Is there a difference in biodiversity between two different ecosystems, and which one is best at supporting life?

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AIM:         To see if there is a difference in biodiversity between two different ecosystems, and to see which one is best at supporting life

INTRODUCTION:        In this experiment I have looked at two different ecosystems at my school.

The first ecosystem was behind the English block. Its up on a hill, higher than any other site in the school grounds. It gets lots of sunlight because its up on a hill, also there are not many trees in the ecosystem so the sunlight can reach the ground to the plants below. The only source of water for the ecosystem is rainwater so in the summer it is very dry and the plants die.

        The second ecosystem is down at the bottom of the school field it is behind the bushes by the field and has a river running through it. There are lots of trees and bushes in the area with lots of other plants that have lush green leaves. This ecosystem doesn’t receive a lot of sunlight because the trees catch it before it reaches the ground so only a little light ever does reach the ground. This ecosystem is very low compared to the other area. It gets all the rainwater that runs off the field as it’s on a bit of a slope.

        Comparing the two ecosystems I can see that the English block forest gets very dry, with only rainwater to water it, but it does get lots of sun light. So in the summer it looks very dry. Whereas the river ecosystem only gets a little sunlight, but has a lot of water from the river and the rain. So it’s very lush and green. The distance between the two systems is about 1km.

PRELIMINARY WORK:        At the start of the experiment I went down to the two ecosystems and done some preliminary work. This consisted of getting 4-meter sticks and laying them randomly in one place on the ground. Then I counted all the plants in the 1-meter square. I did this in both ecosystems. I had to also identify all the plants in the square and list how many there was. Then with all this information I worked out the Biodiversity for the two squares.

Here are my results for the ecosystem behind the English block:

List of plants I counted:

  • 6 wild barley
  • 95 bent grass
  • 185 goose grass
  • 42 ivy

The biodiversity of this quadrat is 2.4.

Here are my results for the river ecosystem:

List of plants counted:

  • 2 cow parsley
  • 3 creeping buttercup
  • 1 bindweed
  • 5 ground elder
  • 7 goose grass
  • 6 common grass

The biodiversity of this quadrat is 5.5

A table to show the difference in biodiversity between the two quadrats.


Biodiversity means variety of living things. You can work out an index of biodiversity to compare two ecosystems like I have done in the above section. To do this you have to follow this equation:

D = N (N-1)  

     + n (n-1)

N = total number of organisms of all species found

n  = total number of organisms of a particular species found  

 +   = sum of all organisms of a particular species.

By using this equation you can work out the biodiversity index of a certain area. The higher the number, the higher the biodiversity. The lower the number, the lower the biodiversity. Which means there’s lots of plants in the ecosystem or there are many plants in the ecosystem.

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RESEARCH:                In this section I will find out about the plants that are in the two ecosystems.

IVY: Is a climbing trailing plant, which grows wildly across Europe. Grows in regular garden soil, can live in full sun if given lots of water, also grows well in the shade.

COMMON GRASS: Also known as common reed grass. It is common in North America, and other places. Grows in moist soil and likes marshes.

OAK TREE: _        Found wide in Europe, grows in deep, loamy soil that is moist but not waterlogged. They can be planted in ...

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