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Investigating the effect of trampling on salt marsh

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

A2 BIOLOGY COURSEWORK Investigating the effect of trampling on salt marsh vegetation? RESEARCH AND RATIONALE- The saltmarsh I used for my experiments (sample taking) was the RSPB (Royal Society for Protection of Birds) reserve of Freiston Shore. 1 Aim of the investigation- I am aiming to compare three different aspects when investigating the effect of trampling on salt marsh vegetation. * Population density * Species diversity * Types of species found Two areas in close vicinity will be compared; one area is non-trampled (Area 1) and the other trampled (Area 2). Justification for the investigation- I was interested in the affect humans have on different environments, how they interfere as anthroprogenic factor. In the context of this experiment they can be classed as biotic factors. People explore the marsh in wellington boots this tramples some areas heavily and greatly irritates plant life. This can be measured through looking at the population density of the area, one of the aspects I am going to compare. I chose this marsh specifically because it is a RSPB reserve which means it has been protected by government and other organisations for its diversity in wildlife. We have to remember that there are plenty of other animals (that are sustained by plants) involved in a bird's food chain therefore; Freiston shore has a diverse variety. Biology behind the investigation- More detailed diagrams included in the appendix. 2 A sea shore with very little wave action is one of the causes of the development of a salt marsh. Fine particulate material build up (accretion) in these calm conditions. As the density of the material increases, the river has to then split up around these dense areas, this leads to the formation of tidal creeks. As more mass is deposited, halophytes begin to bind the soil with their roots and in this fashion succession continues, the soil gets more compact. ...read more.

Middle

because I did my tests in the high swamp area, where plant life had established itself, the aerobic respiration of these plants would have decreased the salinity of the area, as the plants use the salt. This was also the reason why the salinity was not very high. Any Anomalous Data or Changes to the plan? During my investigation, I was lucky not to come across any anomalous data when recording my results, I think this had added to the accuracy to my statistical analysis. This was because I made slight adjustments to my initial plan eg- * I got a colleague to check my quadrat readings at random points, this was done to improve accuracy and minimise anomalous data. * When doing the slope readings, a colleague held up the ranging poles to make sure they were straight. INTERPRETING AND EVALUATING- Population density- The quadrat data is graphically presented above. The key for the species is in the appendix. Clear percentage differences can be viewed between species C, D, J and N. Also, as I predicted, there is a lot more mud (O) in the trampled area compared to the non-trampled area. Overall mean of all the species (excluding mud (O)- Non-trampled Area Trampled Area Mean 110.67 Mean 84.63 Species diversity- n = total number of particular species n-1 = 1 subtracted from n N = total number of all the species N-1 = 1 subtracted from N This was gained for both the areas through using Simpson's Diversity Index. 0 = no diversity and 1 = infinite diversity. After the index, D is gained (through the method shown above), its then subtracted by 1 (1-D), to give an overall diversity index. Non-trampled Area- n See appendix N 3320 Simpson's Index (D) 0.37 n-1 See appendix N-1 3319 SIMPSONS DIVERSITY INDEX (1-D) 0.63 n(n-1) See appendix N(N-1) 11019080 Trampled Area- n See appendix N 3109 Simpson's Index (D) 0.40 n-1 See appendix N-1 3108 SIMPSONS DIVERSITY INDEX (1-D) 0.60 n(n-1) See appendix N(N-1) ...read more.

Conclusion

N 3320 Salicornia spp. Annual samphire 93 92 8556 N-1 3319 Sarcocornia perennis Perennial samphire 0 -1 0 N(N-1) 11019080 Sueda maritima Annual seablite 368 367 135056 Index (D) 0.37 Aster tripolium Sea aster 455 454 206570 DIVERSITY INDEX (1-D) 0.63 Limonium vulgare Sea lavender 0 -1 0 Triglochin maritima Sea arrow-grass 0 -1 0 Plantago maritimus Sea plantain 0 -1 0 Spergularia spp. Sea spurreys 0 -1 0 Cochleria spp. Scurvy grasses 0 -1 0 Atriplex portulacoides Sea purslane 541 540 292140 Atriplex spp. Oraches 0 -1 0 Spartina anglica Cord grass 0 -1 0 Elytrigia atherica Sea couch grass 0 -1 0 Puccinellia maritima Saltmarsh grass 1863 1862 3468906 Bare Soil 0 -1 0 Sum > 4111228 Trampled Area (Area 2)- Species n n-1 n(n-1) N 3109 Salicornia spp. Annual samphire 107 106 11342 N-1 3108 Sarcocornia perennis Perennial samphire 209 208 43472 N(N-1) 9662772 Sueda maritima Annual seablite 109 108 11772 Index (D) 0.40 Aster tripolium Sea aster 155 154 23870 DIVERSITY INDEX (1-D) 0.60 Limonium vulgare Sea lavender 0 -1 0 Triglochin maritima Sea arrow-grass 0 -1 0 Plantago maritimus Sea plantain 0 -1 0 Spergularia spp. Sea spurreys 0 -1 0 Cochleria spp. Scurvy grasses 0 -1 0 Atriplex portulacoides Sea purslane 97 96 9312 Atriplex spp. Oraches 0 -1 0 Spartina anglica Cord grass 0 -1 0 Elytrigia atherica Sea couch grass 0 -1 0 Puccinellia maritima Saltmarsh grass 1862 1861 3465182 Bare Soil 570 569 324330 Sum > 3889280 Soil Samples- pH readings of the soil- Non-trampled Area Trampled Area Sample 1 Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 3 Sample 4 Sample 4 Sample 5 Sample 5 Mean Mean Salinity readings of the soil- Non-trampled Area Trampled Area Sample 1 Sample 1 Sample 2 Sample 2 Sample 3 Sample 3 Sample 4 Sample 4 Sample 5 Sample 5 Mean Mean 1 http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/f/freistonshore/map.asp 2 http://www.theseashore.org.uk/theseashore/Saltmarsh%20section/Saltmarsh%20earliest%20stage.html 3 http://www.theseashore.org.uk/theseashore/Saltmarsh%20section/Saltmarsh%20earliest%20stage.html 4 http://www.theseashore.org.uk/theseashore/Saltmarsh%20section/Saltmarsh%20stage%202.html ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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