The Bog and Pitcher Plant Ecosystems
A bog forms when, at first, a hole opens up within a deep layer of sand. The hole is not
part of a river or stream. Rainfall water collects in the hole because it has nowhere else to
go. Plants grow near the pond, die and fall into it. The bacteria that live in the water
When the plants rot or decompose, hydrogen ions are given off and nitrogen and
phosphates are released which become fertilizer for new plants. Because the water never
flows out of the hole, after time, the hydrogen ions build up so much that the water
Bacteria can no longer survive in the acidic water so the plants that continue to fall into
the pond are no longer decomposed. It fills with dead plants that do not rot. The soil that
fills in the pond contains very few nutrients because the plants were not decomposed by
bacteria and so nitrogen and phosphates could not be released.
Most plants cannot live in soil that is so poor. Pitcher plants can live there because, over
time, they evolved ways to get nutrients by consuming insects instead of getting nutrients
from the soil.
The pitcher plants contain their own ecosystem.
The biotic parts live inside the environment
formed by the leaves in combination with
the abiotic parts.
The biotic (living) parts are: the pitcher plant
insects (mosquito and fly larvae)
Several types of carnivorous (consumes or “eats” living things) plants live in the bog:
pitcher plants (capture and consume insects – the tops of the leaves are coated with nectar
to lure insects inside – the cup shape formed by the leaves collects rain water in which
bacteria live – these bacteria help to decompose the insects into nutrients that the plants
The five questions about the ecosystem:
Long-leaf pine forest inside a pitcher plant
What does it look like? tall trees with lots of grass the individual leaves of the
What animals live there? birds, snakes, deer, insects mosquito larvae, protozoa,
What plants live there? Long-leaf pine trees none, except the leaf itself
What is unique about it? fire is necessary it lives inside a carnivorous
Is it endangered? yes, especially some species no – surprisingly