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Dissecting an Owl Pellet Lab

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´╗┐Owl Pellet Lab Introduction & Purpose: 1. What was the purpose in dissecting an owl pellet? The purpose in dissecting an owl pellet was to find out in detail what the owl ate, and to do that, one must re-assemble the bones found within the pellet. This will help us identify the organism. Testable Question: Describe what an owl pellet is (colour, shape and size) Owl pellets are hairballs which contain bones, teeth, hair, feathers, scales, and exoskeletons that an owl coughs out after a meal. The owl pellet is covered with dark-gray fur; it has an oval shape and is about 3-4 cm (both length and width). What possible organisms can be found in an owl pellet? Various organisms can be found in a pellet such as rodents, vole (field mouse), pocket gopher, shrew, mole and birds etc. 1. Line of inquiry about this lab 1. What causes some owl pellets to have various features (shape, size etc.)? 2. What causes the bones of the owl?s prey to remain undigested? 3. What causes more than one organism to be found in an owl pellet? 4. What causes the odour of an owl pellet? Materials: 1. 2. Petri dish 3. Dissecting Tray 4. ...read more.


An owl pellet can act as its own ecosystem on the forest floor because it provides food and shelter for other organisms within the community. For example, clothes moths, carpet beetles and fungi benefit from owl pellets. In addition, owl pellets have an abundance of clothes moth larvae which feed upon the fur and feathers. 2. a) I think that the 100 1g of insects has more energy and contributes more to the owl?s diet because the amount of nutrients is much higher than the 1 100g of rat. The amount of available energy going up one trophic level to the next decreases because some energy is released into the environment. In addition, only 10% of the energy taken at one trophic level is passed on to the individuals at the next level. Since insect feed directly on the producers (which are located on the first trophic level) they will have more energy. b) I think that it would require more energy to catch the rat because the insects are much smaller and more vulnerable, while the rat has a much greater mass and is swifter. It is also more successful with dodging predators over insects. And getting the amount of grams makes it much more difficult. ...read more.


So, 0.50 x 2352 = $1176 (Amount of money saved) P: Therefore, the farmer will save $1176 in crop damage. Conclusion: During the lab we learned more about the food chain and bone structure of the owl's prey. This information can be used to further understand the energy flow within the trophic levels in our ecosystems. We were already aware of the fact the owls feed on smaller organisms such as rats, mice, voles, etc. However, we didn't know that owl pellets can too act as ecosystems because they provide shelter and food for organisms such as humans provide shelters for pets. A lot people don't know that the predator can also benefit smaller organisms. This relates to humans because humans can help organisms smaller than them. For example, humans aid smaller organisms such as birds by providing food for the birds which not only helps them so that they don't have to go out and look for meals, but it can also expand the combining capacity of birds within an ecosystem. Even though we have several different characteristics than the owl we also have several similarities for example, are both predators that feed upon organisms lower in the trophic levels. In conclusion, we can now use knowledge we learned from this investigation and apply it to our everyday life. ...read more.

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