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MEASURING THE RELATIVE DENSITY OF INVERTEBRATES AND

ASSOCIATED ABIOTIC FACTORS ALONG A LINE TRANSECT


Traps can be used to sample invertebrate populations. Sampling in this way provides an idea of
distribution and abundance, but it does not provide an estimate of absolute density.

MATERIALS
25m string marked at 5m intervals, 6 traps, trowel, soil auger, white sorting tray, white plastic
teaspoon, hand lens, CBL2 interface, cable and Texas Graphic calculator (Ti 83 or Ti 84), humidity
probe, 2 temperature probes, light probe. Key to the Orders of invertebrates.

METHOD
1. Lay out the string marked at 5m intervals to make a transect from an area that lies partly in a
lawn, across the lawn to woodland boundary, then entering into the wood.

2. At every fifth metre place a pitfall trap as follows:
a) Using the soil auger, drill out a core of soil as deep as the trap.
b) Using the trowel, clean out the hole large enough to push in the trap. Then using the soil that
you have just removed, make sure that the top of the trap is level with the soil surface.
c) Set up the trap cover.

3. Using data logging every metre over the 25m measure: the soil temperature and one metre
above the ground measure the air temperature, the light intensity and the relative humidity.
Leave the traps for an interval of 24 hours.

4. After 24 hours, repeat the abiotic measurements and take the traps in one by one. Identify the
insects found using a key as far as Order. Record your data in an organised way. Use a white
sampling tray to separate out the similar looking insects into the different parts of the tray before
identification.

5. Note anything else that may have ended up in your traps.

6. Remove all the traps and wooden sticks. Collect them in a rubbish sack to be disposed of in a
suitable manner. Take in the string and look around to make sure that you have left nothing
behind.

7. Present the results in a suitable way.

8. Discuss any trends that are seen in the distribution and abundance of the different invertebrate
groups and the abiotic factors along the transect.
COLLECTING ABIOTIC DATA ALONG A TRANSECT
In ecology it is important to collect information on the various abiotic factors that will influence the
living organisms being studied.
First you must decide on which factors are the most significant. There is no point in measuring
everything. You may also be limited by the instruments at your disposal.
Materials
Tape measure or string marked in metres
TI Graphing Calculator with DataMate program installed
CBL2 interface

Any of the following probes:
Temperature probe
Light probe
Humidity probe

Starting the DataMate Program and setting up
1. Use the following steps to start the DataMate program on your
calculator:
Press APPS (for TI-73, 82 and 83 press PRGM), then press the
calculator key for the number that precedes DATAMATE. Press
ENTER. An introductory screen will appear, followed by the main
screen.

2. Plug one of the probes into channel CH 1 on the CBL2 interface.

3. Start the DataMate program. Press CLEAR to reset the program.
DataMate will detect the probe and display the current sensor reading.

4. Press 1: SETUP and using the cursor buttons, or (be
patient its a bit sluggish!)
select MODE press ENTER (scroll up to get to the last item on the
menu).

5. In the SELECT MODE menu press 3: EVENTS WITH ENTRY.

6. Press 1: OK to return to the main screen.

Collecting data
1. Set the probe in position for measurement, take care that you are not influencing the
measurement.

2. Select 2: START to begin data collection. Press ENTER to record
your measurement. Then enter the distance (0m at the beginning of the
transect). Press ENTER again.

3. Move to the next position and press ENTER. Then type in the distance
(e.g. 2m). Press ENTER again and you will find the calculator
producing an autoscaled scattergram of the measurements.

4. Continue to take measurements at intervals. They do not have to be regular interval, especially
where there is a significant change in the environment (e.g. passing from shade into sunlight)
CH1: TEMP(C) 10.6



MODE: TIME GRAPH-180
1: SETUP
2: START
3: GRAPH
4: ANALYSE
5: TOOLS
6: QUIT
SELECT MODE
1: LOG DATA
2: TIME GRAPH
3: EVENTS WITH ENTRY
4: SINGLE POINT
5: SELECTED EVENTS
CH1: STAINLESS TEMP(C)
CH2:
CH3:
DIG:
MODE: TIME GRAPH-180


1: OK
2: CALIBRATE
3: ZERO
4: SAVE/LOAD
PRESS [ENTER] TO COLLECT
OR [STO] TO STOP
n: 1
CH1: LIGHT .051
CH2: TEMP(C) 27.8
ENTER VALUE
?

5. You may stop data collection at any time by pressing the STO key. Remember for line
graphs you should have at least 5 data points (10 is even better). When you stop data collection
you well see the complete auto-scaled graph.

6. To store your data, if you are satisfied with it, return to the main screen by pressing ENTER.
Press 5: TOOLS, then select 1: STORE LATEST DATA RUN. This stores the data in lists. In
this case distance in L1 and the abiotic factor (e.g. soil temperature) will be in L2 with a copy
of it in L3.
To check this press 6: QUIT, then ENTER, then STAT and then select 1:EDIT You will see
a spread sheet with your data in it in L1, L2 (and L3).
Collecting data from more than one probe
You may plug up to three probes in channels 1, 2 and 3 (e.g. temperature, humidity and light).
However, you will not see a graph appear as you carry out Events with Entry. Otherwise the
procedure is the same.
At the end to see a graph of data from each channel you will have to select the channel you want.
You may even plot the data of one channel against another. This is especially useful if you want to
see if there is a relationship between the abiotic factors.

MOST IMPORTANT Storing your data in the calculators archive
If you do not do this your data will be lost. The next time you use a spread sheet the data in L1, L2 etc will get
compressed.

Archiving data will remove it from the RAM memory but it will not stop it from being over-written when new data is
recorded. It needs to be renamed.

To rename a list of data (e.g. L1)
1. Select the list to be stored by pressing 2nd then L1 then STO

2. Open the LIST menu by pressing 2nd then LIST and select OPS using the cursor

3. Descend the menu using the cursor to B: L press ENTER and type in a code
name for the list. It must start with a letter so press the green key ALPHA and chose a
letter. Your list name can consist of one letter and four figures (try todays date)

To archi ve or unarchive a list variable (L1) using a Memory Management editor:

This frees up RAM memory so that you can continue recording more data.

1. Press 2nd then MEM to display the MEMORY menu.

2. Select 2:Mem Mgmt/Del... to display the MEMORY MANAGEMENT/DELETE menu.

3. Select 4:List... to display the LIST menu.

4. Press ENTER to archive L1. An asterisk (*) will appear to the left of L1 to indicate it is an archived variable.
To unarchive a variable in this screen, put the cursor next to the archived variable and press ENTER. The asterisk
will disappear.

5. Press 2nd then QUIT to leave the LIST menu.

NAMES OPS MATH
6: cumSum(
7: List(
8: Select(
9: augment(
0: List>matr(
A: Matr>list(
B: L
Section from the spread sheet into which the students down loaded their data from their calculator memory. This section shows the students own data which was
subsequently presented by her in the body of the report along with that of the other students. The spread sheet was made available to all the students.

TRAPS Gp 3
Day 1 Day 2
Distance Soil Temp Air Temp Rel Humidity Light Soil Temp Air Temp Rel Humidity Light
0 22.7955 25.0455 69.1 0.43 22 23.9 61.8 0.911
1 22.6136 24.3953 67.1 0.517 22.2 23.5 60.4 0.583
2 22.5227 24.1163 63.8 0.489 21.1 23.5 60.2 0.646
3 22.3409 23.6429 67.2 1 20.8 23.2 61.7 0.786
4 22.25 23.2619 68 0.832 20.6 23.1 60.2 0.893
5 22.0682 22.4318 72.5 0.729 20.1 23.1 61.3 1
6 22.0682 22.8864 73.6 0.403 20 23.5 62.4 0.9
7 22.1591 22.6136 75.3 0.366 19.8 24 62.4 0.95
8 22.1591 22.4318 75.4 0.34 19.3 24.1 59.1 0.978
9 22.25 22.4318 77 0.382 18.8 23.2 58.6 0.872
10 22.4318 21.9762 76.2 0.564 18.4 23.6 55.8 0.978
11 22.0682 19.9048 76.2 0.346 18.9 23.5 57.7 0.973
12 22.1591 20.186 74.4 0.274 18.9 23.7 59.1 0.971
13 22.4318 19.0476 75.1 0.293 19.2 24.1 58.8 0.825
14 22.25 18.2857 75.9 0.31 19 23.7 58.1 0.565
15 24.2093 17.619 75.3 0.261 19.3 23.6 61.3 0.561
16 22.5227 17.8095 76.2 0.25 19.1 23.5 61.7 0.429
17 22.3409 17.9048 79.1 0.255 18.1 23.5 66.5 0.587
18 22.25 17.619 76.2 0.233 17.9 23.5 62.9 0.756
19 22.3409 17.9048 77 0.234 17.2 23.5 61.2 0.578
20 23.1667 17.4286 76.5 0.251 16.7 23.4 59.3 0.43
21 22.7955 17.5238 76.9 0.652 16.3 23.2 59 0.326
22 22.7955 16.4762 77.2 0.772 17.1 23.1 58.1 0.391
23 22.6136 17.4286 77.8 0.355 16.9 23.2 57.6 0.571
24 22.6136 17.8095 79.3 0.391 16.8 23.1 57.3 0.728
25 22.4318 17.9048 79.3 0.335 16.4 23.3 57.1 0.683