• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Will the population and community of plants increase upon progressing inland from the beach?

Extracts from this document...


Biology Coursework A2….

Ainsdale Dune Ecology Field Work

(Skill A):  Planning:

Will the population and community of plants increase upon progressing inland from the beach?

Hypothesis:        As the distance from the beach increases the conditions become less harsh.  There is less wind; the salt content in the water decreases and the soil contains more humus.  Due to these changing factors the living conditions become more bearable.  Hence I can predict: “Upon moving away from the beach a greater population will be found and also the community will generally become greater.”

Null-Hypothesis:  “Upon moving inland from the beach the number of species of plants will not increase, due to the increased farming of the land”

When We Get To Ainsdale…

We are going to take several readings and make several observations to determine whether or not our hypothesis is correct.  We have decided to take soil samples so that we can perform several experiments on them backing the labs.  We have also decided to record the pH of the soil, observe the different species of plants of the abundance found.  Also we are going to create a dune profile, to observe how the dunes naturally exist.

How We Are Going To Do This…

  • We are going to use Ranging Poles and Clinometers (explained in more detail later) to record angles of depression and elevation.
  • We will use a tape to measure 200 meters inland from the beach and make observations every 10meters.
  • At every 10meter intervals we will take the pH of the soil using an analogue pH meter.
  • Also at every 10meter intervals we will place quadrates down to observe the percentage cover of certain species of plants (a greater detailed explanation later)
  • At the every 10meter intervals we will also take a soil sample, so that more experiments can be performed in the labs.

Back At The Labs…

We will use each soil sample and record the pH of the soil using Universal Indicator solution and water.  We will calculate the water saturation of the soil.  Also we will be able to measure the percentage of humus contained in that particular sample.  Once having done this we will be able to compare the results with the ones we gain from sites nearer to or further away from the beach.

Equipment We Shall Use…

  • Ranging Poles:        These are long poles with red and white “rings” at various lengths.  NB The positions at which each red/white ring starts are the same on every ranging pole.

We shall start at 0meters and place a ranging pole into the ground, the other one shall be placed further inland where the ground first peaks.  The angle of elevation will then be recorded using clinometers.  The next pole shall be placed into the ground at the closest lowest point, and the angle of depression measured.  We shall do this until we reach 200meters.

  • Clinometers:        These are used for measuring angles of depression and angles of elevation.  We shall use the clinometers in cohersion with the ranging poles.  To measure the angle of elevation we shall hold the clinometers at a specific point of one of the ranging poles then measure the angle that is shown when it is pointed at the same point on the other ranging pole.  The angle of depression is measured in the same way only the clinometers will be pointed down instead of pointed upwards.
  • Quadrates:                These are used to calculate the percentage cover of a various species of plants in a specific area.  They will be place down at every 10meter intervals.  We shall observe the types of plants in the quadrate and the abundance of them.  Giving them a value of Abundant, Common, Frequent or Occasional.
  • Soil Sample:                At every 10meter intervals we shall use a small troul and place some soil into a small bag.  We will then tie the bag and mark the site number.
  • pH recording:        At every 10meter intervals we shall record the pH of the soil.  We shall do this by using an analogue pH meter.
  • Compass:We must perform our experiment in a straight line at an angle of 180 degrees from the waters edge.  To make sure that we stay on a direct heading we must use a compass to show the heading.
...read more.



        A positive number indicates that there is an increase in height, the angle of elevation.  While a negative number indicates that there is a decrease in height, the angle of depression.

Example Of Dune Profile Results…

Distance (m)

Angle (degrees)

Back In The Labs…

Once we have gained all the results that we need from the beach we will take our samples to the lab.  At the lab we will perform several experiments on each sample.  We will conduct several experiments on each sample to discover the percentage of water each sample contains.  We will also calculate the percentage of humus contained within each sample.  Also we will check the pH of each sample-just to make sure the results previously gained are correct.

Percentage Of Water…

  1. Weigh an empty dish.
  2. Place the sand from site 1 into the dish.
  3. Weigh the sample from site 1 in a dish.
  4. Note the initial weight.
  5. Place into an oven and leave for several days.
  6. Take the sample out and re-weigh.
  7. Use the below formula to deduce the percentage of water contained within the sample.
  8. Repeat these steps for all the samples obtained.

% Water        =                100                Initial weight – Final weight

                             Initial weight

The pH…

  1. Take a small sample of dry sand from site 1.  i.e. The sand that has come out of the oven after the above calculation has been done.
  2. Place this small sample into a test tube.
  3. Add to the sample distilled water (has a pH of 7, which is neutral)
...read more.


aces the results obtained for each plant.  If there is a plant at one site but not the next then find the point in between the two sites and join this point with the previous result so a “diamond” forms.


Don’t forget to join the points together if plants are found in site next to one another, with straight lines.

Spearman’s Rank Correlation Coefficient…

  1. Draw a scatter graph to see if the two variables that you want to correlate are related.
  2. Devise a Null-Hypothesis about the two variables.
  3. Produce a table like the one below: -

Variable A

Variable B

Ranks A

Ranks B



  1. Place values into the table for variable A and also for variable B.
  2. Next Rank the values of A, the greatest value being 1.
  3. Rank the values of variable B next.
  4. For each pair of values work out the difference in rankings and place into the column titled D.
  5. Simple multiply D by itself for the final column.
  6. Using the equation shown below calculate the correlation coefficient, then cross-reference with a chart.


        If the level of significance is above 95% we reject our null-hypothesis and accept our other hypothesis.  The table gives the level of significance.

Rs        =        1  -  6 x (        D2)

                        N3 – N

Sample Results Tables…


Initial Weight

Final Weight


% Humus/Water





















...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Probability & Statistics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Probability & Statistics essays

  1. "The lengths of lines are easier to guess than angles. Also, that year 11's ...

    This means more year 11's guessed closer to the mean for the line. This was also the case for the year 9's. These are the histograms to show these details. The histograms show the spread and how densely populated each group of data is.

  2. Spectrophotometer Lab.

    Figure 1: Purpose: To determine the % of absorption and transmission of light from spinach leafs at different wavelengths of energy. Hypothesis: The wavelength with the greatest transmission % will be 550 nm because the spinach leaf reflects green light (hence, why plants are green).

  1. AS statistics coursework - correlation coefficient between height and weight in year 11 boys ...

    The reason the boys is more varied than the girls I believe is down to the random selection however I feel that I have still proved that both the boys and girls least squares regression lines are accurate for their respective data.


    Height (m) Median Lower Quartile Upper Quartile Inter quartile range Boys 1.37 1.18 1.40 0.22 Girls 1.31 1.19 1.33 0.14 I will now draw the box-plot diagram for the height of the boys and girls. In conclusion, I can say that from the second line of enquiry, that gender does

  1. Statistics Coursework

    85.06 100 91.01 147 95.24 194 97.92 7 52.43 54 85.19 101 91.12 148 95.24 195 98.15 8 65.61 55 85.19 102 91.27 149 95.24 196 98.15 9 65.87 56 85.61 103 91.27 150 95.24 197 98.15 10 66.67 57 85.98 104 91.27 151 95.28 198 98.15 11 68.25 58

  2. I am going to design and then carry out an experiment to test people's ...

    12.5 20 11.5 7 7 8 17 17.5 9 7 8 7 10 9 12 7 9 23.5 30 30 21 7 10 16 12 20 22.5 7 11 11 12 8 21.5 7 12 21.5 14 22 21 7 13 11 12 15.5 9 7 14 19.5 19 21

  1. Used Cars - What main factor that affects the price of a second hand ...

    Engine size against Price The correlation between Engine size and price was 0.6835534214 which was the strongest correlation against price out of all the factors. This showed that there is definitely a link between engine size and the price. Which means that as the engine size increases so too does the price.

  2. Design an investigation to see if there is a significant relationship between the number ...

    In light of this fact I felt that a smaller quadrat would cause me to have too small a sample. Conversely, a larger quadrat would mean I'd have to take a larger sample for it to be representative, which would be too time-consuming to do.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work