E x e r c i s e i o r g a n i z i n g a n d i d e n t

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E X E R C I S E I : O R G A N I Z I N G A N D I D E N T I F Y I N G T H E S P E C I M E N S 1. Take your specimens from the plant press and label them according to your field notes. 2. In your lab notebook, write down anything you notice as your sort the specimens. For example, perhaps some leaves are greener or larger than others. Write the observations below. 3. Use the field guides provided to identify each specimen. Does everyone know how to use a plant identification key? What features enable you to successfully identify a specimen?
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Science Research Mentoring Program STATISTICS © 2013 American Museum of Natural History. All Rights Reserved. 13 WORKSHEET: Morphometrics and Basic Statistics (continued) W H A T I S M O R P H O M E T R I C S ? Morphometrics is the quantitative characterization, analysis, and comparison of biological form (shape and size). H O W D O S C I E N T I S T S U S E M O R P H O M E T R I C S ? By measuring the parts of an organism, living or extinct, scientists gain insight into the basics of form and function. Morphometrics is a useful tool for extracting information about biological organisms and biological processes. Statistics is an important component of morphometric analyses. The data generated can be analyzed for shape variables and morphological differences within a population(s), and used to understand development and in evolutionary relationships (systematics, phylogenetics). 1. Leaves and flowers can be measured in many different ways. Decide what measurements you will take for each specimen. The diagram below shows the different parts of leaves and flowers. 2. Start measuring in mm the parts of your specimens. E X E R C I S E I I : O R G A N I Z I N G A D A T A T A B L E 1. Make a raw data table in your notebook for the measurements you are going to take. Use a ruler. 2. Measure each specimen and enter the number into your data table. What units of measure are you going use? How are you going to standardize the measurements taken from each leaf? For example, is the length the longest part of the leaf? Will the measurement include the stem? 3. Do you see any relationship in the data you have just collected? Probably not. Why? Because you haven’t organized it yet. Statistics enables scientists to analyze the data more thoroughly so that relationships become visible.
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Science Research Mentoring Program STATISTICS © 2013 American Museum of Natural History. All Rights Reserved. 14 WORKSHEET: Morphometrics and Basic Statistics (continued) E X E R C I S E I I I : A N A L Y Z I N G T H E D A T A Statistical analysis takes the guessing out of data interpretation. It can determine the degree of variability in the numbers, and whether the differences you observed are real. Many different kinds of statistical analyses are available to a scientist. Let’s investigate some basic statistics used by scientists: Mean, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, and Variance.
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