Friday, November 09, 2007

Point Reyes National Park

Like a girlscout on an adventure, I went with my Biogeography class on a field trip to Point Reyes. Kurt, our enthusiastic and very knowledgeable professor, showed us the different biomes and types of disturbances that exist in this relatively small area. Biomes usually describe the different plant communities on a global level, but PR happens to have several biomes going on around the area. This is usually the case when mountains are present. We have the Forest, Shrubland, Grassland and the coastline.
Correction from my Professor:

Cool to see that on-line! I especially like the composition of that one marsh shot.
One note, however (since it is on-line for all to see...I can't help suggesting a clarification): the entire field trip was in one biome--the Mediterranean Biome--but we were in different biotic communities (oak savannah, redwood forest, pine forest, coastal sage and scrub).

I need to pay more attention!

Fire is a disturbance that occurs in this area. Although most people think of fire as an environmental hazard, it actually allows the forest to regenerate. Some plants, like Pine trees, need fire to release the seeds from its cones.

The most amazing thing I've seen on my field trip to Point Reyes is the separation of a creek by a man-made walking path and the resulting creation of a new and distinct biota. These two pictures are of the same creek, I took the pictures of both sides while standing on the walking path. One side has dry grasses and shrub growing around the water's edge, while the otherside seemed lush with tall grasses, green groundcover and fauna such as deer and birds.

A sad phenomenon is happening in this grassland, and that's the proliferation of an invasive specie from Africa. I forget what it's called but it's the pretty red and green plant in the middle picture. Invasive species are a sad occurrence because they dominate the landscape destroying the original vegetation and consequently the animal life as well.

We ended the trip at the beach where it was warm and windless. It almost felt like I was in a tropical beach. I would have stayed to veg-out and enjoy the sun if I didn't have a wedding to attend that night.

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