Panorama: a distinct ecotone

Title Info
Source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Grasslands, savannas
Selection and adaptations Extreme environments
Conservation Nature preserves
Lessons Nature preserves; Panoramas
Date September 21, 2008
Location Edgewood Park & Natural Preserve,San Mateo County,California,USA,North America
Panorama of Ecotone on serpentine soil in California
Related materials: Panoramas
You may want to discuss with your students how different soil types (and other physical factors) affect the distribution of plant species.

Panorama Viewing: Click the "View Panorama" button to see an interactive panorama. Click and drag your mouse in any direction to view other parts of the scene; press the Shift key to zoom in to see details and press Ctrl to zoom out.
We recommend using the Deval VR viewer for seeing panoramas that do NOT have sound and the QuickTime viewer for panoramas WITH sound.

Plant communities typically grade gently into each other, but here is an example of a very sharp ecotone (the transition zone from one community to another). This grassland is underlain by serpentine soils, which typically have high concentrations of heavy metals and magnesium and low levels of essential plant nutrients. As a result, very few plant species flourish in these areas; the shrubs are probably on a different soil type.