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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Science
  • Essay length: 2030 words

Comparison of the species diversity of the vegetation of upland and lowland ecosystems.

Extracts from this essay...


A Level Biology ECOLOGY INVESTIGATION Introduction Comparison of the species diversity of the vegetation of upland and lowland ecosystems. Plan When studying a particular organism in its ecosystem physical features that may affect it such as rainfall, temperature, soil pH etc. are considered. The physical features or abiotic features determine the range, type and number of species in the ecosystem. Species diversity is measured in relation to a given area. It can be assessed in terms of the number of species or the range of different types of species an area consists of. The species diversity is determined by the abiotic factors existing in the ecosystem. For both animals and plant temperature is an extremely important factor that determines they can survive or not. The environmental temperature affects an organism, therefore affecting the rate of chemical reactions in the organism. So, if the temperatures are not suitable for organisms to live in they will not be able to survive. There is a slight decrease in temperatures as the level of ground gets higher. In general, populations tend to grow faster when situated in warmer regions.


You can solve this by measuring the proportion of ground covered by each species of plant using an approximate percentage. When the quadrat has been thrown make an accurate as possible approximation of the percentage cover of each different species of vegetation within the quadrat and record the result. Repeat this sampling method eight times on the upland area and the same on the lowland area. Testing the Soil pH Using a trowel take a soil sample from both upland and lowland ecosystems to test their pH and nitrate levels. For each soil sample separately put a small amount of the soil into a beaker, add some water to it and stir using a stirring rod so that the soil also gets broken up. Filter the soil sample through a funnel with glass wool in it into clean empty beaker. Filter the filtered sample once more but, this time using filter paper in the funnel. Filter enough of the sample into another beaker so that end of the electrode on the pH meter can be fully dipped into the sample. To test the pH two buffer solutions will be needed to standardise the electrode.


By testing the soil pH of each area using the pH meter, the results showed that the upland soil was slightly acidic (pH 4.74). The lowland soil was close to being neutral (pH 6.31). Due to the slightly acidic soil on the upland area vegetation that are lime loving struggle to survive. Since the lowland soil has a relatively neutral soil it is able to support vegetation that is both lime loving and lime hating, giving the lowland area more species diversity. The upland soil had the characteristics of both clay soil and loam and the lowland soil had the characteristic of loam. Loam retains enough water to grow a variety of plants but, there could also be a chance of some water logging. There observations I have made about each soil suggests that lowland soil is a better type of soil to grow vegetation in. I feel that I could have improved my investigation more if I took a lot more quadrat samples for each area I was taking samples from. I was unable to test the nitrate levels in the soil samples as there was not any nitrate tablets available to do so. By doing this test I could have added to my conclusions. My end conclusion is that lowland ecosystems have more species diversity than upland ecosystems.

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