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Plan

Dependent variable:
- Abundance of birdsfoot trefoil
Independent variable:
- Severity of trampling
Variables that may affect the dependent variable specified above:
- Time of day
- Soil temperature
- Air temperature
- Humidity
- Soil depth
The location will stay constant throughout. This will be at Burfurd Spur, and
within a minimal time period if possible.
The equipment I will be using is as follows:
- Quadrat [100 Square]
- Tape Measure [30m]
- Soil Probe
- Hygro-thermometer
- Soil Pins [x3]
- Elastic Band
- Hand Lens
- Meter Rulers [x1]
- Thin Tube [Slightly wider than a soil pin]
- Stop Watch
- Elastic band
The process of collecting data will be as follows:
1. Using a tape measure, mark out a 15m transect. Elevate the transect by
attaching the ends of the
tape measure to 20cm above ground using soil pins, 20cm should be tall high
enough to prevent
uneven ground from affecting the transect.
2. Place a 100-square-quadrat so that the left edge is aligned with the 0m mark
on the measuring
tape.
3. Place hygrothermometer in the bottom right square and stick the soil probe in
the top right hand
corner of the top tight hand subsquare and then time 45 seconds using the
stopwatch and record
the air humidity, air temperature and soil temperature. Then measure the soil
depth using the soil
pin. In order to prevent the soil pin from bending when being pushed into the
soil and
comprimising results use the thin tube and to ensure accuracy, use the elastic
band as a marker.
This will ensure all variables have been taken into account. If these aspects
seem to have a

dramatic affect, this can be tested and then changed to make the experiment
more reliable.
4. Using point sampling measure the % frequency of Birdsfoot trefoil by counting
the number of
squares where Birdsfoot trefoil is touched when a sharp object is placed in
the top right of every
square. A 100 square quadrat should give enough detail and accuracy which
is why it was
chosen.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 at 1m, 2m, 3m, 4m, 5m, 6m, 7m, 8m, 9m, 10m, 11m, 12m,
13m, 14m and 15m.;
6. Use Spearmans Rank Coefficient Correlation to measure findings. It will be
used to test my null
to a 5% significance level.
Risk assessment
Chalkland areas are not without safety risks. These risks can be avoided or
minimized if the appropriate precautions are taken.
Risk
Sharp soil pin causing
harm
Sun stroke
Crossing the road
Stinging plants thistle
Hay fever
Steep hill could fall

Steps taken to minimize risk


Carry in bag rather than in hand, be careful when
handling
Drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen
Stop, look, listen
Look, be aware and observant
Take appropriate medication and wear clothing that
covers all lower body skin
Watch where you walk and wear sensible walking
shoes.

Risk Assessment Table


Hazards
identified

Worst
case
outcome
Minor
injury
(1)

Probabili
ty
Injur
y
(2)

Sharp soil
pin
causing
harm
Sun stroke
Crossing
the road
Stinging
plants
Hay fever
Steep hill
could fall

Majo
r
injur
y
(3)

Crippling
injury
(4)

Fatalit
y

Very
rarely

Rarely

Infrequentl
y

Sometime
s

Ofte
n

(5)

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

/
/

Risk
ratin
g

5
/

6
/

As the highest risk is only 8 out of a possible 25, the experiment is determined
safe enough to continue.
Trial Phrase

8
6

I conducted a trial phase to collect preliminary results in order to ensure that the
area chosen is abundant enough to measure percentage frequency of birdsfoot
trefoil, which sampling technique is best to measure abundancy and how many
soil depths have to be recorded to get a sufficient mean.
Using ACFORN as a means for checking the area was abundant enough to carry
out the experiment, I concluded that of the three sites I tested (site 1 near the
bottom of the hill, site 2 about half-way up the hill and site 3 near the top of the
hill) I concluded that site 2 was the most abundant with Birdsfoot trefoil and so
the place I should carry out the experiment.
After collecting a running mean from three quadrats along the transect set at site
2 (one at 0m, one at 7.5m and the other at 15m) I realised that the means
seemed to even out after 9 soil depth measures.
I noticed that there was often other vegetation in the way of the quadrat I used
to measure the abundance of birdsfoot trefoil which made counting every plant
near impossible. This meant that I would have to use a different sampling
technique to measure the abundancy. So I then moved to an area where there
was less vegetation closer to the path and tested various methods
estimating percentage coverage, measuring percentage frequency using a 25square-grid quadrat, measuring percentage frequency using a 100-squar-grid
quadrat and using point sampling and comparing the results to the actual
abundance of the plant. By doing this I discovered that using point sampling was
the most accurate sampling technique.
Whilst at the site I discovered that whilst measuring the soil depth, the soil pin
often bent and that I needed some sort of marker in order to mark the point
where the soil pin met the top of the ground when inserted into the ground.
Summary of change in method
- Use a pen tube and an elastic band