Biodiversity of the US Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain by Miss. Deutsch

Introduction: Located on the Eastern coast of the United States, the North American Atlantic Coastal Plain contains dune habitat, estuaries , sounds, forests and swamps. This is one of the many ecosystem types that exists in the US. It occupies an area of about 26 million acres. The piping plover is a migrating bird that sets up its nesting habitat here in the spring and summer months.

Maps of the mid-Atlantic coast

Country: The US contains seven different biomes. The mid-Atlantic coastal plain is located within the temperature deciduous forest region along the mid-Atlantic coast. The climate in this region is humid summers and temperature winters.

Biomes of North America

Ecosystem: This region is extremely biodiverse. It contains a variety of unique organisms from the red-cockaded woodpecker , and venus fly traps to red wolves. Its location means that the ecosystem is constantly changing and new organisms can often arrive on the scene. The Atlantic Flyway, a major migratory bird pathway, passes over this regions Currently, about one third of the rare plants and one tenth of the natural communities that lives here have already disappeared or are extremely degraded.

Different habitat types and organisms of North America

One organism unique to this region is the Piping Plover, Charadrius melodus. There are multiple populations of this bird. They are migratory, spending the spring and summer along the northeast coast of the US and Canada and the winter along the south east coast and Caribbean. They lay their eggs along the wide, flat and open sandy beach. They eat aquatic and marine invertebrates from estuary and ocean waters.

An adult Piping Plover

These birds are currently federally threatened. They are listed as endangered in some states along their range. Habitat loss is a large problem affecting this bird as their nesting habitat is a popular recreation and living area for humans. These birds are also vulnerable to nest disturbance and predation by organisms such as fox, crows and gulls.

Piping plover chicks are extremely independent from an early age. They can walk within hours after hatching.

Conservation efforts include building predator exclosures over nests during breeding season. These exclosures keep predators and humans away from the nest. These efforts have been relatively successful in keeping Piping plover populations stable, however once the chicks hatch and leave the nest there are more complicated difficulties which are harder to combat.

Predator Exclosure
Despite the difficulty in raising chicks in this harsh habitat, Piping Plovers are extremely caring parents. When a predator is near, the parent plover will stick out their wings, pretending they are broken and start peeping repeatedly. This is supposed to distract predators away from the chicks and towards themselves instead.

Citations: (example)

  • http://e360.yale.edu/slideshow/global_biodiversity_maps_show_abundance_down_to_local_level/207/1/
  • http://www.state.gov/misc/list/#f
  • http://biodiversitymapping.org/wordpress/index.php/home/
  • http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  • http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/glossary/gloss5/biome/

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