GENERAL ECOLOGY LAB REPORT- Distribution of a plant species

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Distribution of a plant speciesIn this lab,

we will examine the distribution of a plant species in the Pike County Pocosin. You will gain experience with methods for analyzing the spatial distribution of organisms. The purpose of this exercise is to determine the distribution of Prickly Pear cactus and to investigate some environmental factors that might influence distribution.

For this exercise, write up a Results and Discussion. No need to provide background information or methodology…RESULTS AND DISCUSSION only. For you Results make sure to include tables and figures in the proper format and to adequately describe what you did, including all statistical/analytical tests. Remember that Results is a narrative with complete sentences and paragraph form. For the Discussion, there is no magic formula, but you can follow this paragraph structure if you like. 1. Broadly restate what you did and found. 2. Identify notable/important findings, compare these to other studies, and interpret meaning. 3. Identify sources of error/caveats and ways to improve. 4. Broad conclusion as to what you found, what it means, and how it can be useful beyond the current study.

Objectives1. To test predictions regarding plant distributions. 2. To apply familiar sampling methods for vegetation to a scientific question.3. To become familiar with recording, managing, analyzing, and interpreting data.ComparisonsWe will be comparing the index of aggregation, density, and average size of Opuntia in 2 closely situated fields of differing disturbance histories at the Pike County Pocosin.Methodology1. Develop hypothesis and prediction 2. Go to designated location for sampling in your designated area 3. Sample Opuntia with a belt transect. Your instructor will inform you of the number of quadrats and specific dimensions.4. Flag every Opuntia in each quadrat and record the number5. For each plant, determine size by counting pads and measure the distance to the nearest neighbor (DNN)6. Continue until all plants are documented in each quadrat for your belt transect.7. Combine class data.Questions/Analysis1. Are Opuntia distributed evenly, randomly, or clumped in the different fields?a. Determine index of aggregation for both fields.2. Is there a difference between Opuntia size and DNN in the different fields? a. Perform t-test on mean pad number between the two fields and DNN between the two fields.b. Construct bar graphs depicting each comparison3. Is there a correlation between DNN and Opuntia size?a. Perform correlation on DNN and pad number.b. Construct scatterplot of DNN vs pad number.

The experiment report is completed according to Lab Report 3 Species dispersal Rubric.

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