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Sundarbans Ecology Project

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Preethi Kannan

on 5 April 2013

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Transcript of Sundarbans Ecology Project

Exploring the mysterious world of mangroves Sundarbans A mangrove is a wet, spongy area of land in tropical climates and along coastal regions that is dominated by mangrove trees and shrubs, particularly red mangroves (Rhizophora), black mangroves (Avicennia) and white mangroves (Laguncularia). Biotic factors What's a mangrove? Any organism that influences or affects an environment; an effect of an organism's actions within an environment. Levels of Organization Parasite/Host Predator/Prey Relationships What is a Predator?
An animal that naturally preys on others.

What is Prey?
An animal hunted and killed by another for food.

In ecology, predation is a mechanism of population control. Thus, when the number of predators is scarce the number of preys should rise. When this happens the predators would be able to reproduce more and possibly change their hunting habits. As the number of predators rises, the number of preys decline. This results in food scarcity for predators that can eventually lead to the death of many predators. Food Chain Examples:
1.) Royal Bengal tigers help balance the population as it plays the important role of predator.

2.) Sundari trees provide food and shelter for the vast types of fauna in the area.

3.) Large-toothed sawfish help maintain the balance of saltwater fish to avoid overpopulation.

4.) Black-headed Ibis help maintain the marshy soil as it overturns the earth while probing for food with its beak or feet. By Preethi Kannan
Watson 4th
4/5/13 Large toothed
sawfish Royal Bengal Tiger Black headed Ibis Yellow-bellied Kingfisher A nonliving condition or thing, as climate or habitat, that influences or affects an ecosystem and the organisms in it: Abiotic factors can determine which species of organisms will survive in a given environment. Abiotic Factors Examples:
1.) High salinity levels, although severely harmful to most plants, are endured by the unique mangrove trees.

2.) Intense flooding and tides helps bring in saltwater and with it all kinds of things like sediments, nutrients, clean water, take out organic carbon and reduced sulfur compounds.

3.) The sultry hot climate is another reason why mangroves are the most dominant species of flora in this area.

4.) The soil is very loose and prone to be eroded in a short time, forcing mangrove plants to adapt to the unstable ground by developing strong roots as anchors.
All of these fctors contribute to the overall function of the mangrove forest. Hot Sultry Weather 1.) Individual- Individual is any living being. Individuals act reciprocally with the environmental abiotic factors, which limit their distribution.

2. Population: A group of individuals of a given species that live in a specific geographic area.

3. Community: All the living beings distributed into a specific geographical area. A community includes living organisms of different species.

4. Ecosystem: The term refers to all the abiotic factors (physical and chemical constituents) and all the communities that established in a specific area. High Salinity Loose soil Frequent Flooding Individual Lives in the canopy area of the mangrove forest and feeds on . This peculiar creature is an endangered animal who makes its home in the disappearing mangrove world. Population Proboscis Monkey Bands of Probiscis monkeys range from around 20 to 60 individuals who organize themselves in an order of hierarchy and only groom or interact with those in their own band. Together, these monkeys find safety in numbers as it stays away from its predators which includes the clouded leopards and crocodiles and live in mostly mangrove, riverine and dipterocarp areas. Probiscis Monkey Mudskipper White Mangrove Salt Water Crocodile Together, these living organisms form one of many communities of the Sundarban Mangrove area. They all benefit each other in some way. For example, the mudskipper uses the white mangrove as shelter and the Probiscis monkey provides energy for the Salt Water Crocodile. Community Sunlight Fishing Cat White Mangrove Royal Bengal Tiger flooding/saltwater This is an ecosystem because the abiotic and biotic factors of this area play an important role and create a sizeable impact on the other. The sunlight and amount of water helps the white mangrove provide food and shelter for the Probiscis monkey and fishing cat which in turn help keep the balance in the mangrove by playing its role as predator. Ecosystem What is a Parasite?
An organism that lives in or on another organism and benefits at the host's expense.

What is a Host?
The organism victimized by a parasite and is harmed in the process.

A parasite /host relationship is when only one side of the relationship benefits from the interaction and the other is harmed. Mistletoe grows on a mangrove and eventually penetrates the bark of the mangrove and then takes some of its food from the mangrove. The mangrove is disadvantaged by this. These biotic factors may compete for abiotic factors such as the common competition between different types of mangroves for sunlight, water and nutrient-rich soil. Examples:
1.) Royal Bengal Tiger preys on the Wild Mangrove Boar.
2.) Saltwater Crocodile prey upon marine turtles during mating season.
3.) Nurse sharks prey on the mud crabs on the Sundarban coast.
4.) Samoan crabs (mangrove crabs) feast on fiddler crabs and oysters. Predator/prey is not the same as parasitism because parasites must live off of a living organism in order to sustain life while predators must constantly hunt for prey to consume. Sunlight- Source of all energy White Mangrove- producer Mangrove Periwinkle- primary consumer Mud crab- secondary consumer White Ibis- tertiary consumer Mangrove mushrooms- decomposer Explanation: 1.) Sunlight is the source of all energy. It allows the white mangrove plant to create food through photosynthesis. Since, this plant creates its own food, it is a producer.
2.) The Mangrove Periwinkle is one of many organisms that feed off of the mangrove plant. Since it receives its energy from a producer, it is a primary consumer.
3.) The Mud crab is a predator of the Mangrove periwinkle, therefore making it a secondary consumer since it receives its energy from a primary consumer.
4.) The White Ibis is a tertiary consumer since it feeds off of the mud crab population which is a secondary consumer.
5.) The Mangrove mushroom is the decomposer in this food chain because it decomposes the dead organisms of this ecosystem and recycles the energy for itself. The energy received by this mushroom is the same energy received by the white mangrove at the beginning of this chain. Food Web White mangrove Mangrove periwinkles producers ghost shrimp red mangrove coon oysters black mangrove mud crab various saltwater fish white faced heron primary consumers Secondary consumers Saltwater crocodile Royal Bengal tiger Mangrove bacteria mushrooms Tertiary consumers decomposers If a tsunami hit this area of the mangrove forest or human activity in this area removed one of the species in this web, the remaining animals would be devastatingly impacted. For example, if the mangrove periwinkles were removed, the white headed ibis, mud crabs and various saltwater fish would have to rely on different sources of energy to receive their vital supply. The white heron will heavily rely on the ghost shrimp to get its energy and this will cause a decrease in the ghost shrimp population. The loss in energy sources will force the white heron will soon die off. This will force its predators, the Royal Bengal tiger will look to other food sources and may look to human colonies or livestock for sources of energy which will create a problem for the tigers and the humans raising the livestock. In the end, we can understand that a food web is a delicate structure that must not be tampered with or it may create many problems for both nature and the humans near the area. Conclusion From this example of an intricate mangrove ecosystem, we are able to understand that the balance of such a meticulous web is essential for the well being of all the living organisms associated with it. This is one of the many reasons why we should take care of the ecosystems around us because the number one killer of dying species like the Royal Bengal Tiger or the Probiscis monkey is human activity. To conclude, the unique creatures and organisms of the Sundarban mangrove not only work together in their own populations to live, but also depend on other species to sustain life. Bibliography:
Warren, Kennedy. "Mangroves." National Geographic. National Geographic, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2013.

"IWC Habitat Awareness Kelp Forest Animals." IWC Habitat Awareness Kelp Forest Animals. IWC, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2013.

''Mangrove Habitats." Mangrove Habitats. Cartage, n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2013.

"Probiscis monkeys" Proboscis Monkey of Borneo – Visit Us, Know Us, Save Us! N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2013.

"Mangrove Action Project." Mangrove Ecology —. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2013.

*Pictures are all either commercial or from one of the sites listed above.

Fun Facts

A new study has found the Sundarban coast retreating up to 200 meters in a single year due to rapidly deteriorating health of the world's largest Mangrove forest in the Sundarbans, the Ganges delta region of India and Bangladesh.

In the Bengali language 'Sundarban' can be literally translated as 'beautiful forest'. The area is the largest block of continuous mangrove forest in the world, being home to almost 500 species of reptile, fish, bird and mammals, including the endangered Bengal tiger.

Agricultural land conversion destroyed 17,179 hectares of mangroves in India during 1975 to 2005. A further 7,554 hectares was lost due to Shrimp cultivation. Over the last 30 years some 7,500 hectares in Bangladesh has become submerged by rising seas.

The Sundarbans ecosystem is a balance between freshwater and salty ocean wetlands environments. It needs the flow of freshwater via the Ganges and the Gorai river, particularly during dry periods to balance the saline intrusion.
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