Biodiversity Essay

1313 words - 6 pages

KOH YEN SIN/ A8/ A0094399J
My hightlights of the Kent Ridge practical
My perceptions of forests used to be being green, creepy and dark. Their only function I know is to act as “lungs of Earth”, to photosynthesize and make food. Before my Kent Ridge practical, I wondered why I have to step into the forest and get bitten by insects and mosquitoes, just to see plants and animals, some of which were boring and insignificant to look at. This practical has proven to me that forests are more than what they appear to be and certainly broadened up my understanding of plants as more than just a tool for photosynthesis.
Before the trip to the forest, each person in my group was asked to ...view middle of the document...

This means that the frequency produced by the wings of the carpenter bees actually opens the stamens and the pollens are sprayed onto the bodies of the carpenter bees (Tan H.T.W. et al, 2003). This is interesting as I never expected pollination to be more sophisticated than rubbing of the pollinators’ bodies to the stamens in order to get the pollens. This certainly makes Sendudok unique and special from other insect-pollinated plants.
Along the way, I also realized that some leaves are adapted to perform different roles besides its function as a center for photosynthesis. For plants with drip-tip leaves, it allows the rapid flow of water that is accumulated on the leaves. This not only reduce the drying time of the leaves, it also washes away the debris such as soil and dead matter and prevents the growth of epiphylls such as lichens. The debris and the growth of epiphylls can block the sunlight from the leaves and reduce the photosynthetic capability of the leaves (C. T. Ivey, N. DeSilva, 2000). Another example that exhibits the different roles in leaves is the Resam (Dicranopteris linearis). In Resam, the brown leaves at the bottom of the plant are decomposed. This forms a pool of nutrient, which serves to provide nourishment for Resam. Leaves also serve as a material for Weaver’s ants (Oecophylla smaragdina ) to build their nest. They pull the edges of the leaves by forming chains and use silk from their larvae to join the edges together and form a nest in a shape of a ball. I was deeply amazed by these functions and this deepened my understanding of the usage of leaves in the ecosystem, which can be a source of nutrients, as a shelter for other organisms and a self-cleaning tool instead of just creating food using energy from the Sun.

Besides the flora of the forest, we were also introduced to some common animals that reside in the forest. One organism that changed my perspective of it was the termites. Termites are known to be destructive and harmful in the urban setting. Their ability to colonize and consume wood causes substantial damage to buildings, which can eventually lead to the loss of the property. Repairing the damages done by termites and the elimination of these bugs can be costly too. According to my TA, who has a keen interest in termites, termites play the role of detritivores in the ecosystem. They obtain their nutrients from litters such as rotting, dungs and carcass. This aids in the process of decomposition as they break down litter into smaller particles in their gut and release them in the form of faeces, and also digest cellulose using cellulase from their gut and the enzymes from the environmental microbes (C. T. Ivey, N. DeSilva, 2000). This is because the large surface...

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