In the previous lab students looked at soils from granite
and serpentinite parent rocks. In this lab students will look at
the resulting natural vegetation that grows on each of the soils.
They will see that serpentinite soil does not have much vegetation other
than shrub bushes and grass. Granitic soil, however, can support
large trees. This lab illustrates how important soils are to developing
plant communities and how the plants can adapt to the
soil.Gymnosperm Granitic soil can support the most diverse
because it supports vegetation that in turn supports the most organisms.
The soil, in a way, selects the ecosystem that it can support.
Students should look carefully at the specimens in their
packet. They should describe what they see and state how many
different items they see and then have them draw an ecosystem for each
type. In the picture, make sure that they draw more animals that
live on vegetation on the granitic soil, especially more birds, rodents,
larger mammals, fungi, and more grasses. The serpentinite soil should
have just grass and shrub vegetation with gophers, small rodents, and a
few birds. Tell students to use their imagination.
Students should also think back to the previous lab and try to
figure out what type of soil is more suitable for gymnosperms (pines).
They should be able to realize that gymnosperms prefer acidic soil.
The serpentinite soil produces basic soil, which does not support lush
Make sure students realize that the climate in these two areas
are the same, but that sometimes climate is a delineating factor for what
can live on a given area. In this lab, soil is the dominant factor
in selecting the ecosystem.