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A study of species diversity on a rocky beach

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Introduction

GCSE Biology: Coursework A study of species diversity on a rocky beach Investigation We were asked to investigate how species diversity on a rocky beach alters, depending on what tidal area we were in. We went to Brady Cove, near Swansea, on the Gower, in order to do this. We decided that the best way to investigate diversity alteration was by splitting the beach area in to 6 pieces. Like so: There were two people on each section of the beach, each pair obtained the same amount of results using line transects (three in each section). Plan As mentioned in the introduction we will be splitting the beach up into 6 sections. This will make it easier to find differences in species diversity. The sections are: high tide left, high tide right, mid tide left, low right and low tide left (as depicted by the diagram). We will do two line transects in each section of the beach, then convert the results into a species diversity index, we will then be able to compare the results in order to find which section of the beach has the highest species diversity. Then I will investigate the type of conditions each section is exposed to and how this will affect which species lives in each section of the beach. For example, whether the section is shielded from rain, reached by the tide, or if it is exposed to sunlight for long periods of time. ...read more.

Middle

Area two had longer grass and this obviously made a difference in the results. Results These are the results (in species diversity) that we obtained for each area of the beach: Low tide left 1 - 0.53 Mid tide left 1 - 0.36 High tide left 1 - 0.29 Low tide left 2 - 0.36 Mid tide left 2 - 0.31 High tide left 2 - 0.34 Low tide left 3 - 0.26 Mid tide left 3 - 0.51 High tide left 3 - 0.31 Low tide right 1 - 0.61 Mid tide right 1- 0.28 High tide right 1 - 0.53 Low tide right 2 - 0.48 Mid tide right 2 - 0.29 High tide right 2 - 0.40 Low tide right 3 - 0.36 Mid tide right 3 - 0.25 High tide right 3 - 0.47 Analysis After carrying out the investigation in the planned way, I have found; that the climate and conditions organisms live in does affect species diversity, areas with the most constant conditions have the greatest diversity (in the investigation this was the front and the back of the beach). The mid section of the beach, which had the lowest diversity, was very open and had no shelter from weather or predators because of this. I believe this is the primary reason why it had the least species diversity, animals had nowhere to hide from predators and no shelter from various climates. ...read more.

Conclusion

This would have given us a better idea of how the species diversity was affected in the different areas of the beach (although on the day we would not have had time to obtain these results). The results we came up with are not really of a high enough quality to provide a good conclusion into the species diversity of a rocky shore. Although with the results we obtained I would say that the diversity in each sector is dependant upon the different conditions that each sector is subject to. The harsher the conditions are, the harder it will be for the creature to live in, and this will result in a lower species diversity, for example the low tide sector is subject to constant battering from the sea which is a problem for species to overcome. In the past we might have found that species living in the mid tide sector may have lived in the low tide sector, but because of natural selection, they have moved up the beach and found a habitat that they are more suited to. The conditions seem to get harder to survive in as you move down the beach, especially on the left-hand side. I believe that the left hand side may be the side of the beach which is subject to the wind more than the right hand side. To make a conclusion I would say that the species diversity is lower in areas where it is harder to live, and higher where creature find it easy to live. Mike Games ...read more.

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