In this module:

  1. Ecological Studies
  2. Quadrats & Transects

Ecological Studies

Ecology Introduction:

If you came along to one of our hands on practical training sessions this is an idea of the sorts of things on the menu.

Model habitats made by students:

The title says it all. Give your students opportunity to be creative in designing model habitats. You might then discuss and evaluate the outcomes.

Pitfall trap model:

Animal sampling techniques. Shot-glasses as model pitfall traps for e.g. woodlice.

Woodlice and snails:

Some simple ideas to begin with. Have your observation aquarium tank ready at all times. Look at woodlice behaviour (natural) not in choice chambers. Mention of population estimates by MRR (mark, release recapture) using snails.

Lichens on trees:

Doesn’t everyone have a fallen tree trunk in their lab? The long term decomposition could be assessed but far easier is to look at the lichen distribution on North and South sides.

Fertiliser run off modelling:

Ploughing and fertiliser application such as nitrates. Run-off and leaching. Water samples taken from ponds or streams. Eutrophication is discussed. Duckweed growth.

Sycamore aphids 01:

Aphids on sycamore leaves create a sticky substance. Notice where the aphids feed adjacent to the leaf veins. Aphid stylet mouth parts are like a very fine hypodermic needle. Ants have a symbiotic relationship with the aphid pests.

Holly branches:

Samples from the upper, centre and lower branches of the holly tree and associated leaf prickles. Holly leaf miner damage can be an added attraction; more on that later.

Compost heap 01:

Digging over the compost heap. Take a bag full in to your lessons why not? Having checked out your local risk analysis of course.

Decomposition 01:

Leaf decomposition comparisons. You will need to collect and keep leaves for the times they are required.

Biodiversity: an easy idea using patterned materials:

Instant data from floral designs. The materials represent habitats. Easy to ‘see’ models of biodiversity.

Quadrats & Transects

Quadrat 01: modelling designer habitats.:

Using ‘easy to obtain’ plant species to create a ‘desired’ habitat. Clover, Plantain, Moss, an almost indestructible species to use. You will need to dig up parts of someone’s garden, with permission of course.

Quadrat 02 modelling using turfs:

Using our turfs with quadrats to model random sampling. Comparing two habitats.

Transect 01: an introduction:

Examination questions can offer a great source of inspiration and ideas to help focus your teaching of transects and quadrats. There’s also opportunity to apply the techniques to different situations and habitats. Thanks for the sources being referred to.

Transect 02: an idea for a model transect:

You might want to build your own version of a transect across different habitats. This could be scaled down further for use indoors.

Transect 03: an indoor set up using Ivy:

Indoor modelling of light intensity or shading effects on plant growth along a transect. If you can find some ivy, it has different leaf areas. Try using branches of Ivy to represent the plants as model transects.

Transect 04 using lawn samples:

Using turfs 30cm x 30cm samples taken from a lawn with tree shade. Assess the abiotic gradient with light meter. Part 2 looks at quadrats in habitat 1 compared to habitat 2.

Transect 05 abiotic factors:

Suggestions for some of the abiotic factors to measure, e.g. Light LUX, Soil test kits, Nitrate, pH. A possible use for UV beads.

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