Assessment Description

Pick a biome and ecosystem and create a 500-700 words addressing the following:

Refer to the infographic provided and chose a biome to describe with an example ecosystem.
Provide one example of a keystone species found in the biome/ecosystem. Why is this keystone species important to the biome/ecosystem? What defines it as a keystone species?
Provide an example of an invasive species found in the biome/ecosystem. What are some of the negative impacts this invasive species has on the ecosystem? What is being done to mitigate impacts?
Provide one example of an endangered species found in the biome/ecosystem. Briefly discuss the causes of the decline in the species and what is being done to help.
Please include at least 3 academic sources and make sure all sources are cited on the assignment.

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Biome and Ecosystem: Temperate Rainforest
Example Ecosystem: Pacific Northwest Temperate Rainforest (USA)
A temperate rainforest is a type of forest characterized by high rainfall and mild temperatures year-round. The Pacific Northwest Temperate Rainforest is found in the western coast of North America, stretching from Alaska to California. The ecosystem is dominated by coniferous trees, including Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, and Sitka Spruce, along with deciduous trees like Bigleaf Maple and Pacific Yew.

Keystone Species: Pacific Salmon
The Pacific Salmon is a keystone species in the Pacific Northwest Temperate Rainforest ecosystem. A keystone species is defined as a species that plays a crucial role in the functioning of an ecosystem and whose impact on the ecosystem is disproportionate to its abundance. Pacific Salmon play a crucial role in the food chain of the temperate rainforest, providing a source of food for numerous species, including bears, birds, and other fish.

Furthermore, the Pacific Salmon has a unique life cycle that includes both freshwater and saltwater habitats. During their lifecycle, they contribute to the ecosystem by providing essential nutrients to the forest floor through their excrement and dead bodies. This helps maintain the productivity of the ecosystem, which in turn supports the survival of other species.

Invasive Species: Japanese knotweed
Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is an invasive species found in the Pacific Northwest Temperate Rainforest. This species was introduced as an ornamental plant in the late 19th century but has since spread rapidly, taking over native vegetation and affecting the ecosystem’s structure and function. Japanese knotweed is highly invasive, as it can grow through concrete and has deep roots that can disrupt the soil and erosion control.

Additionally, its dense growth can shade out native vegetation, reducing biodiversity and altering the forest understory. This can have cascading effects on other species, including reducing the number of habitats for native animals and insects. Efforts are being made to control the spread of Japanese knotweed, including physical removal and the use of herbicides. However, it is a difficult species to eradicate, and management must be ongoing to prevent its spread.

Endangered Species: Northern Spotted Owl
The Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) is an endangered species found in the Pacific Northwest Temperate Rainforest. This species is considered an indicator species for the health of the temperate rainforest ecosystem. The primary cause of the decline in the Northern Spotted Owl population is habitat loss, as old-growth forests, which provide the owl’s preferred habitat, have been logged for commercial purposes.

Conservation efforts to help the Northern Spotted Owl include habitat protection and management, as well as captive breeding programs. The species is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in the United States, which provides legal protection for its habitat and requires the US government to take steps to conserve the species and its habitat.

US Forest Service. (2021). Pacific Northwest Temperate Rainforest.
Pacific Salmon. (2021). National Geographic.
Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board. (2021). Japanese knotweed.

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