Ecosystem Paper – Odenton, Maryland, US

An ecosystem is basically a community of the living organisms together with the nonliving components of the environment. These include the things like water air as well as the minerals which interact in one system. The biotic and abiotic components of the environment are said to have been linked together through the energy flows as well as the nutrient cycle.

My area is Odenton which is a census-designated area in Anne Arundel County, in Maryland, US. It is located about 15-20 minutes from Annapolis which is the state capital. Over 3000 plant species, both the woody and herbaceous have been recognized. This has been since the Europeans began cataloguing the Odenton species in the 18th century. The most important plants that were recognized were the plants that provide food as well as the ones which could be used to build shelter. The other plants were explored once the residents settled. Odenton has been a home of so many plant species because of its diverse hydrology, geology and the land formation (Costanza, Norton & Haskell, 1992). It thus creates a very unique natural community and thus provides a suitable habitat for wildlife.

It is also a home to about 90 species of mammals and about 93 subspecies and species of amphibians and reptiles. Over 400 birds are as well in existent in the ecosystems as well as hundreds of freshwater and marine water species. Of all these creatures, 300 of them are considered the rare species. 110 of these are considered the endangered or the threatened species and thus are offered protection (Costanza, Norton & Haskell, 1992).

The Odenton ecosystem is composed of a very big web. For example, in the lower food web, it is composed of very small but beneficial organisms. These include the phytoplankton like the algae which are such as the diatoms, and the dinoflagellates which are responsible for capturing energy from the sun through photosynthesis. Without this plants, all the animals in the same ecosystem will die. In the middle of the food web are the worms, jellyfish and other small animals. They take the energy that has been produced by the animals in the lower web and as well make it available for the animals in the upper web (Belgrano, 2005). The animals in the middle of the web include the oysters. This is very important in keeping the bay very clean. It as well helps to turn the algae into food that can be eaten by the large animals. At the top of the food chain is where all the energy flow in the food chain comes to a stop. These include other fish like the hog hunter, Crocker, the white perch as well as the catfish that feed on the oysters.

There are several examples of species interaction in the ecosystem. In Odenton for example, the ash trees are attacked by the emerald ash borer. It is an invasive beetle which has killed millions of the ash trees in Odenton. There is also a commensalism relationship between the squirrels in the state and the Oak trees. The squirrel benefits from the oak for food and shelter. The oak on the other hand is not affected by this.

There are several invasive species in Odenton. These came about after the colonization of North America. This is when the new species were introduces at a very increasing rate. They arrived through a number of pathways which include the ships ballast, imported goods and many more. One of the invasive species in Odenton is the Phragmites. It is also commonly known as a reed. It is a large, perennial coarse grass which is found mostly in the wetlands. The scattered clumps of this grass can be of help for small mammals and birds as they act as shelter but they also form the large dense stands which are of very little value for the wild life. They are thus a cause of the reduced diversity of the wildlife and plant species.

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