The Open Door Web Site
Experiments on Soil Index
The Tullgren Funnel
The Tullgren Funnel is an apparatus which helps to remove living organisms from leaf litter. Leaf litter is placed in a filter funnel which is covered with black paper. The funnel is then held over a bottle containing a mixture of alcohol and water. There is a piece of gauze present to prevent soil entering the liquid. Once the leaf litter has been placed in the funnel, the apparatus is put under a strong light for at least two weeks. The soil dries out slowly and this encourages the living organisms to move downwards.
To extract small animals from a sample of leaf litter.
1. Set up the apparatus as shown in the diagram below.
2. Leave the apparatus in a light cupboard for at least two weeks.
3. After two weeks, pour the alcohol and water mixture into a dish and observe the mixture under a binocular microscope.
4. Identify any organisms you find.
5. Record the numbers of each of the different organisms which were present in the leaf litter.
Example: How to use the table
Write a conclusion to this experiment.
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