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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
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Ecology in biology, we set of for a week at Juniper Hall Field Centre in Dorking, Surrey. We spent an amazing week discovering and exploring the concepts of ecology and wildlife.

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Kassem.Abboud        Page         01/05/2007


For our Unit 3 – Ecology in biology, we set of for a week at Juniper Hall Field Centre in Dorking, Surrey. We spent an amazing week discovering and exploring the concepts of ecology and wildlife and how it all works from learning the theory for example habitats and niche to learning about the wildlife of different species of plants to fresh water invertebrates. We took into account everything we learned which was building up as preliminary work so that we can build on that and conduct our own made investigations. Here is a map of the location for reference and their website for further information:  



The FSC is committed to career development and professional training in the environment and is one of the UK's leading providers of taxonomic training. They are accredited and certified by awarding bodies, to help individuals develop their skills. And was the very reason we choose them not only to cover our unit 3 in open places and with the appropriate available equipment and resources but to also have an advantage at taking our coursework out of the way benefiting us as back home its quite impossible to study ecology.

Relevant Biological Information

Ecology: is the scientific study of the distribution, abundance and relationships that an organism has with its physical surroundings and with individuals of the same species and individuals of other species, when we talk about environment we mean not only physical (abiotic) conditions, for example light and temperature, but also the biological (biotic) conditions under which an organism lives.

Niche: is the role that an organism plays in its environment, simply its just the way of life of an organism in its natural surroundings, and if two organisms occupy the same niche they will compete.

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  1. I will place a tape measurer of about 10 metres around just in front of the Holly tree just like in the diagram above, for example the 0m, 5m, and 10m from above.
  2. If a 2m ruler is possible I will place or lay on the tree vertically, if not I will tape two 1 meter rulers together then place it, just as I have illustrated it in the diagram, again for example the 0m, 1m and the 2m from above.

The following random coordinates will be used:





















  1. I will then simply start conducting my investigation and gaining my results by using random coordinates for example (5, 1) as I have showed in the diagram.
  2. I will go to that point on the tree and then in that area take 20 leaves, for each leaf count the number of spikes it has and record it down on a results sheet.
  3. I will repeat steps 1-4 till I have about 30 samples and therefore the amount of spikes on 20 leaves per sample, thus insuring we get an accurate overall result.

Then for the soil samples.

  1. I will take a film pot and gently scoop just over a teaspoon of soil and place within the pot repeat this for the 1st 10 samples and keep aside ready to be tested.
  2. I will then take them back to the lab, then for each pot in turn I will pour 10cm³ of ionised water and stir the soil sample with the ionised water until it is roughly dissolved good enough to be tested on
  3. Then get an electronic PH reader and place in the mixture of ionised water and soil and take down the readings.

Justification of method:

Q1- why is 10 metres used horizontally around in front of the tree.

Q2- why is 2 metres used in height.

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The pH value collected at 10 points around the holly tree were all roughly the same, I concluded that the pH had no significant relationship nor did it affect the spikiness of the leaves, regardless of the height. It is most likely to affect such factors such as uptake of minerals and nutrients within the soil, as water passing though the soil can remove nutrients in a process known as leaching, the cations dissolve in the water and are washed down through the soil which causes a decrease in soil acidity but again from research I have found that the holly tree is able to tolerate such pH conditions.

Finally no method is perfect, but my investigation was straight forward and doesn’t require much equipment or preparation and naturally quite easily analysed and concluded. It was conducted in a appropriate way thus giving me reliable data that clearly proved and backed my hypothesis in proving that I was correct. Also the fact that my points were chosen randomly could have provoked my results and hypothesis but it didn’t which I was happy about. I didn’t have to cope with any inaccuracies/errors due to the method which I used again for the sole purpose it was straight forward only required you to be able to count so nothing can really go wrong and there is not any method that is better that could be used. I think for the future if this was to be carried out again the only issue they would need to touch on is further studies dig up more biological reasons as to why the spikiness of leaves changes according to the height and what factors affect its leaves and what adaptations it has undergone to cope and tolerate such conditions.


  • Energy and Ecosystems – Nelson Thornes
  • Advanced Biology for you – Gareth William’s
  • Biology teacher – Ms tibbits
  • Internet search engine – www.google.com
  • Handouts and notes from the board

...read more.

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