User talk:Libin G. Abdi/Notebook/Biology 210 at AU

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Purpose:This is a current and progressing experiment that allows students to observe a particular ecosystem within American University. From these ecosystems, students will gradually learn the importance of different organisms (such as animals, plants, and bacteria) and their niches in an ecosystem. The main purpose of this lab is to demonstrate the relevance of diversity within an ecosystem.

Materials and Methods: Each group was assigned a specific 20 X 20 transect, a section of land meant to represent an ecosystem. In this group, transect 4 was assigned. The group was to carefully observe and record aspects of the transect, including but not limited to: biotic and abiotic features, animals, plants, etc. Variables that could affect later observations in the transect include human activity. Because this particular transect was the university's community garden, it would be open to human disturbance. Temperature/weather is also an important variable as the transect is being observed during colder temperatures (i.e. wintertime). The initial observation was followed by a hay infusion, which allowed students to take a 50 mL sample of soil and ground vegetation that would fully represent the entirety of the transect.

Data and Observations:Transect 4 is located near the back end of the university and is fenced completely around making it comparatively isolated. Nevertheless, due to this transect being the university garden, it is no stranger to human disruption. The transect is well kept and has various different vegetables growing such as broccoli, kale, corn and cucumber. Each crop is separated according to type and have been put in boxes. These plants were well watered through a watering system that had been set up. Certain plants had shown more growth while others had either little to no growth.

The abiotic (non-living) features of the transect include hay, mulch, soil, rocks and water (from the irrigation system). The hay, mulch and rocks were present nearly everywhere except for the plant beds, while rocks, soil and water were more apparent in the plant beds. The biotic (living) factors included vegetables, birds, squirrels, earthworms, and grass. The vegetables were clearly in their planting beds. Animals, such as the birds and squirrels made some frequent appearances on the transect, while others like the earthworms stayed within the soil. Grass, like the hay and mulch of the abiotic factors, was mainly on the ground, separate from the plant boxes. For the hay infusion, soil from each plant bed as well as the ground were taken as was grass, hay and mulch. This ensured that the hay infusion would be a good representation of the entire transect.

Conclusions and Future Directions:The fourth transect will continue to be monitored by the group members. It is clear that a glance at this transect would not suffice to show how diverse the life present is. Only careful and precise observations would show that. Later on, the hay infusion should be able to reveal more about the life present on this transect.

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