Impact on the Small Coralline Cay

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Experiment Number: 5
Date: December 8,2011.
Aim: To assess and analyze man’s impact on the small coralline cay- Lime cay. Apparatus: boat
Lime cay is a small coralline cay that is mostly used by humans for their personal entertainment. By visiting this cay, man has had detrimental effects on the environment. In the earlier times, man’s impact was not so prevalent, however, overtime it has increased as agricultural practices and technology has been introduced. The effects can rise from pollution to global deforestation, which results in the death of many organisms. This can lead to species and genetic diversity being lost and also gives rise to extinction of some species. The adverse effects will be discussed later in details. Procedure:

A small boat was used to travel to lime cay where the students walked around the small coralline cay and recorded all observations, which indicated man’s impact on this environment. Observation:

Pictures showing the small coraline cay-Lime cay and evidence of the presence of man’s pollution.

Picture showing an example of an organism that lives on the cay that is affected by man’s presence (sea urchin).

Table showing the organisms present on the cay and their preys Organisms Being Fed On| Organisms Feeding|
Flowers| Snails and Bees|
Snails and Fish| Turtle|
Leaf litter | Earthworm|
Phytoplankton| Zooplankton|
Algae| Sea Urchin and Fish|
Fungi| Crab and Sand Fly|
Wood| Wood Boring Beetle|
Tree Bark| Termite|
Woodlouse and Bees| Spider|
Bird| Pelican|
Bees and Earthworm | Bird|

Discussion Questions:
(a) Create a food web of all the organisms present on the cay.

Stingray Shark Lizard
Bird Turtle Spider
Fish Wood boring Earthworm Sea urchin Zooplankton Bees Snails Crab Sandfly Beetle Termite Leaf litter Algae Phytoplankton Flowers Fungi Wood Treebark

(b) What is the significance of the cay?

The significance of the cay is to: (1) provide a habitat for a variety of organisms that were present on the cay (2) to aid in breaking heavy wave and tidal action and (3) to serve as a recreational ground for humans.

(c) What are the ways that man affects this habitat?

Man affects this habitat by pollution when it is used for recreation, by deforestation/slash and burn method, by causing eutrophication, overfishing, oil spills and exposing unwanted predators.

(d) Do you see any animals or evidence of any animals? What organisms are affected by man’s activities and how?

Yes, there were animals seen. The animals seen were crabs (their tracks and their holes were spotted) ground lizards, pelicans, birds, fishes, sea urchins, spiders (spider webs were spotted) snails, stingray and a turtle. Generally speaking, with human activities being practiced on the cay, it resulted in habitat destruction. Changes usually take time for the organisms to adjust. However, when changes occur at a fast pace, there is little or no time for individual species to react and adjust to new circumstances. This created disastrous results, and for this reason, the rapid habitat loss causes species to migrate to other areas to live. On the cay there was a lot of garbage left behind from human activities. These consisted of mainly plastic materials such as cups and bags. Trash like plastic, can cause death to fishes as plastics take a while to biodegrade and therefore remain in the water. Fishes sometimes mistake plastic for food and ingest it, which results in a blockage in their digestive systems killing the fish. Plastic can also get wrapped around their necks and choke them or it could get stuck in their mouths, making it unable for the fish to eat and so...
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