Terrestriall Lab Report

Terrestriall Lab Report - Holden Harris Page 1 Aspects of...

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Holden Harris Page 1 Aspects of Terrestrial Ecosystem Structure and Function Abstract The purpose of this assessment was to measure and evaluate the structure and function of several terrestrial ecosystems. The study of ecosystem structure assessed plant community composition by measuring and comparing the species diversity, the patterns in tree size and density, and the relative dominance of different species in a community. The evaluation of ecosystem structure focused on assessing plant community composition in two proximate ecosystems. Each ecosystem was divided into sublots and in each subplot the height of the tallest tree was measured, as well as DBH and species for every tree. Statistical analyses showed the two environments were significantly different in basal area per plot (p = 0.005), basal area per tree (p = 0.045), and canopy height (p = 0.003). Regression analysis showed a strongly negative correlation between average basal area per tree and the number of trees per plot (slope = - 0.0072, R 2 = 0.36), and positively correlation between average basal area per tree and canopy height (slope = 0.0013, R 2 = 0.15). Evaluation of ecosystem function focused on assessing carbon flux via soil respiration. Comparing the CO 2 of differing ecosystems is gives insight into the causes rising global carbon dioxide concentrations. CO 2 respiration was measured for forest, field and lawn ecosystems. Biomass for the lawn and field sites were determined by cutting and weighing organic matter, and for the forest it was determined by measuring diameter of breast height (DBH) for trees and using allometric equations. The mean biomass in (ton C/ha) for the forest, field and lawn was 2920.34, 6.23, and 0.61 respectively, and were all significantly different. The CO 2 flux for the sites were less extreme but significantly different. The turnover times for the different
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Holden Harris Page 2 ecosystems were roughly proportional to the sites’ biomasses and were 196.37, 1.18, and 0.07 years respectively for the forest, field and lawn ecosystems. Analysis of the turnover time for the ecosystems helps explain the effects of deforestation on rising atmospheric CO 2 concentrations. Introduction The evaluation of ecosystem structure focused on assessing the plant community composition of two ecosystems. The two sites, termed hammock and sandhill, were separated by a man-made path that was only several meters wide. Despite this proximity, the ecosystems were visibly quite different, with the hammock having denser foliage and taller trees. The field studies performed in the two sites assessed the respective community compositions quantitatively. This was determined by describing and comparing the species diversity, the patterns in tree size and density, and the relative dominance of different species in a community. Species diversity was determined by figuring both species richness, ie. the number of species included in the community, and the relative abundance of each of those species. The measures of diversity and
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Terrestriall Lab Report - Holden Harris Page 1 Aspects of...

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