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Experiment The Macrobiome The Macrobiome Michele Hopkins Ocean County College Prof. Vanja Velickovska General Biology II DL1 November 02, 2014 www.HOLscience.com 222 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome Introduction In this lab I will be able to gain a necessary understanding of ecosystems and biomes. I will be able to study and count the flora and fauna inside a defined ecosystem as well as the interrelationships among flora and fauna. I will also study about food webs, learn about the diets of birds of prey and dissect an owl pellet in order to study its diet. Procedure Exercise 1 1. I took a piece of cardboard and cut it into an “L” shape so you have a large right angle. 2. I selected my study site (2 areas that differ at the site) 3. I recorded a hypothesis about the area will have more organisms that reside within it. 4. I placed the cardboard “L,” string, tape measure, thermometer, plastic bags, compass, camera, watch, and spoon with you to the sites. 5. I randomly selected a quadrat at my first study area, I approximately went to the middle of the first area I chose. I than turned so I was facing north. Next, I threw the cardboard “L” over my shoulder. (Where it lands will designate one corner of my quadrat.) 6. Next, I placed one stake at the corner marked by the “L.” I used the measuring tape to measure one meter (100 cm) from the stake along the long edge of the “L.” I than placed a second stake at the one-meter mark. 7. I than used the measuring tape to measure one meter from the first stake along the short edge of the “L.” Lastly, I placed a third stake at the one-meter mark. 8. Starting at the first stake, I tied the string to the stake. I brought the string along the long edge of the ”L” to the stake there and wrap it around the stake twice. I tthan placed the cardboard “L” at this stake so that the short edge runs along the string and the corner of the “L” is at the stake. 9. I used the measuring tape to measure one meter from the stake along the long edge of the “L” and placed the final stake at the one-meter mark. Lastly, I picked up the free end of the string and ran it to the stake I just put in the ground, wrapping it around twice and continue www.HOLscience.com 223 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome to the last stake, again wrapping the string around the stake. Finally I brought the string back to the first stake. I now have a 1 m2 quadrat. 10. In Data Table 1, I recorded my observations about the quadrat’s physical characteristics. (I took multiple recordings) 11. I used a metal spoon to collect approximately 5 mL (one teaspoon) of soil from each quadrat in order to test its pH later. I placed the soil in a plastic bag and label it “Quadrat 1.” (Now I will observe the larger animals that utilize the area.) 12. Again, I stood in the center of your quadrat and face north. For 2 minutes, I listed/described the different animal species/types I observed within 100 m of the quadrat in Data Table 4 under “Animal name or type” and recorded the number of individuals of that animal type under “Number of organisms in quadrat 1.” ( I was sure to include birds that are flying above the area). 13. I repeated step 15 facing east, south and west. 14. I repeated steps 5 through 15 for a quadrat in my second study area. This will be “Quadrat 2.” Soil pH 15. I placed the soil from Quadrat 1 into the graduated cylinder, and then add 20 mL of distilled water. I used the stir rod to mix the soil and water well. I allowed the soil mixture to rest for a minimum of 1 hour. (This method provides an accurate pH reading). 16. I used the pH test strips provided in the LabPaq to test the pH. I dipped one strip into the water that has separated from the soil. I removed the pH strip and immediately matching the color showing on the wet part of the strip to the pH color chart provided in the kit. I recorded the pH value into lab report Data Table 2 as “soil pH.” 17. Next, I performed this pH test for Quadrat 2, and record the pH value into Data Table 2 as “soil pH.” 18. Lastly, I tred to find the name of the plants and animals by using field guides or Websites for the plants and animals of your area. If I was unable to find the name of a species, I wrote a description in the space provided in Data Table 3. www.HOLscience.com 224 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome Exercise 2 1. I set up a work area for dissecting the owl pellet. 2. I filled a drinking glass or cup three-quarters full of warm water. 3. Next, I dipped the pellet into this warm water for a few seconds and then place it onto the aluminum pie plate. 4. I used a dissecting needle and tweezers from the dissection tool kit to carefully separate the bones from the other parts of the owl pellet. 5. I placed the contents of the owl pellet onto paper towels. I arranged the bones by groups such as skulls and jaws, vertebrae, ribs, shoulders, and legs. 6. When I viewed the bones, I noticed the number of skulls may not match the number of leg bones such as the femur. This mismatch can be due to several reasons. Owls can regurgitate one to three pellets a day so the parts of each animal may be regurgitated at different times or the bones can be partially digested, which makes them difficult to identify. Complete skulls will have the upper jaw. 7. Lastly, I recorded the number of skulls, lower jaws, scapulas, forelimbs, hind limbs, pelvises and ribs found in your pellet in Data Table 5. (Classify them as mole, rodent, or shrew). www.HOLscience.com 225 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome The Macrobiome Hands-On Labs, Inc. Version 42-0126-00-01 Lab Report Assistant This document is not meant to be a substitute for a formal laboratory report. The Lab Report Assistant is simply a summary of the experiment’s questions, diagrams if needed, and data tables that should be addressed in a formal lab report. The intent is to facilitate students’ writing of lab reports by providing this information in an editable file which can be sent to an instructor. Exercise 1: Organisms in a Community Hypothesis: Data Table 1: Characteristics of two local quadrats. Characteristics Date and time Shading (complete, partial, none) Biome (forest, grassland, desert, or tundra) Soil texture (fine, medium, coarse) & color Topography Soil pH Percent vegetation cover Current weather conditions Photograph of quadrat Quadrat 1 Quadrat 2 October 27, 2014/ 4:30 pm EST October 27, 2014/ 6:07 pm EST None Complete (shady) Grassland (backs into forest) Forest/Water (river) Medium/Dark brown Fine; Sandy; Dry/ Light Brown Flat Hill 6.0 (began at 6:50pm/ ended at 7:50pm) 8.0 (began at 6:50pm/ ended at 7:50pm) 100% 75% o Cloudy; Rainy/ 68o F Sunny/ 72 F More than 50 Trees Number of trees within 50 m Number of bushes within More than 50 bushes 50 m www.HOLscience.com 226 More than 50 Trees More than 50 bushes ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome (There was nothing located in either quadrant besides grass and dirt. So, the percentages were taken from the whole area at both locations.) www.HOLscience.com 227 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome Data Table 2: Plant species observed in the quadrats. Plant name or type Approximate number of organisms in quadrat 1 Approximate number of organisms in quadrat 2 Clover 50% Zero Weeds 75% 75% Dandelions 25% Zero Thistles (purple flowers) 25% Zero (tree berries) 20% Zero Grassbur Zero 20% Weeping Willow Trees Zero 70% Red Elderberry (not sure) 15% Zero Data Table 3: Animal species observed in the quadrats. Animal name or type Approximate number of organisms in quadrat 1 Approximate number of organisms in quadrat 2 Crickets 4% 2% Grasshoppers 5% 3% Birds 35% 50% Ants 95% 5% Squirrels 10% 2% Flies 0% 0% Pill Bug (Rollie Pollie) 0% 2% Mosquitoes 25% 75% Fish Zero Zero Skunk (I could smell) 0% 10% Rabbits 0% 0% (There was nothing located in either quadrant besides grass and dirt. So, the percentages were taken from the whole area at both locations.) www.HOLscience.com 222 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome www.HOLscience.com 223 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome Data Table 4: Animal species observed in the study areas. Animal name or type Approximate number of organisms in study area 1 Approximate number of organisms in study area 2 Questions for Exercise 1 A. Describe the most significant characteristic of deserts. Where are deserts found, in terms of other geographic features? B. Summarize the differences in the physical environment between the two quadrats. www.HOLscience.com 224 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome C. Did your observations support your initial hypothesis? Explain your reasoning. D. Did you observe any similarities between the kinds of species of flora and fauna in the two quadrats? E. What organisms (plants and animals) were found in the highest quantities for each area? F. How have people changed your ecoregion over time? For instance, have any animals or plants become extinct in your area? G. What exotic species have been introduced to your area that may have transformed the food chain? H. Provide three examples of how the aquatic biome affects the daily life of humans. www.HOLscience.com 225 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome Exercise 2: Food Web and Owl Pellet Dissection Data Table 5: Record of bones in owl pellet. Mole Skull Lower Jaw Scapula Forelimb Hindlimb Pelvis Rib 0 Rodent 1 (The skull is from a rat) 0 0 0 3 1 2 2 0 1 4 3 2 2 0 0 2 3 4 3 Shrew Questions for Exercise 2 A. Assuming an owl produces one to three pellets per day, what is your estimate of the annual food consumption of one owl based upon the results of dissecting this pellet? For example, if you find three mice and one mole in an owl pellet, that means four animals were consumed in one day if one pellet is regurgitated. If three pellets are regurgitated and there is an average of four animals/pellet, that is approximately 12 animals consumed in one day. Use this range to estimate the number of animals consumed in one year. B. How accurately do you think the content of owl pellets reflects the proportion and abundance of the animals in the area where this pellet was collected? C. Draw a diagram of a food web using information derived from the animals dissected in the pellet. Assume that the owl is positioned at the highest trophic (feeding) level. Make your diagram as comprehensive as possible. Use dotted lines to indicate uncertain relationships. www.HOLscience.com 226 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. Experiment The Macrobiome D. Why might seeds and other plant material be found in owl pellets? E. Describe how you would build a self-contained, aquatic micro-ecosystem. The system would be sealed off from the outside world, except for light. What are the organisms that would be necessary and why? You must have at least two trophic levels represented, but more are probably necessary. Diagram the food web that would exist in your microcosm. Laboratory Summary What have you learned from doing this laboratory that you did not know before you began it? www.HOLscience.com 227 ©Hands-On Labs, Inc. ...
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