leaf litter lab Essay

Submitted By olefno
Words: 1329
Pages: 6

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Intro to Environmental
Studies
Leaf Litter Lab

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Olof Nordin
October 16th, 2014


LEAF LITTER LAB

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Abstract: In search of the biodiversity of a forest area to determine the state of health of a forest area by collecting a sample of a forest area by counting micro-invertebrate organisms. The samples of the area’s organisms were counted and estimated for the total area of the forest. The biodiversity of the forest area indicated a relatively high biodiversity, concluding the forest area to be in good health.

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The amount of biodiversity is a factor such as how healthy the environment is. The

greater the amount of biodiversity, the greater the indicator of how much of the environment is healthy and is able to support a larger amount of life. If done overtime it can easily determine the healthiness of an ecosystem. Hence we will be assessing the biodiversity of a forest area by counting the number of organisms in leaf litter. The goal with this lab is to find out the biodiversity (healthiness) of organisms in a specific area (an acre of forest) is in leaf litter. My hypothesis is that the forest area has a pretty high biodiversity and is healthy.

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There are certain variables to be aware of in this experiment, although it is mainly

observational certain things can change the result. We were not involved in the collection of leaf litter process, but a few things to have in mind:
Independent Variable: The Independent Variable is the area where the Leaf Litter was collected. Dependent Variable: The Dependent Variable is the amount of organisms in each sample.
Controlled Variable(s): The Controlled Variable is the amount of leaf litter collected and the size of the container.

LEAF LITTER LAB

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Materials used:
• Leaf Litter
• Dissecting Microscope
• Ethanol
• Berlese Funnel
• Light (light bulb)
• Beaker

A sample of leaf litter was collected from a larger sample provided to the class. We

proceeded by putting the leaf litter in the berlese funnel. Thereon we poured ethanol into a small beaker and placed it at the bottom of the funnel. Next we put the funnel below a light bulb for 5 days to force the organisms out of the leaf litter and into the ethanol. Once five days had passed we took out the beaker and placed it under a dissecting microscope. Under the microscope we tried to identify the micro-invertebrate organisms by using a Dichotomous key to divide the organisms into 5 categories. We tried to categorize them into five categories. Once each group had collected their data we shared the data in class to increase our sample size.

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Table 1
Organism type

Number Observed

M&C

0

T&M

0

S&P

3

I &IL

2

LEAF LITTER LAB

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Organism type

Number Observed

N

2

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The result of our individual groups data in table form above and chart below.
*M&C = Millipede or Centipede
T&M = Tick or Mite
S&P = Spider or Pseudiscorpion
I&IL = Insect or Insect Larvae
N = Nematode

Chart 1
Organisms

3

Value Axis

2.25

1.5

0.75

0

M&C

LEAF LITTER LAB

T&M

S&P

I & IL

N

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Table2
Organism type

Number Observed (whole class)

M&C

6

T&M

16

S&P

14

I &IL

34

N

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LEAF LITTER LAB

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Above are the total number of Micro-invertebrate organisms observed by all groups and below is the chart.

Organisms

40

Number of Organisms

30

20

10

0

M&C

T&M

S&P

I & IL

N

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Table 3
Organism type

Number Observed (whole class) Number Observed (by group) M&C

6

0

T&M

16

0

S&P

14

3

I &IL

34

2

LEAF LITTER LAB

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Organism type

Number Observed (whole class) N

Number Observed (by group) 6

Class

40

2

Group

Value Axis

30

20

10

0

M&C

T&M

S&P

I & IL

N

To make an accurate representation of our sample data we have to estimate the

biodiversity of the area of interest to us. In order to do this we estimated that the chump of leaves was approximately 1/4 of a m2 so get 1m2 we have to multiply our litter by 4. The forest area is about 1 acre and 1 acre…