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An investigation into the

relationship of the volume rock


pools and the diameter of
Anemonia viridis (snakelock
anemones)
This investigation is done to see whether there is a relationship between the diameter of
Anemonia viridis and the diameter of rock pools.
For this my research question is “What is the Correlation between the volume of
rock pools, using a ruler, and the diameter, using Vernier calipers, of the Anemonia viridis
on the upper and middle shore (3.5m-4.0m above chart datum) on the Rocky Shore (grid
reference SM 819 050)
in Dale Fort”.
Prediction:
The larger volume of water in the larger rock pools allows for less intra and inter specific
competition. This is because there is more space in which the Anemonia viridis could spread.
Fewer competition between the Anemonia viridis means that more space is acquirable, each
of the anemones can grow to certain size before the space is too little. Too little space could
mean that sunlight will become unavailable for some snakelock anemones. Sunlight is
important because the Anemonia viridis uses photosynthesis to make energy. With no or
very little sunlight reaching the snakelock anemone, this process is not possible.
Furthermore, in larger rock pools there will be less competition between the snakelock and
other species which can be found in rock pools. All in all, a smaller rock pool also means less
abiotic factors such as nutrients. Less nutrients means that there will be fewer species and
smaller in size as they are less abundant. A larger rock pool also means that there is less
chance of desiccation. Desiccation is the drying out of rock pools which affects the upper and
middle shore the most as it is not reached by the high tides as often and therefore they have
no sufficient supply of water, meaning that they will dry out over time, killing the ecosystem
which developed within it. As I have done my research on the middle shore, it is a variable
that I am controlling to ensure a valid investigation. If the rock pool is bigger (in volume of
water) it would mean that it takes longer for it to dry out, and when located on the middle
shore there is no constant supply of water to fill the rock pools again. When the rock pool is
larger more time is needed for it to fully dry out. However, rock pool can’t be too big. Snake
lock anemones are only found in shallow water and rock pools as “they require high intensity
of light levels for the zooxanthellae symbiotic algae in it tissue to get power and energy” 1

From this I have composed both my Null Hypothesis and my Alternative Hypothesis:
- Null Hypothesis: There is no significant statistical correlation between the volume of
rock pools and the diameter snakelock anemones.

1 All the sea, Snakelock Anemones, 29th of July. http://www.allthesea.com/Sea-Anemone-


Snakelock-Anemone.html
- Alternative Hypothesis: There is no significant statistical correlation between the
volume of rock pools and the diameter of snakelock anemones.

Variables:

Type of Variable What is the Measurement Purpose


Variable?

Independent The volume of Using a 30cm ( ± 0.005 cm ) ruler and a 1m ( How does the
rock pools ± 0.500 cm ) ruler I measured the Length, volume of the
Width and Depth of the rock pools. The Rock rock pools
pools had a similar 3D shape as a Pyramid. affect the
Therefore, I made the assumption that they all diameter (size)
had a pyramidal shape. I then used the of the
equation Anemonia
viridis?
( Length ofbase ×Width of base)× Height
3
Where Length of base is the Length of the rock
pool, Width of Base is the width of the rock
pool and the Height is the depth in the rock
pool.
However, with this assumption there will be
significant errors in the accuracy of the
measured volume.

Dependent The Diameter of For this I will use a Vernier Calipers which uses
Anemonia cm ( ± 0.005 cm¿ . If there is more than one
viridis Anemonia viridis (Snakelock Anemone), I will
only measure the largest anemone.
I had a few variables I had to control as I was in an environment in which the habitat could
quickly change when you move a long it. Therefore, I had to ensure that I had valid research
making sure that I was only in the same type of habitat. The table below shows the Variables
and how they were controlled:
Type Variable Purpose Method of
Measurement

Controlled Same Height To ensure that any Using a meter and


correlation in the data optical levels, this is to
found is due to the the keep it between 3.5 m
independent variable. ( ± 0.5 ¿ and 4.0 m (
± 0.5¿ . It gave me a
bit of space to work
within and it was an
area in which I would I
would be safe from the
water but still find
enough rock pools to
do my research
Exposure level (to To ensure that the Doing the data
sunlight, air and salt snake lock anemones collection on the same
water) and other organisms, beach (Rocky shore
found in Castle Beach, grid reference SM 819
have the same 050 ), thus exposure is
adaptations. the constant.
Same Rock type To ensure that it was it I made sure that I only
was in a similar chose rock pools with
biological habitat. In the same rock types.
addition different rock
types might mean
different adaptations
for the anemone, as
it’s foot might have to
attach differently to
the different rocks.
Similar levels of As I am looking at the I have done this by
desiccation volume of the rock being doing my
pools it is important measurements at the
that they have all had same time of day as
a similar time since the well as conducting my
tide had reached them, data collection at the
as the desiccation same height.
might have an impact
on the result.

Method and Materials:


Materials:

Materials Uncertainties
Meter Ruler Precise to 1 cm (± 0.50 cm)
30 cm Ruler Precise to 1 mm (± 0.005 cm)

Tape measure Precise to 1 cm (± 0.500 cm)


Optical level Precise to 1 m ( ± 0.500 m)
Vernier caliper Precise to 1 mm (± 0.005 cm)

Using the materials listed above I went along and did my research which I did as follows:
Methodology:
1) Firstly, I had to determine the height I wanted to work at. I chose 3.5m-4m above
chart datum. To measure the height, I used a meter ruler and and an optical level. My
starting point was from where the current tide was at, which was at 2.5m. Someone
then walked along in a straight line and when their feet appeared to be above Optical
level it meant that their location was 1 meter higher.
2) Once determined the height, I had to measure a band that I would be working in. For
this I used two meter tapes. I rolled them out to 20 meters, from a higher ground at 4
meters to a lower ground at 3.5 meters. I then stayed within the area of the two
meter tapes. I established the area that I would do my research in by attaching a
meter ruler at both ends giving me an area of 20 m2.
3) After working out the height and the band I was to work in, I started measuring the
length, width, depth of the rock pools. For this I used a 1-meter ruler and a 30 cm
ruler. I moved from the higher shore (4m) along a 0.5-meter radius of my tape meter
and measured rock pools which were in this area (stratified sampling as it is nearly
the same shore height). If a rock pool was not fully within this area, I only measured it
if more than 50% of the rock pool were in the area.
4) To measure the diameter of the Anemonia viridis I decided to use the Vernier
Calipers, as I believed that they would give me the most precise measurements. In
addition, they would allow me to reach some Snakelock Anemones which were hard
to get to and still get a very accurate reading. They were accurate to 0.001 cm which
gave me an accurate measurement of their diameter. All rock pools contained more
than one Anemonia virids, thus I chose to measure the 3 biggest looking Anemonia
virids and take the largest value out of those three values.
Hazard Severity Likelihood Risk Score Control Reduced New Risk
1-5 1-5 Measures likelihood score
Slipping 3 1 3 Looking where I 1 2
am stepping
Drowning 5 1 5 Always having 2 3
an eye on the
tide
Falling of 2 2 4 Making sure I 1 3
Rocks am somewhere
where I can’t
lose my
balance
Cutting on 3 3 9 Checking my 2 7
sharp surrounds for
rocks any particular
sharp rocks to
Risk assessment:

In the table below you can see the measurements I took on the day. For the volume I
measured the Depth (in cm), the Width (in cm) and the Length (in cm) of each rock pool.
Site Depth rock pool Width of rock pool Length of rock pool
(in cm) ±0.5 cm (in cm) ±0.5cm (in cm) ±0.5cm
1 2.700 14.000 17.000
2 5.100 88.000 109.000
3 2.700 16.400 27.900
4 4.300 16.200 25.600
5 3.300 15.400 30.200
6 2.400 13.000 16.100
7 1.100 3.700 11.000
8 2.850 6.000 13.000
9 4.700 18.200 27.100
10 1.500 6.900 9.400
11 4.100 28.600 29.000
12 6.000 35.000 158.000
13 3.600 14.100 24.300
14 2.500 13.000 13.400
15 0.900 5.000 7.400
16 3.400 15.200 27.200
17 1.200 5.7000 36.700
18 2.600 14.600 21.400
19 7.100 42.300 134.000
20 8.100 16.700 29.500
As already mentioned, I made the assumption that the shape of all the rock pools were
evenly shaped pyramids. The data I collected allowed me to calculate the volume for the rock
length × width× hight
pools using the following formula: 3 = Volume of a pyramid.
The table below gives the value of the equations for each site, as well as the diameter
of Anemonia viridis found in the rock pool.
Site Volume of rock pools in cm3 Diameter of Anemonia viridis in
( ±0.001cm) cm (±0.001cm)
1 214.200 2.520
2 16.306 4.830
3 411.80 1.810
4 594.400 1.500
5 511.588 2.610
6 167.440 0.890
7 14.9230 0.610
8 74.100 1.705
9 772.711 2.595
10 32.430 1.190
11 11333.513 1.490
12 6636.000 4.005
13 411.156 1.635
14 147.400 0.805
15 33.300 0.460
16 468.565 1.440
17 83.676 1.110
18 270.281 2.220
19 13414.740 2.695
20 1330.155 2.290
Using this data, I made a scatter graph to get some visible idea of how my data might look.
6

0
0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 16,000

From the scatter graph alone I cannot prove my hypothesis however it gives me some insight.
I can tell that I will not have perfect correlation going on. So to prove my hypothesis, I have to
calculate how much the two actually correlate to each other. I did this using the Pearson
Correlation Coefficient (r). “The Pearson correlation coefficient is used to measure the
strength of a liner association between two variables” 2. The values obtained from this
coefficient can range from +1 to -1.
To calculate this, I have made a table from which I will use the data, and put it into
the equation for the Pearson Correlation Coefficient.

Number
of sites Variable 1 Rank 1 Variable 2 Rank2 Difference Difference squared
1 214.20 13 2.520 7 6 36
2 16.306 15 4.830 1 14 196
3 411.80 10 1.810 9 1 1
4 594.400 7 1.500 12 -5 25
5 511.588 8 2.610 5 3 9
6 167.440 14 0.890 17 -3 9
7 14.923 20 0.610 19 1 1

2 “Social Science Statistics “, Pearson Correlation Calculator. 4th of September 2016


http://www.socscistatistics.com/tests/pearson/
8 74.100 17 1.705 10 7 49
9 772.711 6 2.595 6 0 0
10 32.430 19 1.190 15 4 16
11 11333.513 3 1.490 13 -10 100
12 6636.000 2 4.005 2 0 0
13 411.156 11 1.635 11 0 0
14 147.400 16 0.805 18 -2 4
15 33.300 18 0.460 20 -2 4
16 468.565 9 1.440 14 -5 25
17 83.676 5 1.110 16 -11 121
18 270.281 12 2.220 8 4 16
19 13414.740 1 2.695 4 -3 9
20 1330.155 4 2.290 3 1 1
Total 622

As you can see I have ranked the values in the table according to the size of the number.
Thus, the largest numbers for Variable 1 (Volume of rock pools in cm 3) has a rank of 1, and
the largest number for Variable 2 (Diameter of Anemonia Viridis in cm) is also ranked 1. Then
I calculated the difference between the two, so for Site 11 I subtracted the rank of variable 2
from the rank of Variable 1 (3-13=-10). This value is the squared to get rid of any negative
values. The difference squared values are then added up to give a value.
To calculate the r value for the Pearson correlation coefficient you then use the
following formula:
-D2 is the difference
(6 Σ D2)
1− 3 squared
n −n - n is the number of
sites
If we add the data into the equation, we get:
6 ×622
1-( 20 3−20
¿ which equals to 0.4676 (correct to 4
s.f.)
The result above by itself is not of use to determine any statistical significant correlation
between the two variables. For this we use the Pearson’s correlation significance table.
Firstly, the degrees of freedom have to be calculated. Degrees of freedom refer to the the
number of results within a set of data that are free to vary. For a correlation the equation to
calculate the degrees of freedom is Degrees of Freedom=n−2 , where n is the number of
pairs or sites in the case of my investigation. The degrees of freedom for this investigation are
18.
Degrees of Freedom 0.1 0.05 0.01

The table above gives the Critical Values for the Pearson Correlation. We know that the
Degrees of freedom are 18. If my results can’t exceed the 95% confidence interval, I must
accept the null hypothesis. If it does exceed the 95% confidence interval, I can accept my
alternate hypothesis. The degree of confidence for this investment will be 0.468. This is very
close to my result, and assuming the next digit from the table is 0 then my results are lower
than the given number. This means I have not exceeded the 95% confidence and must
therefore accept the null hypothesis.

Conclusion:
In conclusion, after calculating my degrees of confidence, I had to accept my null hypothesis.
For me to be able to accept my alternate hypothesis I would have had to have a value above
0.468, however my value was 0.4676. Thus, there is no significant statistical correlation
between the volume of rock pools and the diameter snakelock anemones. There was just not
enough confidence to prove my alternate hypothesis. In addition, my investigation had a lot
of limitations which will be further explained in the evaluation.

Evaluation:
As mentioned, I did this investigation with a lot of limitations. These limitations possibly led
to the results I obtained. The first problem is that I only measure 20 sites, which is not
enough data as just one or two abnormalities could have messed my data up. To improve
this, I must do more measurements so I have sufficient data.
This investigation was done under the assumption that all the rock pools had the
shape of a pyramid. I chose to measure the volume like that because all the rock pools had
such uneven shapes and I did not have the equipment available to calculate an exact volume.
I had to therefore make and assumption regarding the shapes of the rock pools. Most rock
pools had a similar shape to a pyramid and thus I made the assumption that they all had the
shape of a pyramid. This will have led to some errors in my calculations. This assumption will

3 “Statistics Solution”. Table of critical values: Pearson Correlation. Accessed November 7 th


2016. http://www.statisticssolutions.com/table-of-critical-values-pearson-correlation/
have led to a substantial number of errors as it is basically an estimate of the volume and not
accurate at all.
Another problem in the methodology is the use of the optical level. We did not use a
modern optical level but rather something far more simple. This will have also led to errors
as the equipment we used to measure incline was not accurate. These limitations will have
had an impact on my results and have to be taken into account. The significance of this
limitation might not have been as big as the the assumption made for the shape of the rock
pools, but never the less it is something which might have affected my data as I might have
been lower or higher than I expected to be. To improve this, I could have used a more precise
optical level, like the ones used in construction. This would have allowed me to be far more
precise with my location and height.

Bibliography:
Websites:
“All The Sea”, Snakelock Anemones accessed 29th of July 16.
http://www.allthesea.com/Sea-Anemone-Snakelock-Anemone.html

“Social Science Statistics “, Pearson Correlation Calculator. 4th of September 2016


http://www.socscistatistics.com/tests/pearson/

“Wikipedia “, Snakelock Anemones accessed on the 25th of July 2016.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snakelocks_anemone

“Wikipedia”, Competition (biology) accessed 4th of September 2016


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Competition_(biology)

Book:

Andrew Allot and David Mindorff, 2014 Edition Biology Course Companion. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2014.