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Investigation 7
Measuring the relative density of invertebrates along a
line transect and associated abiotic factors
In this investigation traps were laid out along a string in 5 m intervals. The string started in the field
and ended in the wood. Several abiotic factors were measured every meter including the humidity,
the soil and air temperature and the light. These were measured again 24 hours later when the
animals from the traps were collected.
(see method sheet)
Sampling invertebrate populations in this systematic way can give an idea of the distribution and
the abundance, however it does not provide an estimate of absolute density.
Observations:
In the field there is only grass and the soil is very hard. When going to the forest there is a height
difference, the forest is a bit higher than the field. From the point on where the trees start the ground
changes as it is softer and leaves or little branches can be found. From there on there is a lot of
shadow as well.
On day 2 the measurements had to be done later as it started to rain and we had to stop. Therefore
the abiotic factors were taken after it had rained, which might have for instance increased the
humidity results compared to day 1.
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Investigation 7
Data group 3: Animals trapped over a 24 hour period along a transect
from a lawn (trap1) into woodland (trap 6)
Order Trap 1 Trap 2 Trap 3 Trap 4 Trap 5 Trap 6
Arachnida
Acarina 2
Araneae 1 3 3 3
Crustacea
Isopoda 2
Insecta
Hymenoptera 4 10
Coleoptera 4 3 4 2 3
Diplopoda 1 2 2
Molluscs 1
Class results: sum of all organisms found in the traps along the transect
line of each group
Order Common names, examples Trap 1 Trap 2 Trap 3 Trap 4 Trap 5 Trap 6
Class Arachnida 2 2 6 3 11 3
Pseudoscorpiones 0 0 0 0 1 0
Opilones harvestman 0 0 1 0 0 0
Acarina mites 0 0 0 0 2 0
Araneae spiders 2 2 5 3 8 3
Class Crustacea 0 0 0 3 1 2
Isopoda woodlice 0 0 0 3 1 2
Class Insecta 50 25 46 25 14 16
Diplura (type of small soil animal) 0 0 0 0 0 0
Protura (type of small soil animal) 0 0 0 0 0 0
Collembolla springtails 0 3 0 0 0 0
Thysanura (type of small soil animal) 0 0 0 0 2 0
Orthoptera grasshoppers & cockroaches 0 0 0 0 0 0
Demaptera earwigs 2 6 4 4 1 0
Psocoptera booklice 0 1 3 0 0 0
Heteroptera 1 0 0 0 0 0
Homoptera "bugs" 0 0 0 0 0 0
Thysanoptera 0 0 0 0 0 1
Lepidoptera butterflies & moths 0 0 0 0 0 0
Diptera true flies including mosquitos 0 0 0 0 0 1
Hymenoptera bees, ants, wasps 42 9 25 12 2 2
Coleoptera beetles 5 6 14 9 9 12
Others 0 1 0 1 2 4
Class Oligochaeta earthworms 0 0 0 0 0 0
Class Nematoda roundworms 0 0 0 0 0 0
Class Diplopoda millipedes 0 0 0 1 2 4
Class Chilopoda centipedes 0 1 0 0 0 0
Atemetra 0 0 0 0 0 0
Molusca 0 0 0 1 0 0
Mitochory 0 0 0 0 1 0
Mite acaria 0 0 0 0 1 0
In general it can be said that the invertebrates found in the first traps, so in the field, were smaller
compared to the ones caught in the forest, there were for example quite big beetles.
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Soil temperature/ C 0,2 C Air temperature/ C 0,2 C
Distance/ m day 1 st. dev. day 2 st. dev. Distance/ m day 1 st. dev. day 2 st. dev.
0 21,76 0,88 25,04 3,10 0 22,16 1,27 23,62 1,28
1 21,72 0,68 25,03 2,28 1 22,00 1,09 23,72 1,11
2 21,51 0,69 24,42 2,22 2 21,92 0,99 23,23 0,95
3 21,14 0,68 23,68 1,58 3 21,73 0,87 23,02 0,77
4 20,68 0,88 22,64 1,64 4 21,64 0,73 22,87 0,67
5 20,28 1,09 21,96 1,70 5 21,46 0,51 22,59 0,85
6 20,11 1,10 21,84 1,81 6 21,53 0,61 22,72 0,70
7 19,87 1,29 21,69 1,74 7 21,38 0,56 22,64 1,15
8 19,85 1,44 21,19 1,95 8 21,36 0,45 22,69 1,19
9 19,65 1,37 21,08 2,12 9 21,41 0,55 22,41 0,95
10 19,52 1,37 20,91 1,96 10 21,36 0,42 22,25 1,19
11 19,29 1,32 20,76 1,94 11 21,08 0,78 22,28 1,23
12 19,11 1,31 20,41 2,08 12 21,11 0,84 22,28 1,45
13 18,73 1,66 20,09 2,07 13 20,94 1,15 22,32 1,60
14 18,42 1,67 19,71 2,10 14 20,74 1,34 22,12 1,77
15 18,11 2,48 19,67 2,05 15 21,25 2,70 22,02 1,84
16 17,88 1,96 19,56 1,98 16 21,11 2,40 21,99 1,84
17 17,97 1,92 18,79 2,33 17 21,01 2,24 22,07 1,67
18 18,04 1,81 18,68 1,90 18 20,90 1,99 22,47 0,81
19 17,97 1,80 18,71 2,02 19 20,86 2,06 22,16 1,40
20 18,07 2,18 18,78 2,15 20 20,77 1,94 22,02 1,68
21 18,14 1,97 19,22 2,04 21 20,73 1,94 22,02 1,51
22 18,12 2,01 19,11 1,98 22 20,64 2,18 21,92 1,67
23 17,52 2,07 18,87 2,21 23 20,80 2,14 21,87 1,73
24 17,87 2,13 18,63 2,21 24 20,94 1,73 21,87 1,71
25 17,90 2,26 18,36 2,33 25 20,94 2,17 21,83 1,62



Relative Humidity/ % 10 % Light/ mW cm
-2
0.01mWcm
Distance/ m day 1 st. dev. day 2 st. dev. Distance/ m day 1 st. dev. day 2 st. dev.
0 67,00 3,73 59,69 11,17 0 0,61 0,21 0,84 0,21
1 64,46 6,00 57,34 9,34 1 0,57 0,17 0,79 0,15
2 64,01 4,98 56,15 8,96 2 0,51 0,17 0,76 0,10
3 64,22 4,79 56,69 8,81 3 0,58 0,24 0,74 0,15
4 64,43 5,66 57,38 8,86 4 0,58 0,20 0,76 0,17
5 64,99 6,76 57,56 8,45 5 0,54 0,17 0,76 0,20
6 65,37 6,45 58,46 9,20 6 0,56 0,23 0,78 0,15
7 65,85 6,58 58,72 9,35 7 0,43 0,18 0,78 0,17
8 65,48 6,73 58,99 9,81 8 0,55 0,22 0,73 0,15
9 65,42 6,73 59,78 10,95 9 0,40 0,22 0,68 0,18
10 65,28 6,46 58,67 11,02 10 0,51 0,20 0,71 0,17
11 65,44 6,72 59,82 11,10 11 0,43 0,21 0,63 0,23
12 65,64 6,68 60,70 11,23 12 0,60 0,29 0,67 0,25
13 65,98 6,62 60,85 11,18 13 0,57 0,25 0,58 0,17
14 66,01 6,83 60,89 10,86 14 0,56 0,21 0,55 0,23
15 65,84 6,53 60,37 9,58 15 0,48 0,29 0,54 0,18
16 66,18 6,42 60,70 9,81 16 0,56 0,28 0,50 0,16
17 66,49 6,96 62,44 10,40 17 0,49 0,18 0,58 0,22
18 66,39 6,96 66,17 8,76 18 0,51 0,23 0,60 0,24
19 66,27 7,37 64,89 8,89 19 0,46 0,29 0,56 0,20
20 65,95 7,29 63,88 6,91 20 0,43 0,17 0,60 0,29
21 66,32 6,79 66,07 6,58 21 0,47 0,20 0,55 0,25
22 66,83 6,82 64,46 6,65 22 0,54 0,26 0,55 0,27
23 67,08 6,72 63,86 7,70 23 0,39 0,14 0,63 0,23
24 66,67 7,16 65,15 6,90 24 0,55 0,25 0,69 0,11
25 66,67 7,16 63,23 8,49 25 0,58 0,30 0,56 0,10
Averages of all abiotic factors of day on 1 and day 2 from the groups
measured every m along a transect line
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Investigation 7
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For some measurements there were no results or the numbers seemed to be a bit strange (all
marked in red), which is why I did not use these results. I considered these numbers were
probably wrong so the other calculations such as the averages or the standard deviation are
not affected by them as they were not used.
Soil Temperature measured every m along the line transect
on day 1 and 2, error bars representing the standard dev.
15,0
17,0
19,0
21,0
23,0
25,0
27,0
0 5 10 15 20 25
Distance/ m
T
e
m
p
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t
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/

C
Soil Temperature day 1 Soil Temperature day 2
As expected, both the air and the soil temperature decrease on the two days when walking
into the forest, so in the direction of the end of the transect line. The temperatures on day 2
are for both the soil and the air higher than day 1. In later calculations and graphs I used the
averages of the two days of each abiotic factor.
Air Temperature measured every m along the line transect
on day 1 and 2, error bars representing the standard dev.
18,0
20,0
22,0
24,0
0 5 10 15 20 25
Distance/ m
T
e
m
p
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r
a
t
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/

C
Air Temperature day 1 Air Temperature day 2
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Relative Humidity measured every m along the line transect
on day 1 and 2, error bars representing the standard dev.
40,00
50,00
60,00
70,00
80,00
0 5 10 15 20 25
Distance/ m
R
e
l

H
u
m
i
d
i
t
y
/

%
Relative Humidity day 1 Relative Humidity day 2
The humidity seems to increase on day 2 when going closer to the forest whereas on day 1 it
is not so clear. Overall it is still possible to see that it rather increases in the direction of the
forest, which is logical, in a forest the humidity is usually greater than in an open field! The
relative air humidity on day 2 might be lower compared to day 1 because the measurements
were taken after it had rained, which means that the air was not so heavy anymore, not so
humid because the water had already gotten down.
Light measured every m along the line transect on day
1 and 2, error bars representing the standard dev.
0,30
0,50
0,70
0,90
1,10
0 5 10 15 20 25
Distance/ m
L
i
g
h
t
/

m
W
c
m
-

Light day 1 Light day 2


The light on day 2 decreases when going in the direction of the forest. For day 1 it is more
difficult to see a trend, however you can still see that it goes in the same direction and
decreases a bit. The points are more scattered than for the abiotic factors which might be due
to the tact that the amount of light can change very rapidly, if there are clouds moving in front
of the sun for instance. Or sometimes there are patches of light in the forest where there is
shadow of the trees which can change the amount of light a lot.
In general it can be said that each abiotic factor follows a linear trend and changes
proportionally. The measurements of the two days differ but they follow the same trend. Since
the results of the two days are there to give us an idea of the abiotic factors the averages can
be taken.
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It is now possible to look for a correlation between the factors. The light might affect the air
temperature, so I started by looking at their relationship:
Correlation between light and air temperature measured every m
along a line transect, with the trend line and error bars
representing the st. dev.
y = 7,449x + 17,361
19,00
20,00
21,00
22,00
23,00
24,00
25,00
0,45 0,50 0,55 0,60 0,65 0,70 0,75
light/ mW cm-
T
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m
p
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/

C
It is possible to see that there is a correlation between the light and the air temperature. It is a
rather low positive correlation, the points are a bit scattered. The more light, the higher the
temperature.
Correlation between air temperature and rel. humidity measured
every m along a line transect, with the trend line and error bars
representing the st. dev.
y = -1,3482x + 92,108
50,00
55,00
60,00
65,00
70,00
75,00
19,50 20,00 20,50 21,00 21,50 22,00 22,50 23,00 23,50
Air temp/ C
R
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l
.

h
u
m
i
d
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t
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/

%
Now there can be done a correlation between the air temperature and the relative humidity.
However this time it is a negative correlation, namely a high negative correlation as the points
are not very scattered. As expected the humidity decreases when the temperature rises.
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Correlation between air and soil temperature measured every m
along a line transect, with the trend line and error bars
representing the st. dev.
y = 2,3496x - 30,976
14,00
16,00
18,00
20,00
22,00
24,00
26,00
28,00
19,50 20,00 20,50 21,00 21,50 22,00 22,50 23,00
Air temperature/ C
S
o
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t
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m
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/

C
Air temp./ C
0,2 C
Soil temp./
C
0,2 C
Rel.
Humidity/ %
10%
Light/ mW
cm-
0.01mWcm
average
22,9 23,4 63 0,73
22,9 23,4 61 0,68
22,6 23,0 60 0,64
22,4 22,4 61 0,66
22,3 21,7 61 0,67
22,1 21,1 61 0,65
22,2 21,0 62 0,67
22,1 20,8 62 0,61
22,1 20,5 62 0,64
21,9 20,4 63 0,54
21,8 20,2 62 0,61
21,6 20,0 63 0,53
21,6 19,8 63 0,64
21,5 19,4 63 0,58
21,3 19,1 63 0,56
21,4 18,9 63 0,51
21,3 18,7 63 0,53
21,3 18,4 64 0,53
21,5 18,4 66 0,52
21,3 18,3 66 0,48
21,2 18,4 65 0,48
21,1 18,7 66 0,48
21,0 18,6 60 0,51
21,0 18,2 60 0,48
21,2 18,3 66 0,58
19,6 16,9 65 0,53

st. dev. 0,7 1,8 2 0,07
Covariance 1,1 -1 0,04
correlation r 0,9 -0,4 0,75
Finally there is a correlation
between the air temperature and
the soil temperature as well. It
makes sense that the higher the air
temperature, the higher is the soil
temperature. It is a high positive
correlation.
The soil temperature might be the
most important for the
invertebrates as the soil is their
habitat.
The correlation factor was
calculated for each of these 3
correlations.
For the relationship between light
and air temperature r is 0,748
which indicates it is a strong
positive correlation. This shows
the light and the air temperature
are well correlated.
For the air temperature and the
relative humidity the factor r is
0,487. This means that the
correlation between these two
factors is weak negative, the two
factors are related but not as good
as the first two.
For the relationship between the
air and the soil temperature r is
0,908 which indicates it is a
strong correlation, the factors are
well related (which is logical!).
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This is a graph with the light on the x scale and the other three factors plotted against it. It is
again possible to see the trend where both the air and the soil temperature rise with an
increase in light. The humidity however decreases.
Correlation between the light and the rel. Humidity, the air and the soil
temperature measured every m along a line transect and the trend lines
15,00
25,00
35,00
45,00
55,00
65,00
0,45 0,50 0,55 0,60 0,65 0,70 0,75
light/ mW cm-
R
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h
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m
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/

%

a
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T
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C
Air temperature Soil temperature
Rel. humidity Linear (Rel. humidity)
Linear (Soil temperature) Linear (Air temperature)
Number of invertebrates captured every 5m along a line transect
0
10
20
30
40
50
0 5 10 15 20 25
Distance/ m
N
u
m
b
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o
f

i
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v
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t
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b
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s
Arachnida Crustacea Insecta Others
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The results for the Arachnida, Crustacea and the Others follow a rather constant trend whereas
in the Insecta there is an unexpected result for the trap at 5 m. This could be because one
predator fell into the same trap as the Insecta and ate them, resulting in a sudden decrease in
the number.
For the graph I did not use every single group of invertebrates but I calculated the sum of each
class. As the graph shows the classes all increase when going towards the trees except for the
Insecta. This and because the numbers and results for the other classes were so low is why I
added the results of the class Arachnida, Crustacea and the others. The following graph now
clearly shows the two different trends. I chose to look at a correlation between the soil
temperature and the invertebrate groups.
Correlation between the soil temperature and the Insecta
and the sum of the other groups along a line transect
with the trend lines
0
10
20
30
40
50
17,5 18,5 19,5 20,5 21,5
Soil Temperature/ C
N
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b
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o
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i
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t
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sum Insecta Linear (Insecta) Linear (sum)
With an increase in soil temperature there is an increase in Insecta but a decrease in the other
classes. When going into the forest the temperature falls, therefore the number of Insecta
decreases but the number of other invertebrates rises.
As a factor that influences which group can be found along the trend line the soil temperature
can be named. But since the soil temperature depends on other factors the other abiotic factors
should be considered as well.
Light also plays a role as it might influence the air temperature (which affects the soil
temperature) but it also gives the animals a better possibility to hide. This could be a reason
why the Arachnida, Crustacea and the Others increase in the forest. Moreover as was
observed the soil is less hard and there are leaves and branches lying around which provides
other hiding possibilities. It is a better habitat for bigger animals, and as it was observed the
organisms caught were indeed bigger compared to the ones in the field. This could provide a
reason why the Arachnida, Crustacea and the Others increase. With an increase in humidity, a
decrease in light, air and soil temperature the number of these three classes rises.
The Insecta decrease when going into the forest due to a decrease in soil and air temperature
and the increase in relative humidity might affect them as well. However it might also be that
the number of Insecta decreases because in the forest there are more predators. The number of
invertebrates from the other classes increases and there might be predators amongst them
which eat the Insecta. An example could be the spiders of the Arachnida which could eat the
ants from the class Insecta.
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This method has been effective for providing us with an idea of how the different invertebrate
groups are distributed along the line transect.
There are some points about this method that can be criticised, as there were several sources
of error:
Sources of error:
Predators that fall into the traps with other invertebrates might eat the other
animals falsifying the results.
Most of the animals are so small that they can be overseen very easily in the
traps. It is also hard to identify them correctly.
Some results for the abiotic factors might be less accurate because they were
typed in by hand due to a problem with the calculator. (results were written
down on a paper before)
The weather changes constantly and is never the same, it is difficult to get
results that are an average of the whole time. On alone the two days when the
measurements were taken the weather differed a lot, on one day the sun was
shining a lot and the following day it rained.
Group 3 made a mistake concerning the transect line. It is not very clear how
that happened, all I know is that at the beginning the string was tied around a
stick using too much of it and this might have changed the marks with the m
on the string. However this is not the biggest mistake as this happened to other
groups as well and it can be corrected easily. What happened then is that the
traps were not digged into the earth every 5 m but something got messed up. It
started at 0 (so far so good!) but then the next trap was at 3 and the following
7,5 The group tried to fix the problem by changing the first traps. These
then started a bit before the other groups. I did not understand what exactly had
gotten wrong but there was clearly a mistake made. This consequently might
have affected the results.
Nevertheless there are of course good things to which attention was paid. The light probe for
instance was attached to the ruler at 20 cm to ensure it was measured from the same height
each time. Attention was also paid to the fact not to stand in the way of the light and to make
a shadow, this would have changed the results. It would have been better to measure the
abiotic factors again on other days
To improve there should be less mistakes made with the calculator because losing the data
obviously makes the results less accurate (happened to group 3). If there was a next time it
would be necessary to be more careful with setting out the transect line and counting the right
amount of m between each trap!
()
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