Dunes

As the dunes become stabilized by Marram, they provide a new habitat with more soil nutrients, better moisture retention and especially more shelter from the wind.

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


As the dunes become stabilized by Marram, they provide a new habitat with more soil nutrients, better moisture retention and especially more shelter from the wind. More kinds of plants and animals survive here than on the open beach.


As the dunes become stabilized by Marram, they provide a new habitat with more soil nutrients, better moisture retention and especially more shelter from the wind. More kinds of plants and animals survive here than on the open beach.


© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Beach Pea - Lathyrus maritimus

Beach Pea has many of the same adaptations as Marram, and helps stabilize the sand in less windy places.

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Beach Pea has many of the same adaptations as Marram, and helps stabilize the sand in less windy places. Underground stems connect individual plants. The foliage forms a dense mat that breaks the wind and traps blowing sand.
Beach Pea has many of the same adaptations as Marram, and helps stabilize the sand in less windy places. Underground stems connect individual plants. The foliage forms a dense mat that breaks the wind and traps blowing sand.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Beach Pea cross-section

Like other pea family plants, Beach Pea has nodules on its roots.

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Like other pea family plants, Beach Pea has nodules on its roots. These nodules contain bacteria which take nitrogen from the air and change it to nitrates. When the leaves and stems die off in winter, the nitrates enrich the soil and benefit other plants.


Like other pea family plants, Beach Pea has nodules on its roots. These nodules contain bacteria which take nitrogen from the air and change it to nitrates. When the leaves and stems die off in winter, the nitrates enrich the soil and benefit other plants.


© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Even though pioneer plants like Beach Pea begin to improve the sandy soil, growing conditions remain poor. The plants that follow must still be tough enough to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions. You may have seen similar plants growing along roadsides or in poor soils.
Even though pioneer plants like Beach Pea begin to improve the sandy soil, growing conditions remain poor. The plants that follow must still be tough enough to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions. You may have seen similar plants growing along roadsides or in poor soils.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Hedge Bindweed (Morning Glory) - Convolvulus sepium

Hedge Bindweed (Morning Glory) - Convolvulus sepium

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Seaside Goldenrod - Solidago sempervirens

Seaside Goldenrod - Solidago sempervirens

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Yarrow - Achillea lanulosa

Yarrow - Achillea lanulosa

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Tiger Beetle adults rely on speed to catch their prey, but the larvae hide in sand burrows and grab passing insects or amphipods. The beetle with square wing markings lives on the beach edge of the dunes. The one with diagonal wing markings lives on the sheltered inland side.
Tiger Beetle adults rely on speed to catch their prey, but the larvae hide in sand burrows and grab passing insects or amphipods. The beetle with square wing markings lives on the beach edge of the dunes. The one with diagonal wing markings lives on the sheltered inland side.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

The beetle with square wing markings lives on the beach edge of the dunes.

Cicindela hirticollis

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


The one with diagonal wing markings lives on the sheltered inland side.

Cicindela tranquebarica

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Sandhill Cutworm larvae are specially adapted to feed on the underground stems of Marram. When the adult moths rest on stems and leaves, their camouflage hides them from predatory birds.
Sandhill Cutworm larvae are specially adapted to feed on the underground stems of Marram. When the adult moths rest on stems and leaves, their camouflage hides them from predatory birds.

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.

Sandhill Cutworm larvae - Euxoa detersa

Sandhill Cutworm larvae - Euxoa detersa

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Sandhill Cutworm larvae

Sandhill Cutworm larvae

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Sandhill Cutworm

Sandhill Cutworm

Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History

© Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History 2001 All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the effect of wind, poor nutrition, and acid soil on plant and animal life on Sable Island.
  • Describe the sand dune habitat and the plants that survive in the environment.

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