Los Angeles River Project Individual Species Research

Los Angeles River Project Individual Species Research


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Assignment Overview

You have selected your focal species in LA River Species Selection discussion. In order to predict how LA River revitalization will affect your species, you need to know something about the ecology and conservation status of your species. Time to do some background research!

To answer the following questions, you will need to search for credible sources of information, using Google Scholar, PCC library databases, or other online resources such as iNaturalist or the Encyclopedia of Life.  (You can find information in other ways, but these are helpful places to get started!) Make sure that you cite all sources of information in the text of your responses and include the full citations in a literature cited section.

You will also look at iNaturalist observations for your species to see where it is found globally and if it is common or rare in the LA River. Use these links to iNaturalist places for soft-bottom stretches of the Los Angeles River: 

Assignment Requirements 

  1. Title your submission with the common and scientific name of your species. 
  2. Species ecology For each response, you should have an in-text citation (author, year) for the source of the information.
    • What habitat types is this species found in? Describe the key features of these habitats
    • Consider common abiotic factors, such as temperature, water, sun, soil, air, wind, elevation. What are the abiotic requirements for this species and how do these abiotic factors influence the survival and reproduction of this species?
    • What is its role in the ecosystem? Does it have important biotic interactions with other species? (Does it utilize another species? Does it compete with other species? Does it have predators?) 
  3. Species range and status For each response, you should have an in-text citation (author, year) for the source of the information. To answer some of these questions, you should look at and cite iNaturalist. To view global observations for your species on iNaturalist, click on ‘Explore’, then search for your species (without entering a location). 
    • What is the global distribution (species range) of your species.  Is it observed world-wide or only found on certain continents? 
      • Note: Be sure to include a picture or screenshot of a worldwide map of observations from iNaturalist as evidence.  
    • Are there large numbers of iNaturalist observations found globally or does it appear to be rare?
    • What is the native range of this species? Is it native or introduced to to southern California?
    • What is the conservation status of this species? 
      • If it is native to Southern California, is it a species of conservation concern? Why or why not? 
      • If it is introduced, how/why was it introduced and what makes the species successful outside of its native habitat? 
  4. Phenology (timing of important events in the life cycle)  for your species For each response, you should have an in-text citation (author, year) for the source of the information. 
    • What time of year does it reproduce? 
    • Is it migratory (only present for part of the year) or is it a resident (present year-round)?
    • How long does it live? 
  5. Species Adaptations For each response, you should have an in-text citation (author, year) for the source of the information.
    • What behavioral, physical or physiological characteristics does the species have that make it well adapted for its environment?
    • Does this species adapt well to urbanization? What behavioral, physical or physiological characteristics allow it to adapt well (or make it difficult to adapt)?
  6. Literature cited, using full citations as shown on the How To PageEach in-text citation from your responses to the questions above should be included in the list of literature cited and each item in the list of literature cited should have an in-text citation. 


Now that you’ve completed the research on your species, include your responses to each of the questions above in a file (Word doc or pdf). Before submitting, make sure that you have included all of the required sections:

  1. Title with common name and scientific name of your species
  2. Species ecology
  3. Species range and status (with global map of observations)
  4. Species phenology
  5. Species adaptations
  6. Literature cited

This assignment will be submitted via Turnitin. You can submit it by uploading a file (pdf, doc, docx) (Links to an external site.) or submitting the link to a Google Doc (Links to an external site.) by clicking ‘Upload assignment’ on the dashboard below. This is an individual assignment, so please ensure that all work submitted is your own. 

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