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How and why does the sand dune succession at Coatham Sands, North Yorkshire change?

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Introduction

How and why does the sand dune succession at Coatham Sands, North Yorkshire change? During September 2003, year 12 visited Coatham Sand Dunes on Redcar beach in North Yorkshire. Here we were able to develop knowledge and understanding, as well as the skills necessary to be able to analyse, interpret and evaluate data which we collected whilst away. We used a variety of methods to collect such data such as profiling, quadrat's, soil testing and microclimate, in order to use the results to answer a related question of our choice. I have decided to investigate the changes during the sand dune succession, which will include results and reasoning for pH and soil moisture, plant species diversity, soil profiles, and sand dune profiles. Here is a map of where Coatham Sands is and what surrounded the area: Hypothesis I predict that the vegetation type will change across the dune system with distance from high tide - species diversity and total percentage cover increases too. As the dune succession develops inland, I feel that soil characteristics such as pH, depth, and moisture will change. ...read more.

Middle

They can also cause blowouts as the plant roots cannot hold the sand together. Quadrat sampling was rejected if there were a blowouts as a major feature may be missed and so would not provide suitable data for spearman's rank. Therefore, the kind of sampling we decided on was systematic but with modification and so our data is not entirely reliable. Random sampling has the disadvantage of taking longer to carry out and has no great advantage other our method. The pipeline also caused parts of the natural sand dunes to be destroyed and use to environmental complaints regeneration was demanded. However, there was not as much diversity of species as it doesn't provide a natural balance. The steelworks nearby also cause noise and visual pollution which not only affect the native animals but also the vegetation which means that the succession cannot reach its climax fully. The data we collected gave me the opportunity to test between two variables using Spearman Rank. The table below shows how I worked out that there was a strong negative correlation between number of species, and percentage of bare earth. ...read more.

Conclusion

Paths cut by humans and animals often expose areas of sand within the system and blowouts may form. I expect plants were kicked over and the sand dunes eroded, which means my kite diagram and Spearman's Rank are not entirely reliable. Although there are several management issues such as erosion, development and building on the golf course and pipeline, human impact and beach cleaning which have affected the natural ecosystem of the succession, I feel that the results which we have managed to collect do enable us to draw general conclusions from because the general trend has been the same in each groups results. If I was to improve on the investigation another time, I feel it would be valid to investigate what happened to the air temperature, wind speed and air humidity with increased distance from the sea because I think that these factors would enable me to draw an even more valid conclusions because I predict that these factors all contribute to the sand dune succession and how it changes from high tide inland. I would also compare the result of the rehab dunes to the natural dunes, as well as look at each groups results and see how and why they differ. ...read more.

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