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  • a Muir Web named after the ecologist John Muir shows all the habitat relationships for all the species as a computer generated web.

    "Habitat is defined as the place where an plant or an animal can be meet its basic ecological needs, that is, needs for food, water, shelter, and reproductive resources (e.g. materials for building nests, or a den where an animal can give birth). We began compiling habitat descriptions for the 1001 likely species of Mannahatta into a database, using habitat information found in field guides. A tree species might grow best in “dry sandy soils�? or a warbler may eat “tree insects, especially in open deciduous woods.�? As we developed these lists, we added entries to include the definition of “openness�? or of “woods�? and eventually even “dry sandy soils.�? We reconstructed the habitat relationships until eventually they reached the physical and ecological variables we had mapped, and then even further. At the base of the “Muir Web�? of habitat relationships are fundamentals like space, time, geology and climate. We named these webs of habitat relationships (inclusive of food webs, but adding additional relationships) after John Muir, the famous naturalist. John Muir once wrote “When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.�? The Muir Web for Mannahatta makes these cords visible for all to see."

    October 16, 2009