Assignment for Soil Invertebrate Study

Abiotic Factors Affecting Soil Invertebrates
Turn in a full lab report for this lab:
Introduction section. Provide some background on why we might ask the questions to be
tested. Be sure to state an appropriate hypothesis or hypotheses and predictions for this
lab. Remember you will need to choose AND use appropriate inferential statistics in your
results section to test your hypotheses and predictions.
Methods section. Be sure to report sampling locations (including county and state), and a
brief description of methodology and calculations employed.
Results section. In this lab you must choose how to best graph your data and test it
statistically to address the question at hand. There are two general strategies you may wish
to pursue. Use one or the other. The first would be to lump the data into the treatments,
hillside and forest, and compare means and variation of each treatment. The second
possible approach would be to treat the whole data set as a continuous set of measurements
that overlap between hillside and forest, and look for positive or negative relationships
between various parameters measured (e.g. is soil moisture positively related to density of
mites?). You will use different statistics and graphs depending on the approach you choose.
Be sure invertebrates, soil moisture, and organic matter are expressed per gram of soil.
Remember the Results section should always include a written summary of important trends
in your data tables and graphs, and results from your statistical analyses.
Discussion section. In the Discussion, you will re-state (or refer to) your hypothesis and
prediction and describe how the reported results support (or not) this hypothesis and how
the reported results support your final conclusion. If there are differences in soil
invertebrates among sites (as indicated by your inferential statistics), explain what may
have caused the differences observed? Use the moisture and organic matter data, as well
as information on “The Ecology of Soil Invertebrates” provided or other sources to support
your explanation. If there are no differences among sites (or differences are not as
expected), explain why might this be (discuss other possible alternative explanations,
experimental design flaws, or incorrect assumptions)?
Don't be afraid to speculate in this section (but make sure it is clear to the reader what is
speculation and what is not). No single scientific study is definitive. Thoughtful speculation
is a key ingredient in the scientific process!
Literature cited section. Cite at least two references. One may be the lab handout, but
the other must be from a refereed scientific journal. Any references you may have used in
your paper should be cited here.
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