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Junior Cert Science - Biology - Habitat Study

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Steps involved in a habitat study
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make a simple map of the habitat to illustrate the main features of the area e.g. pond, trees, paths, ditches etc; record the environmental factors affecting the habitat e.g. the weather and soil factors; make a list of all the types of plants and animals present; estimate the numbers of plants and animals in the habitat; analyse the information collected + draw graphs and diagrams to illustrate the data.
Image: Steps involved in a habitat study
soil factors = pH, mineral holding capacity, humus and moisture content. The type of soil present will determine the type of plant and animal life in the habitat. Weather factors = these include light intensity, rainfall, temperature, wind and humidity. Physical factors = topography i.e. whether the ground is flat or on a slope and whether it is sheltered or exposed; aspect i.e. whether the habitat faces north, south, east or west; altitude i.e. height above sea level. Biotic factors = living factors i.e. those caused by competition between plants and animals in the habitat
Image: Environmental factors that affect life in a habitat
type of trap used to collect animals that walk along the surface of the ground. It consists of a jar sunk into the ground with its mouth level with the surface of the soil. Some bait such as meat, fruit or a preserving liquid can be placed in the bottom of the jar. A cover, supported by small stones, is placed on top of the jar. The trap is set up and left for 8-12 hours. The animals which fall into the jar are unable to escape and can be identified later.
Image: Pitfall trap
throw the quadrat at random (usually over the shoulder); record the names of the types of plants present in the quadrat. The actual numbers of plants does not matter; throw the quadrat again at random and record the plant types; the quadrat fram should be thrown about 20 times in all and the plants recorded each time; add up the number of times each plant has occurred and multiply the total by 5. This gives the percentage frequency (20 x 5 = 100) for the plant in the habitat. A bar chart of the frequency of plants can then be drawn. This makes your figures easier to understand. It also makes it simpler to compare with the vegetation from other habitats.
Image: How to use a quadrat

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