Microhabitats – Life Under a Log
Habitat is the natural place where a plant, animal, or other organism lives. A habitat can be a pond that is home to cattails, leopard frogs, and muskrats, or it can be a forest that is home to oak trees, deer, squirrels, and box turtles.
Every habitat contains microhabitats which are the physical requirements for smaller organisms which are often adapted to live in specialized conditions. These conditions are specific temperatures, humidity and light levels, and amount of air movement. An example of a microhabitat would be the cool, dark and moist conditions provided underground for ants, worms, and moles. A single tree contains multiple microhabitats! For example, some lichens only grow on the north side of a tree, many insects lay their eggs on the underside of a leaf, and woodpeckers forage on the insects living under tree bark.
Try to find a microhabitat along the trail. Lift a log or piece of bark and see what critters are living underneath. Do you see any other microhabitats?