Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Water is essential for life and we find the greatest abundance and diversity of life in wetlands where there are the largest, most accessible, most reliable sources of water within each kind of habitat. This vital link between wild creatures and habitats they require is recognized in the definition of wetlands by the Clean Water Act of the United States: an area is officially designated a wetland on the basis of the plants that grow there. Soil types, climate, amount of water, seasonal nature of variation in water present, and other factors make each wetland unique. Nitrogen-poor soils of the Florida Panhandle include bogs dominated by pitcher plants capable of trapping and consuming insects as a source of nitrogen. Much of the Everglades is dominated by sawgrass prairies, wetlands with specific wet and dry seasons. Cattail marshes, salt marshes, and bald cypress swamps are other important Florida wetlands. The sum of all wetlands creates a grand mosaic of opportunities for wild things.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.