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Plant Abundance Lab 2017

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Biology
Cole
Name __________________________
Period_____
Plant Abundance and Distribution Lab- Data Sheet
Overview:
During this lab your group will measure the abundance of a specific species of plant near a transect line
running through the forest area on the Valley Catholic property. We will later combine all of the class
data to get a picture of the abundances for many native plants in the forest and their distributions.
My group’s assigned plant species is: __________________________________
Materials:
Meter stick
Plant ID cards
Clipboard
Pencil
Procedure (Day One):
1. Begin at any point along the transect tape. Different groups will begin at different points along the tape
so that it won’t be too crowded at any one place. We will be measuring the plant abundances within 5
meter increments, so begin on the tape at any multiple of 5 meters (such as 15 m or 20 m).
2. Along your first 5 meter section, count any individuals of your specific plant that fall within that range.
We will be sampling in the area within one meter on each side of the trail. Any plant that has any part
falling within the trail or the one meter area on either side of the trail should be counted. You can use
your meter stick to judge how far out you should be sampling. Remember, only count individuals, so
make sure that you are not counting the same plant twice. Record your data in Data Table #1 below. If
a plant falls right on the border between two of the transect sections, count it only in the section where
the majority of the plant lives. If you have any trouble identifying your plant species, ask your teacher
to help.
3. Continue this same procedure for the entire length of the transect tape. Once you are finished, meet
your teacher back at the beginning of the trail, where you entered the forest. If there is time, your
teacher will walk the transect with you to check your accuracy.
Data Table 1: Group Data, Plant Abundances
Transect
Tape
Range
(meters)
0-5
5-10
10-15
15-20
20-25
25-30
30-35
35-40
40-45
45-50
Number of
Assigned
Plants
Counted
Observations about temperature, slope of trail,
amount of light (relatively high/low), amount of canopy cover (for shrubs),
amount of invasive species (like Himalayan Blackberry)
Biology
Cole
Name __________________________
Period_____
Plant Abundance and Distribution Lab- Graphing and Analysis
Due Friday, September 22nd
*Before turning in, please staple the following to the back of this sheet:
 Plant ID notes
 Data sheet
 Graph you made on Excel
Procedure:
1. Add your group data to the Class Data table on the whiteboard/projector. Then copy down the class
data from the board in Data Table 2 below.
Data Table 2: Class Data, Plant Abundances for 6 Species
Transect Tape
Range (m)
0-5
5-10
10-15
15-20
20-25
25-30
30-35
35-40
40-45
45-50
Sp. 1:
Oregon
White Oak
Sp. 2:
Oregon
Ash
Sp. 3:
Thimbleberry
Sp. 4:
Snowberry
Sp. 5:
Oregon
Grape
Sp. 6:
Pacific
Ninebark
2. Graphing By Hand: Graph your group’s data on the axes provided on the next page. Note: You are
only graphing YOUR group’s data right now. You will use the computer later to graph all of the class
data. Remember to always include the required components on each graph.
a) What is the independent (manipulated) variable for your data set? _________________________
b) What is the dependent (responding) variable for your data set? ___________________________
c) Which type of graph will be a better fit here, a bar graph or a line graph? ___________________
Graph Title: _________________________________________________________________
a. Summarize the results (what do you see?)
b.Explain why you think you these results (what is the reason why the data ended up that way?):
3. Graphing By Hand: Is there another type of graph you COULD use to show some interesting data for
this lab? What type?: _______
a) What is the independent (manipulated) variable for your data set? _________________________
b) What is the dependent (responding) variable for your data set? ___________________________
Please graph it on your own below:
a. Summarize the results (what do you see?)
b.Explain why you think you these results (what is the reason why the data ended up that way?):
Procedure (Computer Lab):
1. We are going to graph all of the class data from Table 2 above using Excel.
2. First log on to a computer. From the desktop, double click on Microsoft Excel.
3. Type in your data table at the top left of the Excel spreadsheet. Instead of entering the transect ranges
(like 5-10), simply enter the first number beginning that range. (Excel is not good at dealing with ranges
like these.) Always leave cell A1 blank (the very top left cell). Your typed data should look something
like this (you do not have to write in the table on this sheet):
Cell A1 (this is
left blank)
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
Thimbleberry
Oregon
Ash
Oregon
White Oak
Snowberry
Oregon
Grape
Vine Maple
4. Once you are done entering all of the data, drag your mouse across your data to select the entire data
table (including cell A1). It should appear highlighted in gray. From the top menu, choose “Insert” and
then under the “Charts” subheading, choose the small picture with the jagged lines (a “line” chart). Under
the arrow next to the line chart, choose the middle, left-most chart type. This is for a line graph showing
symbols for each data point.
5. Your graph should pop up in the middle of the spreadsheet. It should look something like this:
6. Make sure that your independent variable (meters) is on the x-axis. If it is not, you may need to click
on the “Switch Row/Column” button on the top menu.
7. Now you can customize your graph. Make sure each line has different symbols for each line (squares, circles).
You can make many choices from the menu. When you click on your graph, there is a green plus sign (+) to the
top right. Click on that to add a Chart Title and Axis Titles (make sure to give any units), and to choose different
options for the legend or gridlines if you want. Don’t choose a black background – it uses too much printer ink.
8. Before you print your graph, ask your teacher to check it. Make sure to save your spreadsheet as an
Excel file. Do not save it to the desktop – save it to your My Documents folder.
9. Once you are confident, print your graph.
10. Staple your graph to your lab handout. Log off from your computer.
11. Use colored pencils to highlight each line on your graph and match it to a line from the legend. It’s
expensive to print them in color, so this will make it easier to see which line is for which plant.
Analysis Questions – Answer the questions below.
1. What did the data that you collected in Data Table 1 show you about the abundance and distribution of
your assigned plant species in the VCS forest (are they in a particular area, clumped, spread out)?
Explain some ideas why you might have seen this distribution (Look back on your observations about
temperature and light as well as the distribution of other plants.)-too similar to other question!!!!!!!!!
2. Same question as above, but discuss other trends you saw with three other species than your assigned
one (what did you see and why)?
3. Do you think that the data that you collected was perfectly accurate? Explain some sources of error or
bias that may have affected your data.
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