Matter is Everywhere, Even up in the Trees

In my first sit spot we had to go out into the woods and find ways that matter was cycling through all around us and we had to write and describe what we saw and how it was cycling. I found many things that were cycling matter through the ecosystem; including things like frogs, bugs, birds, trees, squirrels, sow bugs, and acorns.

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This is a view of some duckweed in the WCC pond right in front of my sit spot.

An example that matter is cycling at my sit spot is that the frogs that live in and around the pond eat the smaller bugs that live in and around the pond. According to savethefrogs.com there are 6348 species of frogs. When the frogs go around eating the bugs and aquatic life, the bugs energy and matter breaks down inside the frog. Then that matter eventually comes back out into the ground which cycles the matter from the bugs into the frog then back out of the frog. While sitting at my sit spot I have seen many bugs and insects that are included in a frogs diet; these bugs were grasshoppers, mosquitoes, and flies.

Matter not only cycles through the frogs, but it also cycles through the birds too. The birds that make nests and live up in the trees come down to the ground to eat the bugs that live on or under the ground. When a bird has little baby birds up in their nest they need to get out of the tree and down to the ground to look for food to feed their babies. When a mother bird is collecting worms and bugs to feed her babies, those worms/bugs will be broken down in the mother’s mouth and the matter will be passed from the mother to the baby, then back to the forest. According to currentresults.com there are 784 species of birds in the Unites States alone. The birds that live in the WCC pine woods will eat worms, ants, mosquitoes, flies, and also grasshoppers.

Matter also cycles through the plant life. Matter cycles through trees because trees grow from carbon dioxide, and the trees around around my sit spot grow acorns. Trees are made up of 95% carbon dioxide. The tree takes in carbon dioxide which makes it grow. Plenty of animals eat acorns/nuts from these trees, but I have only seen a squirrel at my sit spot that was holding a nut. When carbon dioxide gets into the trees and makes them grow, eventually they will get big enough to grow acorns. When this happens the matter in the acorns will be passed through the squirrel when it digests the acorns or nuts that they have eaten. The matter will go through the squirrel back onto the ground, which will fertilize the ground and eventually something will grow there that will be beneficial for survival for an animal to eat. Most squirrels are vegetarian, except flying squirrels, so they mostly hunt for nuts. According to about-squirrels.com, squirrels will hunt for “nuts, seeds, fruits, lichens, buds, mushrooms, roots, pine cones, leaves, twigs, bark, black walnuts, oranges, avocados, apples, and apricots.” A few yards away from my sit spot on the trail there are some white, but also kind of yellowish, mushrooms, so the squirrels will eat those too and bring back more matter through them and back into the WCC pine woods forest.

This is a view of my sit spot in the WCC campus woods.

This is a view of my sit spot in the WCC campus woods.

The last example of matter cycling though the ecosystem at my sit spot had to do with sow bugs. I have seen a lot of sow bugs near my sit spot. Sow bugs eat decaying plant matter, and when they digest the dead plants the matter gets cycled back through them which eventually end up going into other living things and that makes the cycle start all over again.

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