Report: Soil and Higher Leaf Density Essay

Submitted By Swelamr1
Words: 2359
Pages: 10

The Effect That The Density of Leaf Litter Has on Biodiversity Abstract The experiment tested the effects of different amounts of leaf litter on the number of organisms living in an ecosystem. The hypothesis was: if there is more leaf litter, then there will be more organisms, because of the nutrients given off from the leaf litter. The methods used for the lab were to collect samples from high and low density trees and put the samples in a beaker with alcohol, letting the beaker sit under light with black paper around it for three days. After the three days, a group member would observe the samples under a microscope and identify organisms found in the samples with a dichotomous key and record the organisms found. The results show that samples with more leaf litter have more organisms and therefore more biodiversity than the samples with less leaf litter. Therefore there is conclusive evidence that greater amounts of organic matter increase the number of living organisms in an ecosystem.

Introduction The problem that the group deemed was necessary to solve, was to determine the affect the density of leaf litter has on biodiversity. Leaf Litter is a term that refers to dead leaves, twigs, grass, bark, or any plant material one can find at the base of a tree. If leaf litter was adjacent to 5 trees or more than, for the lab purposes it was defined as high density leaf litter. High density leaf litter is expected to contain more organisms, twigs, and dead plant matter, since high density leaf litter is adjacent to more trees. If the leaf litter is adjacent to 1 tree, then for the sake of lab purposes, it will be referred to as low density leaf litter. Low density leaf litter is expected to have a lesser amount of organisms, twigs, and dead plant matter, because it is adjacent to less trees. Biodiversity is another essential concept of the hypothesis. Biodiversity is defined as: The number, variety and genetic variation of different organisms found within a specified geographic region. Knowing this information can be highly essential, to determine animal diversity in a region. quantifying biodiversity can be important because generally regions that have a variety of different Arthropod, Detritivores, and decomposing organic materials tend to contain very nutritious soils, which in turn can be used to develop agriculture. Biodiversity knowledge is also essential, because biodiversity is critical in maintaining the stability of natural systems. Decomposition of leaf litter is an integral part of biodiversity because it completes a nutrient cycle. The more leaf litter that is present on the ground, the more nutrients that are released in the soil and the healthier the soil becomes. Decomposing leaf litter keeps the soil moist and it is the perfect habitat for several organisms such as spiders, snails, and worms. The group desired to find out the extent that the amount of leaf litter affects the health of the soil. The group conducted this research to test this question to come up with a valid conclusion. Most of the tiny animals that are found in leaf litter are invertebrates, meaning that they lack a backbone. Many times, these organisms can be arthropods. Arthropods are defined as invertebrate animals that have a segmented body, jointed appendage and an exoskeleton, (spiders are a common example). Some Arthropod feed on the litter and break it up into smaller pieces. Microscopic organisms like bacteria and fungi then decompose the litter, converting it into beneficial chemicals and minerals that can be absorbed by plants. Some animals spend their entire lives in soil and leaf litter, while others are found there only at certain points in their lives. Some use the litter specifically for nesting or hibernating. Changing or tampering with the amount of biodiversity can either have positive or significantly negative effects on the organisms that use leaf