Food Chains and Food Webs
Students can investigate food chains by looking closer at trees on their school grounds. They should look for such things as damage to leaves made by feeding insects, galls and exit-holes left in the bark by insect borers. Galls are aberrant plant tissues caused mostly by certain egg-laying mites and insects. Gall tissue provides food and shelter for the developing mite or insect. As students approach a tree, watch for birds and small mammals that may be feeding, or look for droppings and tracks of animals that may have visited the tree recently. Listed below are some of the more common food chain relationships that students can observe, organized by host tree.
This site will take you to pictures and text provided by the following institutions. We thank:
University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology's Animal Diversity Web for fact sheets on vertebrate animals
University of Georgia Warnell School of Forest Resources' Forest Pests of North America for insects and diseases
Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources Dendrology at Virginia Tech website for tree fact sheets.
Basswood or linden
Hickories and Pecans
Sassafras and spicebush
Tulip Tree (Yellow-poplar)
Waxmyrtles and Bayberries