Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spring Break in Texas

My spring break was spent in South Texas for a class called “Texas Wildlife Spring Break” (tough class, right?). This trip was 10 days long and we traveled from Corpus Christi and down around the border to Del Rio, and then back across to Corpus Christi. Being in Texas observing the environment and the wildlife, it was actually hard not to think about ecology. Most of what I thought about was how different the environment in Texas was than the environment of Vermont.  All of Texas was much drier and it seemed to get drier the more South we went. It was strange how Corpus Christi had palm trees and greener vegetation and as we traveled further, the vegetation started to get replaced with cacti and sparser. I thought it was interesting that Corpus Christi likely has a higher albedo than the Rio Grande Valley because there is greener vegetation in Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley is part of the Chihuahuan desert which is mostly soil. The soil on the land surface is lighter than the green of the vegetation and therefore has a lower albedo.  I also thought about the differences in the soil in Texas versus the soil we see around here in Vermont.  In Texas, the soil seemed very sandy and rocky. I wonder if they were a different soil order than what we have here in Vermont…maybe aridisol? Perhaps the most interesting thing for me to see was that the difference in environment had such an effect on the plants and animals found in Texas. The plants and animals present in all of Texas are generally more tolerant to dry climates than the plants and animals found in Vermont.  It was also interesting to see that some animals were seen in Corpus Christi that were not seen in the Rio Grande Valley and vice versa. I’m so used to going birding in Vermont and seeing the birds in the vegetated forests and grasslands so it was weird walking around a desert where there was very little vegetation and still seeing birds and animals surviving there.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you had a more educational spring break than I did. I did experience a similar feeling traveling down to Georgia. The vegetation changed significantly and there were a lot of palm trees. Unlike in Texas Georgia was pretty green and moist all around.