Ecology Fieldwork

Practical fieldwork has always been an important part of the study of Environmental Systems. The course includes a practical fieldwork subtopic 2.5 which specifies the skills that students should develop and be able to apply.

Ecological Skills

Students should be able to describe how to do these skills but also to evaluate them. These skills may be examined but could also be useful for the Independent Investigation

  • Naming and locating the site of study

  • Using and describing the tools to identify organisms

  • Sampling strategies for abiotic and biotic factors in a system

  • Understanding the need for sufficient data - repeatability

  • Measuring biomass and energy by finding the dry mass, using controlled combustion and extrapolation

  • methods for estimating abundance of non-motile organisms

    • actual counts using quadrats

    • measuring population density

    • percentage cover

    • percentage frequency

  • Direct and indirect measure of abundance of motile organisms

    • Direct counts e.g. using aerial photographs and sampling direct counts e.g. bird song along a transect

    • Indirect methods include capture-mark-recapture with use of Lincoln Index

  • Species richness estimation

  • Species diversity using the Simpson Diversity Index

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