Biomes, Ecosystems, and Habitats Paper
In this laboratory exercise, you will investigate biomes, ecosystems, and habitats. You will collect data on the abiotic and biotic characteristics of two distinct outdoor study areas. You will create species lists of plants and animals observed in the study area and reference the unique physical attributes of the study area.
In a Word document, discuss all parts of this lab activity. Your essay should include the answers to all the worksheet questions. Do not include the original questions. Your answers should be presented in flowing paragraph form. Be sure to include all data tables and graphs from this activity in your paper.
Your paper should meet the following requirements:
- Be 3 pages in length (excluding tables, graphs, and other visuals, title page, or references list)
- Include 1-2 outside sources
- Be formatted according to the APA Guidelines.
Biomes, Ecosystems, and Habitats Paper In this laboratory exercise, you will investigate biomes, ecosystems, and habitats. You will collect data on the abiotic and biotic characteristics of two distin
Exercise 1 Comparing Ecosystems In this exercise, you will select two outdoor environments with distinctive differences. You will observe and compare their physical environments and collect data on the organisms present. You will study how organisms interact with each other and their environment. Note: Expect to spend time kneeling or sitting on the ground. Good weather with no snow on the ground is best to perform this lab. Note: You will need to access to Data Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 while at your study areas. You may need to print or record the data tables on a separate piece of paper. At the end of Exercise 1, ensure that the data tables include all of your data. Procedure Take a piece of cardboard (approximately 8.5” × 11”) and use a pair of scissors to cut it into an “L” shape so you have a large right angle. You will use this at the study sites. Select two outdoor environments with at least one distinctive difference to act as study areas. Note: The two study areas may exist at the same site or may exist at two different sites. For example, a single site could have a fielded area and a forested area. The field and forest might differ in that the field has many grasses, few trees, and receives full sunlight, while the adjacent forest has many trees, few grasses, and receives little sunlight. Two separate sites, such as an urban/suburban site and a rural site, are also an excellent selection. A field in a city park and a field on a country farm may have similar physical attributes on a small spatial scale (grasses, few trees, etc.), but the communities of each may differ greatly due to differences in the greater surrounding environments. Develop a hypothesis about which area will have more organisms that reside within it. Record your hypothesis in Data Table 1. Include reasons for your hypothesis in Data Table 1. Print out or copy Table 1 and Data Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 in a notebook. You will need to take the copied tables, a pencil or pen, the cardboard “L”, string, tape measure, thermometer, 2 plastic bags, compass, digital camera, watch or timer, magnifier, metal spoon, 4 tent stakes, a pair of scissors, and a permanent marker with you to the sites. It would be helpful if you have binoculars and field guides for the plants and animals of your region. Travel to study area 1. Record the major type of land biome that you are studying (forest, grassland, desert, or tundra) in Data Table 1. Give a general environmental description of the first study area you have selected in Data Table 1. For example, study area 1 might be described as “field,” while study area 2 might be described as “forest.” Take a photograph of the entire study area 1. This study area includes everything that you can see within the area. Study the environmental parameters and their descriptions in Table 1. Table 1. Parameter Descriptions. In Data Table 2, record observations about the study area’s physical characteristics based on the parameter descriptions in Table 1. As you conduct observations, record any observations you may have regarding alterations humans have made to the landscape. In Data Table 3, record the living organisms (plants and animals) you observe at study area 1. Record observations for a minimum of 30 minutes. Indicate the approximate number of individuals when possible. Be sure to look under rocks or decaying organic matter because many insects, amphibians, and reptiles live in these locations. Always replace rocks to their original location to avoid disturbance to the habitat. When replacing a rock, be sure to gently lay it down to avoid inadvertently harming any organisms. Use all of your senses to observe the living organisms in the study area. For example, in a forest, the songs of three different bird species might be heard, but the birds may not be visible. Take photographs of the plants and animals if possible, and make notes about the photographs taken that you took so you can refer to your notes later when the photographs are downloaded to a computer or digital notebook. If you cannot get a photograph of a plant or animal, then simply write down detailed descriptions of them in your notes. Note: You may not be able to identify all of the different types of organisms. For example, your study area may have two different types of grasses; in which case, you may record “grass 1” and “grass 2.” It would not be possible to list the number of individuals of the grass plant; however, it would be possible to estimate the number of dandelions present. Examples are provided in Data Table 3. Taking photographs will possibly allow you to determine the types of organisms identified at a later time. After observing the entire site for at least 30 minutes, randomly select a quadrat at your first study area by moving to approximately the middle of the first area you chose. Use the directional compass and turn so you are facing north. Throw the cardboard “L” over your shoulder. Where it lands will designate one corner of your quadrat. Place one stake at the corner marked by the “L.” See Figure 7. Use the measuring tape to measure one meter (100 cm) from the stake along the long edge of the “L.” Place a second stake at the one-meter mark. Figure 7. Use the “L” to establish the first corner of your quadrat by placing the first stake at the corner of the “L” and measuring 1 m along the long edge to place the second stake. Use the measuring tape to measure one meter from the first stake along the short edge of the “L.” Place a third stake at the one-meter mark. Starting at the first stake, tie the string to the stake. Bring the string along the long edge of the ”L” to the stake there and wrap it around the stake twice. Now place the cardboard “L” at this stake so that the short edge runs along the string and the corner of the “L” is at the stake. See Figure 8. Figure 8. String connecting two stakes and the “L” moved to a second corner to help place the final stake. Use the measuring tape to measure one meter from the stake along the long edge of the “L.” Place the final stake at the one-meter mark. Now pick up the free end of the string and run it to the stake you just put in the ground, wrapping it around twice and continue to the last stake, again wrapping the string around the stake. Finally, bring the string back to the first stake. You should now have a 1 m2 quadrat. See Figure 9. Figure 9. Completed quadrat. Use a digital camera to take a photograph of your quadrat. Observe just your quadrat briefly. Write any notes that you have for organisms that are specific to that quadrat. Use a metal spoon to collect approximately 5 mL (one teaspoon) of soil from the quadrat in order to test its pH later. Place the soil in a plastic bag and label it “Quadrat 1” using a permanent marker. Collect your materials from study area 1 and leave the area. Travel to study area 2. Repeat steps 6-26 for study area 2. Testing Soil pH Note: Perform this portion of the exercise in a place with running tap water. Place the soil from Quadrat 1 into the graduated cylinder and then add 20 mL of distilled water. Use the glass stirring rod to mix the soil and water well, reaching the stirring rod all the way to the bottom of the cylinder. Allow the soil mixture to sit for a minimum of 1 hour. Note: This method provides an accurate pH reading. Use the pH strips to test the pH. Dip one strip into the water that has separated from the soil. Remove the pH strip and immediately match the color showing on the wet portion of the strip to the pH color chart provided in the kit. Record the pH value in Data Table 2. Wash out the graduated cylinder with soap and water, rinse it with water, and then rinse it with distilled water thoroughly. Perform a pH test for Quadrat 2, repeating steps 29-34. Wash the equipment used in this experiment with soap and water, and rinse it with distilled water. Allow the equipment to air dry and put the equipment in a safe location for future use. Compiling Data Compile all of your data into Data Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4 electronically. Insert the entire site photos into Photo 1 and Photo 2, and the quadrat photos into Photo 3 and Photo 4. Try to find the name of the plants and animals by using field guides or online sources for plants and animals in your area. If you are unable to find the name of the species, record a description in the space provided in Data Tables 3 and 4. Upload 5 of your favorite images from both study area 1 and study area 2 into Photo 5 – 14. Exercise 1 – Questions Question 1 Would you consider the two environments you investigated to be different ecosystems? Support your answer with your observations. Question 2 Define abundance. What organism had the greatest abundance at study area 1? What organism had the greatest abundance at study area 2? Question 3 Define richness as it pertains to a community. Which of the two study areas were the least rich? What characteristics about this area might have led to decreased diversity? Question 4 Did study areas 1 and 2 have organisms in common? List the organisms found at both study areas. For each organism listed, describe the adaptations or life habits that might have allowed the organism to exist in two different environments. (For example, dragonflies are often observed near bodies of water but may also be observed in parking lots of cities because dragonflies are highly mobile and are good fliers.) Question 5 Do you feel that you were able to observe all of the animals that inhabit your study area? How might you improve your observations? Question 6 What town and state or country do you live in? Madison Florida What biome do you live in? Forest Biome. Which of the eight terrestrial biomes do you live in? What characteristics of your biome were you able to observe at both of your study areas? (Consult a textbook or reliable Internet source as needed.) Question 7 Did your observations support your initial hypothesis? Explain your reasoning. My backyard was used for one quadrant and a nearby park with more vegetation for another. Both would be considered a deciduous forest biome since they are relatively close to one another; the park is about 10 minutes from my home. Area/Quadrant 1-park with heavy vegetation T. Area/Quadrant 2-area in my backyard with sparse vegetation Parameter Description Date and Time 1500 7/2/2022. Current Weather Conditions Sunny and clear skies Current Temperature (°C) 90 F Ground Type and Color Soil is medium brown and dry. Topography Mostly flat Percent Sun Exposure within 50 m 75% exposure Percent Vegetative Cover within 50 m 20% Number of Trees within 50 m 8 Number of Bush and Shrub-Like Plants within 50 m 3-4. Description of Parameter Table 2: Physical Description of Both Areas. Parameter Area 1-park Area 2-backyard Current Weather Conditions Sunny and clear Sunny and clear Current Temperature (°F) 95 90 Ground Type and Color Flat with heavy vegetation Flat with sparse vegetation Topography Flat Flat Percent Sun Exposure within 50 m 50% 50% Percent Vegetative Cover within 50 m 100% 10% Number of Trees within 50 m 4 3 Number of Bush and Shrub-like Plants within 50 m Several None Soil pH 5.7 6.9 Table 3 –Living things in park. Number of animals seen (10 Squirrel) (4 Dragon flies) (Ant Bed 8) Table 4–Living things in backyard. Number of animals seen (Deer 6-11) (Lizards 3) (Squirrels 2)