What are the different microhabitats on a tree, whos there, and what are they doing?

Question: What are the different microhabitats on a tree, whos there, and what are they doing? Purpose: To open your eyes to a tremendous diversity of life styles. Needed: Magnifying glass or hand lens. Tree or other substantive plant. Other plants could be used if necessary. How To Do It: First, go out and find a tree. Next, stand back and look at the tree as set of small habitats each with a unique set of physical (and biological) features. Whats the top of the tree like? Lots of soft green juicy stuff to eat? But isnt it hot? bright? nutrient-scarce? Look at the lower branches; the small twigs; the branch tips; the trunk and imagine yourself a bird- or ant-sized organism. Arent the stresses and the food rewards and the hiding places etc. different in different parts of the plant? Now, look closely at the plant. Look at the fissures in the bark vs. the bark surface; on pine, peel off a little bit of the bark to discover the rich habitat underneath (dont peel off too much). Use magnifying glasses as necessary. Compare bark on the trunk with the bark near the roots and dig around the roots to explore another microhabitat. Compare the bark on the trunk with that on the limbs, twigs, and leaf clusters. Note how exposure, humidity, brightness, food, shelter from enemies, etc. vary from site to site. Are animals distributed at random over this complex landscape? of course not! How are they distributed? Where are they clumped? Look at the north and south side of the tree trunk. Are there any differences? Write: See writing assignment guidelines. Does a Spanish moss (or ball moss or old mans beard lichen, etc.) on a lower branch experience conditions different from that in the canopy? How so? Why do some insects shelter under bark plates? Are conditions in an oak trunk bark fissure different from the surrounding plateaus? What insects live in the foliage or needles; the trunk; the small branches; the cones (if pine used)? etc. etc. Identify, draw, or describe the variety of organisms you encounter, and note their location on the tree, their possible purpose being there, and what conditions are present in their chosen microhabitat.

*double spaced

*if you cite work other than your own, reference it

*pictures, drawings, field notes are all acceptable to add to your paper if your choice asks you to do them

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