State Reserve
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Grasslands, savannas
Grasslands and savannas Mediterranean scrub
Conservation Nature preserves; Endangered ecosystems
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Desert, Kau Desert, Big Island, Hawaii
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Desert, Kau Desert, Big_Island, Hawaii, EL_DP60
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Kau Desert, Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. Due to the consistent northeast trade winds and the rain shadow created by the island's volcanoes, this spectacularly dry and lifeless desert exists just four miles (six km) from a tropical rainforest.


title Desert, Kau_Desert, Big_Island, Hawaii, EL_DP60
continent North America
country USA
state/province Hawaii
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Deserts
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Desert with Saguaro cactus, dusk, Arizona
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Desert with_Saguaro_cactus, dusk, Arizona, EL_DP65
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Sonoran Desert with Saguaro Cacti, Arizona. Saguaro, the archetypical cactus, actually has a rather limited distribution, as it is only found in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. These giants of the desert can reach 50ft (about 15m) in height and 10 tons (9,000kg) in weight, and they can live 200 years. They are marvelously adapted to life in a dry climate, with wide spreading roots that can quickly gather water from the infrequent rains of the region. All of the other plants in this image exhibit their own adaptations to a dry climate, such as small and thickened leaves.


title Desert_with_Saguaro_cactus, dusk, Arizona, EL_DP65
common name Cactus, Saguaro
scientific name Carnegia gigantea
taxonomic group Cactaceae
continent North America
country USA
state/province Arizona
city/place/location Tucson
date1 yyyymmdd 20000928
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Deserts
Nutrient cycles Water
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Forest, Redwoods, California
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Forest, Redwoods, California, EL DP52
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Redwoods Forest, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, California. These forests are home to redwoods, some of the world's largest trees. These trees are regularly 3-4 yd (almost 3-4 m) in diameter, 75 yd (70 m) tall, and over 1,000 years old. The very largest and oldest can reach over 5 yd (5 m) in diameter and be more than 2,000 years old.


title Forest, Redwoods, California, EL_DP52
common name Redwood
scientific name Sequoia sempervirens
taxonomic group Taxodiaceae
continent North America
country USA
state/province California
city/place/location Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Forests
Forests Temperate coniferous forest
Conservation Nature preserves
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Forest and stream, Vermont
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Forest and_stream, Vermont, EL_DP41
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Forest and stream, Vermont. The northeast of the US is a well-watered land that supports forests and numerous perennial streams and rivers.


title Forest_and_stream, Vermont, EL_DP41
continent North America
country USA
state/province Vermont
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Wetlands, aquatic
Wetlands, Aquatic Rivers, streams
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Grassland with zebra and wildebeest, Tanzania
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Grassland with_zebra_and_wildebeest, Tanzania, EL_DP33
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Tropical grassland, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. This image was taken in Ngorongoro Crater, an extinct volcano crater some 100 square mi (250 square km) in area, with a 2,000 ft (600 m) wall around it; the crater wall can be seen rising behind the animals.


title Grassland_with_zebra_and_wildebeest, Tanzania, EL_DP33
common name Wildebeest; Zebra, Plains
scientific name Connochaetes taurinus; Equus burchelli
taxonomic group Bovidae; Equidae
continent Africa
country Tanzania
city/place/location Ngorongoro Crater
date1 yyyymmdd 2003
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Grasslands, savannas
Grasslands and savannas Tropical grassland
Ecological interactions Herbivory; Competition
Organisms Animals
Animals Mammals
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Grasslands, National Bison Range, Montana
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Grasslands, National Bison_Range, Montana, EL_DP21
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Grasslands, National Bison Range, Montana. Most of the center of North America was covered by grasslands or prairies before the arrival of European settlers. Relatively low rainfall throughout the region, combined with the heavy use of fire in the eastern portions of the grasslands by Native Americans, kept the area in grassland rather than forest. This particular grassland exists as part of the National Bison Range. Established in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, the Range was one of the first Federal wildlife refuges in the US and it played a critical role in saving the bison. Although their populations probably numbered in the tens of millions in the early 19th century, some researchers estimate that there were fewer than 1,000 bison alive in 1890, putting the species very near extinction. Through the efforts of early and staunch conservationists William T. Hornaday and President Roosevelt, these magnificent animals were brought back from the brink and they are well protected today.


title Grasslands, National_Bison_Range, Montana, EL_DP21
continent North America
country USA
state/province Montana
city/place/location National Bison Range
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Grasslands, savannas
Grasslands and savannas Temperate grassland
Conservation Nature preserves
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler
keywords Prairie

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Mangrove stilt roots, Rhizophora, Costa Rica
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Mangrove stilt_roots, Rhizophora, Costa_Rica, EL_DP10
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Rhizophora mangroves, Costa Rica. Mangrove swamps, also known as mangals, are very difficult habitats in which to live. Existing at the interface between land and ocean, mangrove swamps are alternately flushed by fresh water and salt water, and their water levels, oxygen levels, and salinity levels change throughout the day as tides move in and out. Plants in this habitat must be able to live under a very wide range of physical and chemical conditions, and very few are able to do so. Rhizophora has evolved the stilt roots or prop roots seen here that get the main trunk of the tree out of the water; these roots also enable the plant to perform gas exchange above the level of the often water-logged soil. Mangrove forests function as critical nurseries for many marine species, as they trap and drop large amounts of nutrient rich material among their roots, and therefore play an important role in the economic lives of many tropical human communities. Unfortunately, in too many parts of the world, mangroves have been cut for charcoal or have been replaced by artificial shrimp ponds, which earn vast amounts of money for their owners for the very few years that they are productive (before they become fouled and must be shut down).


title Mangrove_stilt_roots, Rhizophora, Costa_Rica, EL_DP10
common name Mangrove, Red
scientific name Rhizophora
taxonomic group Rhizophoraceae
continent North America
country Costa Rica
city/place/location Pacific Coast
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Wetlands, aquatic
Wetlands, Aquatic Mangroves; Marshes, Swamps
Conservation Endangered ecosystems
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Marsh, Salt marsh, Massachusetts
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Marsh, Salt marsh, Massachusetts, EL_DP20
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Salt marsh, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Salt marshes are highly productive ecosystems that provide valuable ecosystem services. They help buffer inland ecosystems from the force of waves while acting as a nursery for the young of many commercially valuable fish and shellfish species. This marsh is protected by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.


title Marsh, Salt_marsh, Massachusetts, EL_DP20
common name Grass, Marsh
scientific name Spartina
taxonomic group Poaceae
continent North America
country USA
state/province Massachusetts
city/place/location Martha's Vineyard
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Wetlands, aquatic;Grasslands, savannas
Grasslands and savannas Marsh
Wetlands, Aquatic Marshes, Swamps
Nutrient cycles Nitrogen
Conservation Nature preserves
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler
keywords Gramineae

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Savanna with Zebras and Impalas, Tanzania
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Savanna with_Zebras_and_Impalas, Tanzania, EL_DP30
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Savanna with zebras and impalas, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. Tropical savannas are home to large numbers of herbivore species. These herbivores frequently form mixed herds, and often eat different types of plants (herbs vs. grasses, for example) or different parts of plants (upper leaves vs. the entire plant down to ground).


title Savanna_with_Zebras_and_Impalas, Tanzania, EL_DP30
common name Impala; Zebra, Plains;
scientific name Aepyceros melampus; Equus burchelli; Acacia
taxonomic group Bovidae; Equidae; Fabaceae
continent Africa
country Tanzania
city/place/location Serengeti National Park
date1 yyyymmdd 2003
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Grasslands, savannas
Grasslands and savannas Tropical savanna
Ecological interactions Herbivory; Competition
Organisms Animals
Animals Mammals
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler
keywords Alcelaphini; Leguminosae

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Swamp, White Cedar, Massachusetts
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Swamp, White Cedar, Massachusetts, EL_DP14
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Atlantic white-cedar swamp, Massachusetts. Swamps are wetlands that support trees along with shorter plants. White-cedar swamps, such as the one in this image, were once rather common in coastal New England. But with the many uses of the rot-resistant wood, such as for shingling and roofing, most of these swamps were stripped of trees long ago. This swamp is protected by The Nature Conservancy.


title Swamp, White_Cedar, Massachusetts, EL_DP14
common name White-cedar, Atlantic
scientific name Chamaecyparis thyoides
taxonomic group Cupressaceae
continent North America
country USA
state/province Massachusetts
city/place/location Norwood
street/site/trail Black Pond Bog
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Wetlands, aquatic
Wetlands, Aquatic Marshes, Swamps
Conservation Nature preserves; Endangered ecosystems
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Tropical Dry Forest, Santa Rosa, Costa Rica
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Tropical Dry_Forest, Santa_Rosa, Costa_Rica, EL_DP35
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Tropical dry forest, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica. While tropical rainforests get a tremendous amount of attention in the popular press, the tropical dry forest is actually much more threatened, especially in Central America and Mexico. Tropical dry forests grow in regions where there are both an extensive dry season and a wet season. In forests such as the one in this image, four or five months may go by with little or no rain, and many of the tree species in these forests have evolved to be deciduous, losing their leaves throughout most or all of the dry season. Animals in these forests must also deal with the dry season. Some birds and butterflies migrate to wetter regions during the dry season, while a number of others have a quiescent stage during the dry period.


title Tropical_Dry_Forest, Santa_Rosa, Costa_Rica, EL_DP35
continent North America
country Costa Rica
city/place/location Santa Rosa National Park
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Forests
Forests Tropical dry forest
Conservation Endangered ecosystems
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Tropical Rainforest, Costa Rica
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Tropical Rainforest, Costa_Rica, EL_DP25
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Tropical rainforest, Costa Rica. Rainforests like this covered large swaths of the tropics until the 20th century, when they began to be cut for their lumber or to make room for agriculture. Those rainforests that remain, however, support extraordinary numbers of plant and animal species, many of which have not even been described by biologists.


title Tropical_Rainforest, Costa_Rica, EL_DP25
continent North America
country Costa Rica
city/place/location Rara Avis
date1 yyyymmdd 199006
date2 yyyymmdd 199008
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Forests
Forests Tropical rainforest
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Tundra at Summit Lake, Mount Evans, Colorado
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Tundra at_Summit_Lake, Mount_Evans, Colorado, EL_DP57
© Copyright Dan L. Perlman, 2005-2007

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Tundra at Summit Lake, Mount Evans, Colorado. Far above tree line, the landscape is covered with small wildflowers, short grasses, and lichens. Between a short growing season, high winds, and thin soils, this is a very difficult habitat in which to survive. This is also a good situation in which to see primary succession, as the bare rocks are first colonized by lichen then later by flowering plants as small amounts of soil form.


title Tundra_at_Summit_Lake, Mount_Evans, Colorado, EL_DP57
continent North America
country USA
state/province Colorado
city/place/location Mount Evans
date1 yyyymmdd 20000710
source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Other
Other ecosystems Tundra
Selection and adaptations Extreme environments
Change over time Succession
Succession Primary succession
Lessons Ecosystem Sampler

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Updated: 2014-10-30 18:10:00 gmt

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