User:Ashlee Forbes/Notebook/0701 - T5 - Dirt Collection & Survey

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Surveying Life at American University 7/1/2014

The purpose of the experiment detailed herein was to observe and survey the biological life on the campus of American University in Washington, DC. This entry specifically addresses a 20' x 20' transect: the Certified Wildlife Area in front of Hughs Hall.

Surveying Life at American University 7/1/2014

The purpose of the experiment detailed herein was to observe and survey the biological life on the campus of American University in Washington, DC. This entry specifically addresses a 20' x 20' transect: the Certified Wildlife Area in front of Hughs Hall. Because the site is certified as a wildlife area, the expectation here is to have a wide variety of biotic lifeforms. The hypothesis for the purposes of this experiment will be as follows: If the transect is observed and sampled, then a wide variety of biotic life will be observed.

Materials and Methods The nature of this experiment being observation-based, the only materials needed and used were the eyes of the experimenters, a camera, and paper and pencil to record observations. The transect was observed, and topography as well as biotic and abiotic forms were recorded.

Data and Observations The observed transect was a 20’ x 20’ certified wildlife area in front of Hughs Hall on the campus of American University. A variety of plant forms were observed, among them trees, shrubs, ground moss, and flowering plants.

The site is bounded by two large oak trees, with two smaller, woody trees (possibly crepe myrtle) in the center. The majority of the ground cover is provided by day lilies (mondo grass) and ground moss. Hosta and an unidentified plant with feathery flowers (Figure 1) were observed as the low shrubs. Ground cover was about 80% of the vegetation observed.

Ashlee Forbes - IMAG0592.jpg Figure 1: Unidentified plant with flowers like feathers.

The site (Figure 2) has a gently sloping topography, providing very good drainage for the area, so the soil was dry at time of observation. No animal species were observed in the site, but insects in the form of ants were present throughout the site. The transect is well shaded, owing to the spread of the oak trees on the site. This means the area is largely cool and receives medium levels of dappled light. Abiotic components of the site included stone slabs, placed as walking stones, and a garden bench.

Ashlee Forbes - Transect Aerial.jpg Figure 2: Aerial drawing of transect.

Conclusions and Future Directions The observations taken at the transect site supported the original hypothesis. A wide variety of biotic life was observed. Animal life was notably absent from the transect, but many plant forms were in evidence. A more in-depth look at this transect, including culturing bacteria taken from soil and vegetation would be a logical follow-up if more information is desired.