Lab Report I
October 29, 2014
Ecology of the Mountain Tom
During the research we studied the ecosystem of the local forest. For the trees study we used a 100 m^2 plot and shrubs 50m^2 plot. We counted the numbers of trees and shrubs, and its relative density, abundance, importance value in the forest. For the study of the macroinvertebrates and its relative value in the ecosystem we used a plot with circular radius of 40cm. The importance of microorganism and microinvertebrates we took about a quart of soil back to the lab and planted the TSA agar plates for microorganism. After which the soil was placed under a light in a funnel for extraction of the microinvertebrates from the soil. After all data was collected we made an essential observation for the local ecology that might change within next hundreds of years.
Introduction: Living in the Western Massachusetts it gave us a big opportunity to do a research on a local forest. This way we were able study and understand better our local ecosystem. By doing this study we can find out what are producers, consumers and decomposers are in the forest and their interactions with each other. Also it gave us a big opportunity to establish if the forest contains any changes in the species. During this research we will pay attention of how our local forest may change in the next couple hundred years. Also we will be following the energy flow to identify why are certain species are more important than the others.
Our lab group was doing research of the trees of the local forest on the mountain Tom. The plot was chosen in well disturbed by people area. The plot was circular with 5.64m in radius. The plot was divided into 5 parts so that way we don’t miss any of the trees. The trees where counted only inside the circle, any tree that was on the line of the circle was eliminated from the research. Upon counting and identifying the tries we proceeded with data analysis. To find out if there are same number of young trees as old trees we counted the shrubs, saplings, and vines. Our circular plot was four meters in radius inside the tree plot. In order not to miss any of the young trees we divided our plot into five equal parts. Any shrubs, vines, and sapling on the end line of the circle were eliminates from the study. Any unidentified species of the shrubs were brought in the lab for later identification. To study the importance of our macroinvertebrates in ecosystem, we did research in a circular plot with the radius of forty centimeters. The plot was chosen in the well disturbed area from people. Any macroogranisms that were appeared on the line and was eliminated from the study. Also any bugs that had escaped from the circle was eliminated from the study as well. The plot was searched for any living organism that was seen with the naked eye was counted. The spider and worms species were counted and released later on. Any other unidentified species were brought back in lab for later identification. To identify the microinvertebrates from the soil of the plot, the sample of the soil was brought back into lab and placed under a light in the funnel, where they were identified later on. Microorganism in our ecosystem are important as well. They decompose the litter, leaves, and fallen trees. About one quart of soil with leaves and a separate bag with leaves were brought back in the lab from the Mt. Tom. In the laboratory with a sterile swab the two TSA agar plate were planted with leaves sample and two TSA agar plate with soil and leaves. The plate were left to grow for one week in the room temperature. After one week of incubation the Gram Stain was done to identify the microorganisms in the samples. The abiotic components are playing a very significant role in our study too, because different weather zone it has its own ecosystem importance. The temperature of soil was measured. Also we took a temperature of a climate in a full sun and