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Is the preferred habitat of moss on the North side of a Yew Tree or the North side of an Oak Tree?

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Richard Tandy A2 Biology - Ecology coursework Is the preferred habitat of moss on the North side of a Yew Tree or the North side of an Oak Tree? Plan of investigation For this project I aim to investigate if moss coverage has a preferred habitat on the North side of a Yew tree (a coniferous variety) or the North side of an Oak Tree (a deciduous variety). I will undertake this by means of fieldwork in a woodland area and the sampling and collection of data in the natural habitat of the forest in which I will visit. Appropriate Equipment to be used For the investigation I will need: * A compass * A quadrat (approximately 10cm � 10cm) * A meter ruler * A notepad to record results on to * A paper bag to protect notepad from the rain * A pen * String measured at approximately 1.5 meters long * Appropriate clothing such as waterproofs and walking boots On a separate A4 page is a drawing of the table I will use to record my results, showing the readings I am planning to take. The procedures selected and anticipated methods of collecting data. I will need to control various techniques and methods of working in order to standardise my investigation. I will standardise the actual sample taking. I will place the meter ruler against the trunk and place the quadrat at a height of one meter, with the bottom left hand corner of the quadrat touching the top right hand corner of the ruler. I will count the amount of squares placed over moss to derive a percentage. I will do this twice. Using the compass I will ensure the moss I am sampling is on the north face of the tree, as I specified in my aim. Using the string I measured, I will standardise the circumference of the trees, selecting trees only with a circumference of around 1.5 meters long. ...read more.


Analysing Evidence and Drawing Conclusions The main trend and outcomes of the results The main outcome of my investigation illustrated by the results table shows clearly there is much greater percentage moss coverage on the Oak trees than the Yew trees. Many Yew trees in fact have 0% coverage and the highest is 20%, compared with a highest of 100% on Oak. Therefore, not only does moss grow more on Oak trees, the outcome is that moss growth is exponential on Oak trees compared with Yew trees. Using the bar chart (graph 3) to calculate the average moss coverage, Yew trees have a mean of 2.93% moss coverage and Oak trees have a mean of 72.4%. So there is a significant difference between the groups of results. My bar graph (graph 1) and scatter graph (graph 2) further illustrate this, as they show that the moss coverage percentages are very high for the Oak trees (predominantly 70-100%) and very low for the Yew trees (mainly 0-4%). The scatter graph shows strong groupings, with the Oak tree readings concentrated towards the top end and the Yew tree readings are concentrated at the base of the graph. To case a point, if we look at trees number 9 on my bar graph, the Oak tree here has 100% moss coverage while the Yew tree has 1% moss coverage. If we look at trees number 15, the Oak tree has 98% moss coverage, while the Yew tree has 0% moss coverage. Using my Mann-Whitney U test calculation, I can safely reject my null hypothesis. To reject it my result had to be less than or equal to 64, my result came out as 4. Therefore, according to the table of critical values of U at the 5% level, I can be 95% certain I can reject the null hypothesis. Using the evidence supplied in my results, I can conclude significantly that the preferred habitat of moss is on the north side of an Oak tree rather than the north side of a Yew tree. ...read more.


to the 1 meter mark so moss may have been sampled at a height of over 1 meter where it will probably be less abundant. This could alter the numbers in the data as there is generally more moss on the trees lower down the trunk. It could have been enough to effect the general conclusion however it doubtful as 1 meter is still a long was up the trunk. A meter ruler could have been stood up on flat ground next to the tree, and another straight ruler or piece of wood placed flat on top to reach a height of 1 meter on the trunk. I could adopt a more precise technique with apparatus. For example, if I used a device such as an annometer to measure wind speed, I could connect it to a data logger and leave it for a week and not just one day to get averages which would be more accurate. For instance if I visited an area which had a large moss covering and took wind readings on what was a particularly windy day, I could presume that moss can grow in a strong prevailing wind, however, at any other time the area may be relatively sheltered from the wind. Taking averages over a period of time would not give me any misleading data. I could improve the accuracy of the results if I used other equipment and devices to survey the environment such as a hydrometer for example, which measures wind strength, and devices which measure light availability and moisture levels. Using this equipment would mean I could be very precise in selecting and sampling areas with similar physical conditions and may also enable me to link specific abiotic variables and their influence of the growth of moss. I believe my results are valid because they are a good reflection of the facts and information I collected on the preferred habitats of moss and how this relates to the features of Oak and Yew trees. ...read more.

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