Flora and Fauna Species Are Important for the Ecosystem

Topics: Butterfly

Beaches are an essential part of the ecosystem because the sediments they are made from contain the history of the beach and expose the types of processes that formed the beach. Data was collected at Myrtle Beach State Park in order to create beach profiles and to analyze the profiles to identify the processes that formed the beach.

Data was also collected from the dunes and the swash zone to compare the grain sizes to assist in the identification process. It is important to look at the beach profiles and grain size in order to preserve the beaches.

Data collected over serval years could be analyzed to see if the beaches are eroded or building by deposition. If the beaches erode, then the life that once lived there would die off and affect the ecosystem around it. Organisms that live in the sand would give information about the composition of the sand when the layers of the sand are analyzed. Additionally, longshore transport and the time of year are some of the processes that shape the beaches and can be identified using beach profiles.

Based on the data collected, the time of year the data was collected, and the shape of the beach profiles, the beaches resemble a summertime beach.

Elevation data was collected by using one measuring stick and one reading stick approximately one meter apart. Once the measurement was recorded both sticks would move one meter forward towards the swash zone until the swash zone was reached. With the data recorded, figures were created in order to visualize and describe the beach profile and the coastal processes.

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In Fig. 1 the elevation decreases from two to seven meters then increases until sixteen meters.

After sixteen meters the elevation sharply decreases until it hits the water. There is clear berm where the foreshore meets the backshore at sixteen meters (Fig.1). In Fig. 2 the elevation is sharply decreasing until fifteen meters then slightly increases and sharply falls again (Fig. 2). In Fig. 3 the elevation decreases sharply until meter seven where it increases until fifteen meters then sharply decreases (Fig. 3). Sediment samples were collected from both the dunes and the swash zone to have the different grain sizes analyzed. The dune sediments consisted of well sorted, fine grained sand that was well rounded, had high sphericity, and was clear/white/black/brown (Table 1).

The dunes predominately consisted of fine grained sand, but also had small amounts of fine sand and silt and clay (Fig. 4). The swash zone sediments consisted of poorly sorted, coarse to fine grained sand that was angular and had low sphericity (Table 1). The swash zone also consisted of clear/orange/black/brown sediments that had some shell fragments mixed in (Table 1). Because the swash zone was poorly sorted it had a wider variety of sediment sizes, mainly fine sand with another slightly less portion being fine grained sand and some coarse gravel, fine gravel, and silt and clay mixed in (Fig. 4).

In addition, some common flora and fauna can be observed around the Myrtle Beach State Park area. Some of the common flora include gaillardia, sand ground cherry, silver leaf croton, dewberry, dayflower, horse mint, groundsel tree, camphorweed, beach pea, wax myrtle, and yaupon holly (Fig. 5). Some of the common fauna include the ghost crab, mockingbird, gulf fritillary butterfly, eastern cottontail rabbit, loggerhead shrike, buckeye butterfly, monarch butterfly, and bumble bee (Fig.5).

These different species of flora and fauna are important in maintaining the ecosystem. The vines of some of the plants help the dunes stand firm because of the abundance of roots in the sediment. Furthermore, the dunes at Myrtle Beach State Park are generally small as are the dunes of the beaches around the park. Beach profiles can be separated into two categories summertime beaches and wintertime beaches. Wintertime beaches generally have more narrow berms, flatter beaches, and have sandbars. These beaches are formed from higher energy, larger, and rougher waves pulling the sediments out to sea.

When the energy starts to lessen and the sediments fall to the bottom a pile of sediments is formed. However, a summertime beach is characterized by a wider berm, a steeper, and larger beach. The beach profiles collected can be analyzed to see which category the beach falls into. In Fig. 1, there is a peak in the graph at sixteen meters away from the base of the dune and then sharply declines in elevation. This indicates that there is berm at meter sixteen and that the beach face is steep. Similarly, there is a small peak in elevation at sixteen meters and a slightly less sharp decline, indicating that there is a berm at sixteen meters and a less steep beach face. Additionally, in Fig. 3 there is a peak in the graph at fifteen meters and another sharp decline in elevation, indicating the berm is at meter fifteen and a steep beach face. All three sets of data show similar changes in elevation with a berm around fifteen to sixteen meters away from the base of the dune and the decline in elevation after the berm until the swash zone.

Furthermore, all three profiles have defined berms and steep beach faces therefore these profiles resemble summertime beaches based on the definitions. Based on the assumption that these profiles are summertime beach profiles they were formed by gentle waves pushing sand onto the shore and building up the beach. Because the waves are gentle that means that not much of the beach is being eroded, but instead being built by deposition. These lower energy waves building up the beach accentuates the berm as seen in Fig. 1, 2, and 3. Another process that shaped these beaches is longshore transport. Longshore currents are waves that come in at an angle therefore pulling the water in that direction. Longshore transport is the transportation and deposition of the sediments down the beach as a result of longshore currents. Sediment samples were collected from the dunes and the swash zone. The sediment sample that was collected from the dunes was well sorted, fine grained sand (Fig. 4, Table 1).

This sand was round with high sphericity and was clear, black, and brown in color (Table 1). However, the sediment sample from the swash zone was poorly sorted, fine sand (Fig. 4, Table 1). This sand was angular with low sphericity and had a various shell fragments mixed in. Furthermore, the grain size can indicate the type of environment the sediment is in and the level of energy present. The well sorted, fine grained sand of the dune sediment indicates that the dunes are a low energy environment. The roundness of the dune sediment indicates that the sediments have either been there a long time or that they are far away from their origin. On the other hand, the poorly sorted, mostly fine sand of the swash zone is a higher energy environment.

The angularness of the swash zone sediments indicates that they have either been there for a shorter period of time or that the sediments are close to the point of origin. As with any study there is always room for improvement, identifying sources of errors can help identify ways to improve and further the study to make it more accurate and reliable. A possible source of error would be the method of data collection. In order to calculate the change in elevation a measuring stick was placed at the start point and a reading stick was placed one meter away and the height on the measuring rod was read and recorded. Both sticks would then move up one meter and process was repeated. Using this method, the data collected was inherently inaccurate; therefore, using a more precise device to measure the elevation would give a more accurate representation of the beach profile.

To further the study, data could be collected multiple times during each year and to the elevation changes throughout the year and after major events like hurricanes. Visiting the same spot at different times during multiples years and before and after hurricanes might give drastically different data and beach profiles that could be analyzed to identify the beach processes that occur. In all, the beach profile data that was collected most resembles a summertime beach because of the defined berm and steep beach face. Further, the energy is higher in the swash zone than in the dunes therefore more poorly sorted. The angularity of the grains is also higher in the swash zone indicating that the sediment is either closer to the point of origin or that the sediments have been there for a shorter amount of time in the swash zone. To make the study more accurate and reliable more data would have to be collected several times throughout many years and the method of measuring the elevation would have to be more accurate.

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Flora and Fauna Species Are Important for the Ecosystem. (2021, Dec 31). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/flora-and-fauna-species-are-important-for-the-ecosystem/

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