Special thanks to Janet Stein Carter, Professor of Biology, and Dr. David Fankhauser for their guidance and support. Without their knowledge this report could not have been possible.
|List of Tables and Figures||iv|
|Materials and Methods||3|
|Table 1: Faunistic Survey||6|
|Table 2: Floral Survey--Shrub Plots||7|
|Table 3: Floral Survey--Herb Plots||8|
|Table 4: Soil Analysis-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium Levels||12|
|Figure 1: Maple Creek Map||5|
|Figure 2: Tree Survey--Maple Creek Area||9|
|Figure 3: Tree Survey--West Woods Area||10|
|Figure 4: Soil Analysis--pH||11|
|Figure 5: Water Analysis--pH||11|
|Figure 6: Water Analysis--Dissolved Oxygen Content||13|
|Figure 7: Water Analysis--Hardness||13|
Aschemeier, J.; Bishop, C.; Hudson, A.; Keller, B.; Kiley, T. 30 May 1998. Ecological Changes of the Maple Creek Area at the University of Cincinnati, Clermont College Campus.
A compass was used to map Maple Creek. Shrub plots of 16 m2 and herb plots of 1 m2 were taken. Timed faunistic surveys were preformed to tally various species. Percent of wood was determined in the tree survey of the Maple Creek area. Soil was analyzed for its nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium concentrations and pH levels. Water samples were analyzed for dissolved oxygen, pH levels, chloride ion concentration, and hardness (Ca++ cations).
The University of Cincinnati Clermont College campus is home to many ecosystems including an area aptly named Maple Creek. The biodiversity in this area includes a 50-75 year-old stand of sugar maple trees (Acer saccharum), two species of morels (Morchella sp.), and scouring rush (Equisetum hyemale). All of these species and many others are unique to the area of Maple Creek and thrive in conditions particular to this ecosystem. There are many biotic and abiotic factors that exist in this area that help contribute to these components of Maple Creek. The West Woods is an area across from Maple Creek that is currently under the development for the UC Clermont Access Road and Wetlands Area. The destruction of the West Woods could potentially damage the delicate ecosystem now existing in the Maple Creek area. With information gathered from surveys it can be concluded that Maple Creek holds certain conditions that are key in the balance and survival of species in this area. It is these certain conditions that are susceptible to change which could damage this delicate environment and demote the growth of the existing species of Maple Creek. Further eradication of the West Woods will lead to harmful changes in the balance of the Maple Creek area.
Environments have been studied and observed extensively by scientists throughout the years. These observations and experiments, such as soil and water analysis and faunistic surveys, encompass "the biotic and abiotic aspects of all ecosystems." (Smith 1996) It is important that ecosystems are studied because "changes in biodiversity can have significant impacts on ecosystems and landscape processes, both on a day-to-day basis and in response to extreme events" (Chapin III, et. al., 1998). Scientists have studied the consequences of the changing biodiversity in an ecosystem and concluded that "there are ethical and esthetic arguments for conserving biodiversity, regardless of its functional importance" (Chapin III, et. al., 1998). Also, "biodiversity is critical to species interactions and the persistence of diversity in communities" (Chapin III, et. al., 1998). Ecosystem processes, in turn, affect services, such as clean water and air, that are required by society. Because of current rapid rates of environmental change, it is imperative that we conserve the present levels of biodiversity as protection against an uncertain future. As our understanding of the consequences of biodiversity improves, it should be easier to determine the situations in which biodiversity conservation is particularly critical.
Using a compass and measuring tape, azimuth readings were recorded to determine the width and length of the creek. Timed counts of insects, including arthropods, were performed. Shrub and herb plots along Maple Creek were recorded quantitatively. Water was also analyzed for pH, oxygen content, and organisms per liter. Finally, the soil was analyzed for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels.
Azimuth and width readings were recorded to construct a reference map shown on page 5. In the insect survey the total number animals seen was 1285.48 per hour and the total number of species seen was 22 per hour. In the survey of shrub plots the total number of plants seen was 142 per thirty-two meters squared and the total number of species was 14 per thirty-two meters squared. In the herb plots the total number of plants seen was 316 per four meters squared and the total number of species seen was 31 per four squared meters. The mean pH of water samples from Maple Creek was 7.13. The mean dissolved oxygen content from Maple Creek was 8.73 milligrams of oxygen per liter of water. Hardness of water samples from Maple Creek averaged 234.92 parts per million calcium carbonate. The pH levels of Maple Creek's soil ranged from weak acid to weak base. Nitrogen levels were found to be trace and low in soil samples. Potassium levels were found to be very high to medium low along this area. Phosphorus levels ranged from low to high.
|No. Plots: 4|
|Phylum Annelida||Order Hemiptera|
|Subphylum Chelicerata||Order Coleoptera|
|Class Arachnida||Tiger Beetles||1.07|
|Order Phalalgida||Ladybird Beetles||1.36|
|Order Araneida||Order Lepidoptera|
|Subphylum Crustacea||Order Diptera|
|Class Malacostraca||Other Flies||18.76|
|Honeybees & Bumblebees||4.74|
|Snails & Slugs||14.44|
|Class Chilopoda||Phylum Chordata|
|Class Diplopoda||Salamanders, Toads, & Frogs||30.27|
|Crickets||2.57||TOTAL # Animals Seen||1285.48|
|TOTAL # Species Seen||22|
|No. Plots: 2|
|Total Area: 32 m2|
|Garlic Mustard, Yellow Rocket, & other Cruficers||1.72|
|Sumac and Poison Ivy saplings||0.06|
|Roses, Blackberry, & Black Raspberry||0.09|
|Hackberry & Elm saplings||0.25|
|Osage Orange saplings||0.03|
|TOTAL # Plants Seen:||8.87|
|TOTAL # Species Seen:||12|
|No. Plots: 4|
|Total Area: 4 m2|
|Kingdom Plantae||Order Rosales|
|Division Bryophyta||Strawberries, Avens,|
|Rose & Bramble seedlings||0.75|
|Scouring Rush||5.75||Order Umbellales|
|Ferns||0.5||Spreading Chervil &|
|Subdivision Angiospermae||Order Lamiales|
|Class Dicotyledonae||Purple Dead-nettle||2.5|
|Order Ranales||Other Mints||0.25|
|Kidney-leaf Buttercup||9.5||Order Rubiales|
|Order Papaverales||Cleavers & other Bedstraws||4.5|
|Mustards, Cresses,||Family Compositae|
|& Toothworts||5.75||Other Composits||6.75|
|Order Caryophyllales||Class Monocotyledoneae|
|White & Yellow Trout Lillies||0.25|
|Pale & Spotted Jewelweed||0.75||Order Graminales|
|Order Euphorbiales||Other grasses||9.75|
|False Mermaid Weed||3.5|
|Order Sapindales||TOTAL # Plants Seen:||292|
|Poison Ivy & Virginia||TOTAL # Species Seen:||23|
|Location||Date||Nitrogen (N)||Phosphorus (P)||Potassium (K)|
|Scouring Rush||05/26/98||Low||High||Medium Low|
|On Right, First Dead Tree||05/26/98||Very Low||Low||Very High|
|On Left where Morels Were||05/26/98||Very Low||Low||Very High|
Based on the findings of this report, it is in no great stretch of the imagination to conclude that the community of Maple Creek is in a healthy but changing state at this time. The destruction of the West Woods has yet to leave an indelible mark on the hardy Maple Creek area, but the potential is there for irreversible consequences. Now, with the West Woods stripped to bare soil awaiting further construction, the dissolved oxygen content of Maple Creek water is changing. The West Woods, once living in ecological harmony with the Maple Creek area, will soon be a parking lot, a presence that can only be described as menacing to the delicate biotic and abiotic factors of Maple Creek. Automobile exhaust, rain water run-off, and the litter associated with an increase in human traffic will ultimately redefine what is now Maple Creek.
It is the hope of this research team that future students will urge U.C. administration to take responsibility for the unavoidable changes they have set in motion. Continued monitoring by observation and the experiments conducted in this report will be like a finger on the pulse of Maple Creek, providing priceless ecological information.
Change is inevitable for Maple Creek, but perhaps with close observation of its obvious health out-of-doors and the dutiful policing of its fate within U.C. administrative offices, will provide concerned students with the opportunity to make a positive difference in the welfare of the remaining ecosystems that embrace their campus.
Anon. 1996. "Environmental Analysis--Clermont College." H.C. Nutting Company.
Carter, Janet Stein. 1998. Ecology 245 Lab Manual. pp. 23-85. Clermont College, OH.
Carter, Janet Stein. 19-26, May, 1998. Biology Home Page at http://Buglady.clc.uc.edu.
Chapin III, F. Stuart; Sala, E. Osvaldo; Burke, C. Ingrid; Grime, J. Phillip; Hooper, David U.; Lauernroth, William K.; Lombard, Amanda; Mooney, Harold A.; Mosier, Arvin R.; Naeem, Shahid; Pacala, Stephen W.; Roy, Jacques; Steffen, William L.; Tilaman, David. 1998. Ecosytem consequences of changing biodiversity. Bioscience. 48(1).
Smith, Robert. 1996. Ecology and Field Biology, 5th Ed. Harper-Collins Publ., Inc. New York. pp. 153.