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Investigation into how Lichen growth is affected as you move further away from a river

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´╗┐Investigation into how Lichen growth is affected as you move further away from a river Vikram Singh Mahal ________________ Investigation into how Lichen growth is affected as you move further away from a river Abstract The purpose of this investigation was to observe and analyse the how the abundance of water affects Lichen growth. I selected 3 sites where there was a river and selected a spot at each randomly. Then I did a 10m line transect from the river to the embankment and recorded any lichen every 1m. I then moved the line transect 2m down the river and repeated the experiment. I did this until I had moved the line transect 12m from the original location that I stated at. The result showed that location on a river bank affected the size of lichens that grew. Experimental Hypothesis: As you move further away from the river bank lichen growth will increase and there will be less abundance of species. Null Hypothesis: There will be no difference in growth and abundance of lichen as you move away from the river bank. Research and Rational This experiment aims to investigate the effect of water abundance of the growth of lichen and which species of lichen are more abundant with increased water abundance. Lichen is an organism that is formed by the symbiotic association of a fungus and an alga or cyanobacterium and occurs as crusty patches or bushy growths on tree trunks, bare ground, etc. Lichens are now classified as a phylum of fungi (Mycophycophyta).2 Lichen growth is expected to increase as you move away from a river. This is due to the fact that Lichens absorb water and minerals from rainwater and directly from the atmosphere, over their entire surface area.12 They are not able to absorb water and minerals as efficiently if they are immersed in a fast flowing river as there would be no time for the lichen to absorb any minerals as effectively as diffusion is not quick enough to occur. ...read more.


13 6 m No Lichen Present 0 8 m No Lichen Present 0 10 m No Lichen Present 0 Line Transect 5 0 m Stereocaulon nanodes 11 2 m No Lichen Present 0 4 m No Lichen Present 0 6 m Chrysothrix Chorina 14 8 m No Lichen Present 0 10 m No Lichen Present 0 Line Transect 6 0 m Lichina confinis 11 2 m No Lichen Present 0 4 m No Lichen Present 0 6 m Chrysothrix Chorina 8 8 m No Lichen Present 0 10 m No Lichen Present 0 As for anomalous results, it is very hard to identify results which are anomalous as lichen growth is not something that can be quantified as anomalous or not. For the purpose of this investigation it has been assumed that there are no anomalous results as it cannot be said if lichen growth should or should not be present and what % cover there should for a particular lichen growth. Interpreting & Evaluation: Looking at the results it can be said that as you get further away from the river bank the abundance of Lichen reduces. By using spearman?s rank correlation it is possible to show a positive correlation between the distance from the river bank and lichen abundance. The equation for the spearman?s rank correlation is: Where d is the difference in the rank number and n is the number of pairs of data. If the value is close to -1 then there is a negative correlation. If it is close to 0, then there is no correlation and if it is close to +1 there is a positive correlation. To calculate the spearman?s rank correlation, I ranked the total lichen abundance at each site in descending order and I ranked the total distance from the river line in descending order. Then I found the difference between the two. I then squared each of the values to remove the negative sign in any answers then added up all the d2 and times this value by 6 to give me the top value in the equation stated above. ...read more.


This would alter my final results slightly but not significantly. Limitations in the investigation were that I was not able to collect data at all three sites at the same time as that was not physically possible and this would have lead to environmental change at each site. Another limitation was the sites I had chosen were in different locations in towns which were in different stages of development. This would have inadvertently leaded to lichen growth as lichen is good indicators of pollution. I tried to counteract this by choosing my sites with similar exposure to pollution but it hard to be completely accurate. Another limitation in the investigation was that when the % cover of Lichens against Line transects distance on a graph, there seemed to be no distinct correlation. This is because there is no completely distinct and clear cut answer to my investigation. There are many factors which contribute to lichen growth so overall it would be hard to judge if there is a causation and correlation based on one factor. I could have further modified my investigation by using my data to see if certain Lichens are more predisposed to grow in locations where water and moisture is more abundant. To do this I would have had to take the following abiotic factors (in table below) into account as certain Lichens grow better in certain condition. Abiotic Factors Measurement Techniques Solar Energy Input Use A Light Metre Climate Information about rainfall and temperature can be obtained from published sources Oxygen Availability Use A Oxygen Probe Edaphic Factors pH Use a pH probe or soil pH kit Minerals Gardeners Test Kit to test the level of nitrate, phosphate and potassium Water Soil samples can be weighed and slowly dried in an oven and reweighed to give the mass of water Organic Matter The dry soil samples can be weighed, burnt in a crucible and reweighed. Any organic matter burnt off, which accounts for any differences in mass Soil Texture Soil texture charts can be used to assess if the soil is mainly clay, silt or sand. ...read more.

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