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Cole Leary

on 8 January 2014

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Transcript of Wetlands

Typical Minnesota Wetland
A wetland is an area in which there is water on or below the suface of the soil. The surface of the soil is also covered with plants (Wetlands).
There are eight different types of wetlands in Minnesota: Lakes, Rivers, Bogs, Marshes, Shallow Open Water, Swamps, Basins, and Wet Meadows (Types of Wetlands).
There is currently around 10.62 million acres of wetlands in Minnesota (Wetlands).
Primary Consumer:
Wood Duck
Secondary Consumer:
Snapping Turtle
Producer: Cattail
Population Size
Reproductive Behavior
Sensitivity to the Environmental Insults
Human Usefulness/ Attractiveness
Example of Symbiotic Relationship
Although narrow-leaved cattails have been known to live in deep-water areas, the typical cattail grows in levels of shallow water. These shallow environments include marshes and wet ditches (Minnesota DNR).
Like other plants, cattails grow through the distribution of their seeds. However, it is a more common practice for the plant to grow from it's rhizomes. The rhizomes are the roots of the cattails that form new stocks in the same area (Minnesota DNR).
Humans use cattails for duck-hunting. The long stems of the plant provide coverage so the bird is unable to spot the shooter (Minnesota DNR).

All parts of the cattail are edible. It is said that when raw, the plant tastes like cucumber. When steamed, the shoots taste like cabbage, and when the rhizomes are boiled, they taste like potatoes (USDA).

Native Americans used the stalks for bed material, ceremonies, and torches (USDA).

Current investigations are attempting to use cattails as fossil fuels (Institute on the Environment).

Biotic and Abiotic Elements of a Wetland
Energy Pyramid
Symbiotic Relationships
Environmental Impact Report
i. The cattail is an autotroph producer.
ii. For nutritional requirements, cattails need to be areas with low water levels. Environments such as ponds, lakes, and marshes are where cattails can be found. Also the plant can contain moderate levels of salinity (USDA). Due to the fact that the cattail is a plant, it will need sunlight.
Management of the cattail species has proven to be problematic. Because of the fast growth rate, it is hard to kill the cattail. Attempted methods include mowing over the cattails after their heads have formed, but not yet matured, will reduce their limits. This will only work though if you mow again the month following the first mowing. The mowing method has only proven to reduce 75% of the population (USDA).
An example of mutualism in wetlands is the buttercup and the bee. While the bee eats the nectar of the flower and flying away, it carries the buttercup's pollen. The spreading of the pollen helps the flower reproduce (Wetlands).
An example of commensalism in wetlands is the monarch butterfly and the milk weed. A pregnant monarch will leave her eggs on the plant. Since the milk weed is toxic, predators leave it, and the eggs, alone. The milk weed is in no way benefiting or being harmed during this process (Wetlands).
An example of parasitism in wetlands is the leech and the catfish. While the leech latches onto the catfish and sucks out the catfish's blood for food, the catfish gains no benefits and usually dies (Wetlands).
When marsh wrens use the leaves of the cattail for nesting is en example of commensalism. The bird gets a place to sleep and lay it's eggs, and the cattails are not harmed nor benefited (Cattails).
The Disturbance
Organisms Effected
The Producer
Primary Consumer
Secondary Consumer
Mitigation Ideas
To prevent the spread of the Faucet snail, you could look over your boat after exiting the water. Look for and remove any aquatic plant, mud, and animals. Do the inspection before entering into a different body of water (Minnesota DNR).

Another possibility is to pressure wash the boat with hot water for a minute or two (Minnesota DNR).
In Northwest Minnesota, 95,498 acres of cattails have been identified (Institute on the Environment).

A report done in October 2013 states that cattails are over populating in some areas. The normal ratio of cattail growth is 50:50 with the amount of water in the area. The current ratio exceeds those limits (Institute on the Environment).
Josh, Cole, & Ashley
Producer 100%
Primary Consumer 10%
Secondary Consumer 1%
Population Size
Reproductive Behavior
Sensitivity to Environmental Insults
Human Usefulness/ Attractiveness
Example of Symbiotic Relationship
Population Size
Reproductive Behavior
Sensitivity to Environmental Insults
Human Usefulness/ Attractiveness
Example of Symbiotic Relationship
Faucet Snails are a native species to England, but they are an invasive species to the Great Lakes area. The snails has three internal flukes that infect waterfowl that consume it. This causes flight and diving difficulties for the birds. The waterfowl the snail was consumed by will eventually die (Minnesota DNR).
The wood duck is affected by the faucet snail when the duck consumes the snail. The snails' internal flukes attack the internal organs of the duck. In turn, the wood duck is unable to fly or dive very well. Ultimately, the wood duck would die (Minnesota DNR).

To prevent the spread of faucet snails, hunters are forced to cut down cattails when setting up blinds. This is to prevent the snails from attaching to the hunters clothing, but in turn, breaks down the cattails (Minnesota DNR).
Because of the fact that Wood Ducks are the prey to the snapping turtle, faucet snails reduce the levels of snapping turtles in Minnesota wetlands (Wood Ducks). Faucet snails kill wood ducks. When there are fewer wood ducks in the environment, there is less food for the snapping turtle. This eventually kills the that breed of turtle.
Wood ducks typically live in and around wooded river bottoms, flooded hardwood forests, wooded potholes, and lakes (DNR, "Wood Duck").
These ducks migrate south for the winters (DNR, "Wood Duck").
Over 100,000 wood ducks come and breed in Minnesota annually in the spring months, according to biologist beliefs (DNR,"Wood Duck").
Hunting is a major reason that the population size is where it is at. For instance in 1999, 124,300 wood ducks were collected in Minnesota (DNR, "Wood Duck").
Female wood ducks use down from their own body to soften their nests which they will lay 10 to 15 eggs in (DNR, "Wood Ducks").
The eggs will hatch 28 to 31 days after they are laid (DNR, "Wood Duck").
Because worms are decomposers, they break down dead animals. Since faucet snails kill more ducks, the worms have more food to eat. Therefore, the faucet snails increase the worm population.
Food Web Position
heterotroph omnivore, primary consumer (DNR, "Wood Duck")
Nutritional requirements
acorns, weed seeds, berries, insects, and plants (DNR, "Wood Duck")
At one point, wood ducks were at the brink of extinction when there were low numbers of dead trees to make their homes, but due to hunting regulations and other efforts, such as artificial nests, the population has increased (DNR, "Wood Duck").
Wood ducks are hunted in Minnesota and are known to taste pretty good (DNR, "Wood Ducks").
A wood duck nesting in a tree is a form of commensalism. When the wood duck nests, it finds a home. The tree is not harmed.
Snapping turtles are found mainly where water is present. These places often have low currents, muddy bottoms of the body of water, and lots of plants ("Common Snapping").
Decomposer 10%, 1%, and 0.1%
Snapping turtles are currently able to be harvested by humans. These turtles are usually used for their meat ("Common Snapping").
The snapping turtle's population size ranges anywhere from 1.2-49 turtles per hectare, 10,000 square meters (van Dijk).
Snapping turtles reproduce whenever they are active, but usually in the spring and fall. The female then leaves the water to find the right nesting area. The female lays 10-100 eggs which after 50-125 days will hatch and the baby turtles move to open water ("Common Snapping").
Food Web Position
heterotroph, omnivore, secondary consumer ("Common Snapping")
Nutritional Requirements
The snapping turtle eats plants and animals as well as dead animals. Some examples of these plants and animals are fish, insects, worms, and aquatic plants ("Common Snapping").
Fun Fact
Snapping turtles must eat underwater because they need the water pressure to swallow ("Common Snapping")!
Snapping Turtles have been on the special concern list since 1984 in Minnesota due to the unlimited amount of adult turtles allowed to be harvested as long as they meet certain requirements. The peak of hunting season of snapping turtles also occurs along with the peak of the egg laying season ("Common Snapping").
Population Size
Reproductive Behavior
Sensitivity to Environmental Insults
Human Usefulness/ Attractiveness
Examples of Symbiotic Relationships
Earthworms are hermaphrodites. This means they possess both male and female organs, but they still need a partner to reproduce. Each worm has a pair of ovaries and two sperm openings. When the male pore goes over the female pore, they will make an egg cocoon. This fertilized egg will then be placed in the soil (Earthworms).
Earthworms are actually an aquatic European-native, but they invaded the United States. In Minnesota, worms mainly live in forests, but also in gardens and other places rich in soil (Forests Tomorrow).
A study on earthworms reveals that their population size varies. At the U of M, they concluded that there is about 12 to 28 earthworms per square foot. However, Sibley Park shows us that there is only four to ten worm per square foot (Exotic Earthworms Abundance in West Central Minnesota).
i. Earthworms are heterotroph decomposers

ii. The worm consumes the soil, which contains decaying vegetation and animals. (Earthworms).
Since earthworms are technically an invasive species, they do do some harm to the environment. However, it is difficult to depose of a population already in place. The best way is to stop the transportation of them. Since they don't move very fast, a worm that is not transported can only travel a half a mile every 100 years.

To get rid of unused bait, dump it in the trash, because it is illegal to release the worms into the environment (Minnesota DNR).

Instead of releasing worms from a compost pile, freeze the pile for one week (Minnesota DNR).
Earthworms are still helpful means of loosening soil. By creating tunnels, they allow water to move through the ground faster to get to the plants (Minnesota DNR). This helps plants grow in a person's garden.

Earthworms can also be used by fishermen as bait (Earthworms).

As natural decomposers, people use earthworms in compost piles to break down material (Forests Tomorrow).
The symbiotic relationship for the earthworm and a plant can be mutualism. This is due to the fact that earthworms eat the decayed plant and produce castings. These castings then give nutrients to the existing plants (Earthworms).
Birds eating snapping turtle eggs is a form of parasitism. The bird benefits from the nutrient of the turtle egg, but the baby turtle dies.
Many wetlands are different from each other because of the many abiotic and biotic factors in all wetlands. Some abiotic factors include soil, climate, and water quality. Some biotic factors are things such as the types of bacteria, plants, and animals in the area and their conditions (Wetland Ecology).
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