BIO L229 Troy University Microclimate Lab Worksheet

BIO L229 Troy University Microclimate Lab Worksheet.

Microclimate is any climactic condition in a relatively small area, within a few meters or less above and below the Earth’s surface and within canopies of vegetation. Complexities of microclimate are necessary for the existence of a variety of life forms because, although any single species may tolerate only a limited range of conditions, strongly contrasting microclimates in close proximity provide an environment in which many species of flora and fauna can coexist and interact.

Microclimate conditions depend on such factors as temperature, humidity, wind and turbulence, dew, frost, heat balance, and evaporation. The effect of soil type on microclimates is considerable. For example, sandy soils and other coarse, loose dry soils are subject to high maximum and low minimum surface temperatures. The surface reflection characteristics are also important: soils of lighter color reflect more and respond less to daily heating. Also strongly influencing the microclimate is the ability of the soil to absorb and retain moisture, which depends on the composition of the soil and its use. Vegetation can insulate the soil below and reduce temperature variability. Sites of exposed soil exhibit the greatest temperature variability. Topography can affect the vertical path of air in a locale, impacting relative humidity and air circulation. Microclimates control evaporation from surfaces and influence precipitation, so they are important in the hydrological cycle.

Lab exercise:

In this lab we will look at two sites at the Pike County Pocosin that are within a few hundred meters of each other to demonstrate the effects of microclimate. We will measure a number of variables including temperature, wind speed, light intensity and soil characteristics (see data sheet) at these two sites and document the types of vegetation present.

Website and library search:

In addition to information you get from Chapter 2 in the textbook on microclimate, you need to conduct a search for additional material on microclimate on the internet and in the scientific journals to answer questions on the worksheet. Remember to cite the website as you refer to it and include details of the website, e.g. title, author(s) if known, and URL in the references. Also remember to cite any references (books, journal articles) that you use.

BIO L229 Troy University Microclimate Lab Worksheet

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