The aim of this investigation is to is to determine weather the abundance of species vary across the John Ruskin Woodland, which was observed by a naturalist. In order to investigate this finding, a scale map of the John Ruskin Woodland must be constructed. This provides the basis of were the belt transacts will run. It will also give an idea of the changes in the environmental gradient.
The transact recording method will be used in order to determine the abundance of species across the woodland. Due to time limitations, the belt transact will be interrupted. After intervals of every 2 meters, a reading will take place of the species present within the quadrat. This enables the assessment of how the quantity of species changes along an environmental gradient.
The map constructed of the John Ruskin Woodlands will indicate were the transact recording will take place. In order to gain an accurate value of the species diversity in the Woodland, I will take recordings from five belt transacts. Not only will this enable me to gain a more accurate overview of the abundance of species across the woodland.
As the abundance of species in a quadrat is being recorded, other abiotic factors, alongside light intensity will have to be considered. Firstly, light intensity will be measured using a light meter, measured in the quantitative unit, lux. The pH of the soil will also be taken into account. Taking a sample of 1cm3 of the soil within the quadrat inside a sterilised bottle can attain this. The bottle will have to be labelled according to which belt transact the sample was along and the quadrat frame the soil was in. In order to keep the value of the pH constant, it is the location of the belt transact will have to be away from areas which have heavy human impact, i.e. the presence of public bin’s and footpaths. This can alter the pH of the soil, as the substances released can be either acidic or alkaline.
In the laboratory, 5cm3 of distilled water will be added to the 1cm3 in the sterilised bottle. After shaking the bottle rigorously, 3 drops of universal indicator solution will be added to the soil solution. The colour change of the solution will indicate the pH of the soil within the quadrat.
The temperature will also have to be considered as it can vary slightly across the environmental gradient. Areas of lower light intensity are likely to have a lower temperature then areas of greater light intensity. With a greater light intensity, photosynthesis can occur, thus increasing the biomass of plants. This effectively leads to greater species diversity, as organisms will have sufficient energy to survive. Therefore harsher conditions, (low light intensity) have lower species diversity. In order to obtain the temperature, an electronic thermometer will be used, as slight temperature changes can be obtained with accuracy. The thermometer will be placed on a clamp so the temperature obtained will be of the surroundings and not of the soil, which will be significantly lower.