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Posted on: April 30th 2013

Biology Field Trip

A group of A2 biology students from David Game College visited Juniper Hall Field Studies Centre in Dorking, Surrey for two days  - 26th -28th April. Students gained valuable experience in devising and planning experiments that could be conducted in the field as part of their Unit 6 coursework.  The students were led and taught on-site by John Dalton and Dr Peter Stanley of the biology department of David Game College.

Data was gathered from a number of interesting experiments, including investigating:

  •  if a correlation exists between stem length and incident light for Mercurialis perennis (dog’s mercury)
  • If a correlation exists between holly (IIex) leaf width and the amount of incident light
  • density of Plantago lanceolata (ribwort plantain) in mown and un mown grass
  • the relationship between river flow rate and macro-invertebrate density
  • the affects of aspect on moss distribution on trees
  • Species richness and canopy cover

Students had to:

  • Select an experiment, develop, plan and conduct a trail to see if the preliminary methodology had to be revised
  • Understand which statistical test would be most appropriate and why
  • Understand how to use equipment and apply sampling techniques
  • Conduct the experiment and gather raw data
  • Analyse the data (back in the lab) and complete statistical analysis
  • Research into their area of study to find appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Understand the basic structure of a scientific paper and how to reference source

During their visit, student became familiar with the following sampling techniques and specific ecological equipment:

  • Kick sampling in the river Mole
  • Measuring flow rate using a flow meter (and calculating the flow rate)
  • Quadrat sampling
  • Use of digital light metres
  • Use of pH and oxygen metres
  • Marking organisms for capture/recapture method and applying the Lincoln Index

Students gained useful insights into how to select and work through various statistical tests through a series of mini-lectures and became familiar applying the following tests:

  • Spearman rank correlation coefficient
  • Mann- Whitney U test
  • t- Test (matched)
  • Z-Test

Some of the students will also try lab-based work for their Unit 6 work. Some students are investigating the effects of serotonin, adrenaline and other chemicals on habituation in snails, while others are working on links between root growth and the concentration of salt.

John Dalton
Head of Science and Vice Principal

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