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Online ecology two - the distribution of species across a field

This online ecology practical, by SAPS, is designed to give students an opportunity to see how systematic sampling can be used to

  • investigate changes in species richness across a footpath
  • the distribution of species across a footpath

These online exercises are not intended as a substitute for practical field work. They do, however, provide an opportunity to introduce fieldwork sampling ideas and some basic ecological principles in the classroom before going out into the field. The footpath runs through across chalk grassland, a vegetation rich in species. The gridded quadrats are placed along a transect running from the middle of the path into the edge of the untrampled grassland.


1. A diagram of the transect line showing the positions of the quadrats with hotlinks to the quadrats (Follow link to view)

2. Images of eight gridded quadrats supplied as separate images - these are linked from the transect diagram.

3. Identification sheet naming species which occur in the quadrats. No attempt has been made to separate the grass species or the mosses. This obviously affects the results for species richness and should be discussed.

4. A table for recording results.

5. Species richness results

6. Local frequency results for the two plantain species

Curriculum links include ecology, evolution, adaptation


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This resource is a Category One Materials