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Unformatted text preview: WA’AHILA RIDGE TRIP I: VEGETATION SAMPLING Lab 5 5-1 Reminder ! • 1 LITER OF WATER! • Clothes that can get dirty • Closed toe shoes • Hat & Sunscreen I. INTRODUCTION Today, we will make a field trip to Wa’ahila Ridge, which in 1997 was listed as one of the Top 11 most endangered places in the US – National Trust for Historic Preservation [http://www.msnbc.com/onair/nbc/today/endanger ed/default.asp]. We will sample the plant and insect populations on the ridge in order to determine their density, % cover, and dispersion. We will also be measuring key physical variables such as temperature, soil depth, and rainfall. The data you collect this week will be used in Labs 8 and 9. Be Prepared Wa’ahila Ridge can be extremely hot. Although the temperature rarely reaches 90 ° F, the strong sun reflecting off rocky surfaces can sometimes make it feel greater than 100 ° F! You need to come prepared for climbing in hot, dry conditions. It is recommended to wear a hat, hiking shoes, and lightweight, durable clothing. Wear pants and a shirt to avoid being scratched by plants and bring sunscreen. YOU MUST BRING WATER . Make sure that you eat before hiking or bring food with you. Please inform your TA immediately if you feel sick or are injured during our trip. Your TA will be carrying a first aid kit. Coming prepared for hiking will make your experience more enjoyable. Vegetation On Wa’ahila Ridge The vegetation on Wa‘ahila Ridge is not uniform. In general, you will see that the habitat is composed mainly of grasses interspersed with cactoids, shrubs, and small trees. Some of the shrubs are thorny, so be careful! If you look closely, you will see broad-leaved herbs among the grass. As you travel up the ridge, you will see more woody plants, and the grass species change. If you go all the way to the top, the habitat is mostly small trees – a sparse forest. The majority of plant species you find on Wa‘ahila Ridge are aliens (non-native invaders), introduced from many parts of the world. Alien plants now dominate most lowland habitats in the Hawaiian Islands. Most of the alien grasses are from Africa. One of the few natives you may see is pili grass ( Heteropogon contortus ). Hawaiians traditionally used dried pili grass as a thatching for roofs. A list of the most common plants at each site on Wa‘ahila Ridge can be found on Page 5-9. Plots On Wa’ahila Ridge An initial observation of the ridge suggests that the climate and vegetation vary across the ridge. 20 m x 20 m plots have been established across a range of elevations on Wa’ahila Ridge. Each lab section has been assigned to one of these plots. We will investigate relationships between biotic factors, such as plant and insect species, and abiotic factors, such as temperature, rainfall, and soil depth in the plots. Understanding relationships between organisms and their environments is an important goal of ecology....
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