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Jack Henry, Ryan Flynn, and Vinay Vattikuti

5th Hour AP Environmental Science

Mr. Lee
Funks Grove Report
Biodiversity of Funks Grove Nature Center
This report discusses the question about whether or not Funks Grove is a healthy prairie.
In order to answer to answer this question, we need to first learn a little more about the
destination itself. Funks Grove is a prairie that has been inhabited by people for thousands of
years. It was originally inhabited by Native Americans, who were later forced out by EuropeanAmerican settlers. The land is very diverse, with drainages from the Sangamon River that
creates groves, areas that discourage prairie fires and allow trees to reach maturity. The prairie
received its name after Isaac Funk and Absalom Funk settled Funks grove as a place to use for
cattle raising. Isaac Funk soon had eight children: whose children still own some of the land in
Funks Grove. Now that we know a little about Funks, We need to see if Funks is healthy or not
and to do that we need to see what a healthy prairie looks like. According to Britannica
Encyclopedia, a healthy prairie needs to have a lot of biodiversity or a variation in species..
Healthy prairies should also be able to sustain themselves for a long period of time. Healthy
prairies should also be able to maintain evolutionary and ecological processes. Even though we
know what healthy prairies look like, we need to know whether or not Funks qualifies as a
healthy prairie. Now to answer this question we will measure out a ten by ten meter box in the
prairie and then start recording the variation of species or biodiversity within it. If funks is
healthy then it should have a high level of biodiversity with a large variety of plant life and

animals. It should look diverse in the amount of wildlife that it has, meaning that there will be a
wide variety of different species living in the prairie. Essentially, if Funks has a lot of species
variation in that ten by ten box then we will presume that Funks is a healthy ecosystem as well
as a healthy prairie.

Our group was faced with several possible ways to collect data on biodiversity. The data
on biodiversity, specifically, was the different sorts of wildlife located in the prairie. Prior to
leaving for the trip, we studied the different sorts of plants and animals within the prairie. Our
group became very adept at identifying the wide variety of species present within the prairie.
Biodiversity was what was measured, but we also had to identify other variables that could have
an effect on this. Some of these are cloud cover, temperature, and wind. The cloud cover was
measured through estimation and sharing estimates with other groups; the temperature was
measured through thermometers available on site, and the wind was measured through
observation with the Beaufort Scale. Our group also analyzed evidence of human and animals;
evidence of animals was observed in the forms of waste, bite marks on leaves, and webs, while
evidence of humans was available in the forms of trails and pushed down wildlife. We also kept
a checklist of every kind of species that we saw in the prairie. This provided information about
whether or not every animal that had been recorded in the prairie would be there today. As for
the actual collection of the data, we decided that the best method to collect data would be to take
a sample measurement of the prairie, which would be indicative of the entire prairie. This
sample area was a 10 by 10 meter box just off of a trail into the prairie. After this, we split the
area into a 20 by 20 square in our notebook. The most prevalent plant species in each box were

recorded, along with any animals or insects found. We had acronyms for each species, so
recording the information became much easier. These methods provided the best ways to
efficiently collect data within the prairie.

The data that was collected by our group on the biodiversity of the Funks Grove Nature
Center, shows that this was an unhealthy prairie. The data was shown to be dominated by Indian
Grass, making up 53.75% of the plant life within our quadrant. Taking away from the fact that
our quadrant was just over half Indian Grass, the rest of the plant life that we identified was
fairly evenly distributed, ranging from .25% to 17%. The class data for examination did not
differ much from what we collected. Every group collected data that showed the dominance of
Indian Grass within their own individual quadrant. The rest of their data followed with being
evenly distributed. In order to have a healthy prairie, biodiversity must be high, without the
dominance of one single species. Therefore, with the data we collected, we are able to determine
that this is an unhealthy prairie, due to the fact that Indian Grass dominated the data that we

Sunday October 3rd 2016