As Year 12 Biology students we went on a trip to Anji, Zhejiang, where we applied our knowledge of Ecology in river studies and quadrat sampling on Mt Longwanshan.
During the duration of our trip we stayed at a small hotel close to the river where we could easily set up traps to capture insects to achieve numbers of biodiversity by marking the insects on the first day and seeing if we were able to recapture them on other days. Throughout these sampling skills, we aimed to learn the biodiversity and environmental quality of Mt Longwangshan. Testing out the environmental quality of water and the soil allowed us to compare the different variables that affect the local environment. We were also able to learn how human impact affects the ecosystem.
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We went to the river and forest to test the water quality, macro invertebrates and quadrate sampling. For the water sampling, we have 4 kits: a black kit that could measure pH level, Chlorine levels and water purity etc. While the other 3 boxes had specific elements or compounds which they would test for such as oxygen, phosphorus and nitrate. We would follow the instructions given on the sheet of paper and collect water sample and test for these elements to see if it is present in the river water and at the different sites and also it’s concentration in the river water.
The Macro invertebrates study, we needed to choose one abiotic factor (non-living factor) and see how as this factor changes how it affects the amount of organisms present. We did kick sampling to find out how many organisms were present in the river at each of the 10 sites we went to. Then we would count the different types of organisms present and compare it to the abiotic factor. Macro invertebrates living in the stream is collected for observation using kick sampling. This is a common sampling method for streams and rivers. The soil in the water is kicked for about 5-7 times and samples are collected using a standard 1 mm mesh pond net. Then, collected invertebrates are kept in a bucket that is containing appropriate amount of stream water for them to stay alive during investigation. After these, the number and the types of living organism are counted.
For the quadrate sampling, we measured the percentage cover of different organisms. We all went to one site and started laying out a 20m and 19m quadrat with two measuring tapes. This therefore created a large area to allow us to randomly sample with our quadrats. We chose random numbers at the back of our booklet and started finding the area to place our quadrat. Then we recorded down on a table how many types of different plants and how many of them, as a percentage, were on our quadrat. This we repeated for 10 times in our first site which was on managed land. Afterwards we went to a new site with non-managed land and repeated the same thing. We also did soil sampling, to test the pH level, phosphorus level, potassium and nitrate level. In the evenings we analysed and processed our data by carrying out different statistical tests.
We really enjoyed being outdoors, the fresh air, the food, spending time with each other and the hotel pet dog.
Year 12 IB Biologists
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