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Powerpoint Presentation: Ecology

 

Ecology Field Trip Index

Estimating the size of a Population of Plant Species
The Mann-Whitney U-Test (opens in a new window)
Critical Values for the Mann-Whitney U-test (opens in a new window)

Topic Chapters Index

 

Lake - Shore Vegetation : Flora

Species

Description

Equisetum palustre

Horsetail. Tall stem, thin leaves in a rosette. grows in water or damp soil

Carex panicea

Grey green leaves triangular at the base, fruits like small pine cone on a stem

Lycopus europeus

Medium/tall, hairy, toothed leaves, opposite, small white flowers

Hydrocotyle vulgaris

Small plant, circular leaves

Galium palustre

Delicate trailing plant with white flowers, 4-5 leaves in whorls

Filipendula ulmaria

Maple-shaped leaves, red stem, cream, sweet-scented flowers. Tall (1m)

Lotus corniculatus

Low growing, leaves like clover (5 leaflets) yellow and red flowers (N-fixer)

Lysimachia vulgaris

Tall (1m) yellow flowers, lanceolate, downy leaves, black spots

Epilobium palustre

Small delicate plant, small pink flowers narrow oval leaves in pairs, opposite

Aethus cynapium

Leaves like parsley - poisonous

Viola palustris

Low plant, heart-shaped leaves. Damp wet places

Poa serotina

Thin delicate grass

Molinea caerulea

Tussock grass

Betula pubescense

Tree, diamond-shaped leaves, toothed

Alnus glutinosa

Tree circular leaves with dent at apex, sticky (N-fixer)

Salix alba

Willow tree, oval pointed leaves with white underside

Pinus sylvestris

Pine tree, Dark green needle shaped leaves

Juncus inflexus

Tussock, tough, long, cylindrical, pointed leaves with compartments

J. conglomerata

Tussock, tough, long, cylindrical, pointed leaves without compartments

Spagnum spp.

Bog moss, bright green very wet

Stellaria sp.

Small, white, star-shaped flowers, dark green paired leaves

Mysotis sylvatica

Small blue flowers with a yellow centre

Urtica dioica

Stinging nettle!!

Rubus fruticosus

Bramble, thorny stem, 3-5 leaflets

Cirsium sp.

Thistle, spiney leaves

Potentilla palustris

Low, 5 leaflets, bordeaux-coloured flowers. On wet ground

 

ECOLOGY : FIELD TRIP

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Transects

A transect is a series of observations, or measurements, taken at regular intervals along a line.

The aim is to use a transect to determine the change in a community as we progress from one habitat to another.

In this exercise an interrupted belt transect will be used.

 

Materials

Tape or string marked in metre intervals, 1m2 quadrat, identification guide or species check list, hygrometer, soil thermometer, light metre, 2 ranging poles marked in 10cm intervals, spirit level, 20cm ruler
calculator or LabQuest and probes

 

Method

1.

Lay out the tape or string across the transition zone so that it is straight and taught. Tie it down at both ends. Be careful not to trample the vegetation beside the line.

Note the orientation of the line (north-south, east-west etc.) and the major features along the transect. Use the prepared data table to record your results.

2.

Starting at one end, lay your quadrat by the side of the line and identify the species of plant or animal present. Estimate their abundance using the scale given opposite:

 

 

Scale

Percentage Cover

Abundance Rating

Trace

<1%

Single individual

1

1 - 5%

Rare

2

6 - 25%

Occasional

3

26 - 50%

Frequent

4

51 - 75%

Abundant

5

76 - 100%

Dominant

 

 

Record each species and their abundance in the table. Repeat this every other metre along the transect (see diagram below). Add new species to the bottom of the list.

 

transect

 

3.

Record at the bottom of your table the abiotic factors measured every other metre along the transect: Measure these within are relative short space of time so that variations in the weather do not influence the readings too much.
You may do this using a calculator or LabQuest and suitable probes. The data will be stored in the calculator and can be downloaded later.

4.

Record the height profile of the transect using the ranging poles and the spirit level. Place the first pole at the beginning of the transect and the second pole at 1 metre. Using the spirit level, measure the difference in height of the two poles. See the diagram below.

 

height profile

 

 

Record an increase as a positive value and a decrease as a negative value. Where there is a sudden change in height place the poles at shorter intervals. On soft ground be sure not to push the poles into the soil, they should be gently resting on the ground.

 

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