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STPM Biology Practical 20

Ecological study of a terrestrial or an

aquatic area.
 Area to be studied: School Compound
 Members: Yap Yee Sheng (910522145163)
 Tham Weng
 Muhammad Basrul
 Chong Dik Tseng

 Learning the basic principles of ecology through
students’ own effort
 Elements of ecosystem: biosis and abiosis
 Dynamic relationship of elements and flow of
energy through ecosystem
 Using the simple apparatus and instruments in
ecological studies
 Learning the methods of collecting and analyzing
ecological data
 Writing an ecological study report
 Inculcating nature loving attitude
 Inculcating good moral values such as cooperation,
independence, and self-confidence
 Quadrat sampling
 Line Transect
 Belt Transect
 Tullgren funnel
 Baermann funnel
 Observation
Rough planning of work

 Date: 4/11/09
 Period: 1 day
 Activity: Planning
 Date: 10/11/09
 Period: 1 day
 Activity: Proposal presentation

 Date: 11-12/11/09
 Period: 2 day
 Activity: Soil Analysis
 soil sampling
determination of the texture of soil
determination of water content of soil
determination of organic matter content
determination of air content in soil
determination of soil pH

 Date: 13-16/11/09
 Period: 4 days
 Activity: Determination of the types of
soil organisms
 Date: 17-20/11/09
 Period: 3 days
 Activity: Determination of the density of
plant species in a habitat
 quadrat sampling technique
sampling technique using line transect

 Date:
 Period: 1 day
 Activity: Report presentation

Soil Analysis
1. Soil Sampling Technique
 PS:How to obtain soil?
 Apparatus:
 Metal cylinder
 Procedure:
a)Press the metal cylinder into the soil.
b)Using the piston, remove the soil sample
from the cylinder.

2. Determination of the texture of the soil
 PS: How is the texture of the soil.
 Apparatus:
› 500cm3 measuring cylinder
› 100cm3 soil sample
› 300cm3 water
 Procedure
a) Add the soil sample to the measuring cylinder and cover
with water.
b) Shake the contents vigorously.
c) Allow the mixture to settle out, according to the density
and the surface area of particles, for 48 hours.
d) Measure the volume of various fractions of soil sample.
f) Results Formula:
g) Calculate the percentage of stone, sand, and clay
components of the soil sample.

 Results Formula:
Calculate the percentage of stone,
sand, and clay components of the soil

 Tabulation
Component Weight of component (g) % of component
1 2 3 Average
3. Determination of water content of soil

 PS: What is the percentage of water content of soil?

 Apparatus:
› Aluminium foil pie dish
› balance
› oven
› desiccators
› tongs
› thermometer 
 Procedure:
a) Weigh an aluminium foil pie dish while still empty. Record the mass (a)
b) Add the broken-up soil sample to the pie dish and weigh. Record the mass
c) Place the pie dish containing the soil sample in the oven at 110°C for 24
d) Remove the sample from the oven and cool in the desiccator.
e) Weigh the sample when cool, and record the mass.
f) Return the sample to the oven at 110°C for a further 24 hours.
g) Repeat stages (d) and (e) until consistent weighing is recorded (constant
mass). Record the mass (c).
h) Calculate the percentage water content as follows:
 Results formula:

 Tabulation
 Mass (g)
1 2 3 Average
4. Determination of organic matter content

 PS: What is the organic matter content of the soil?

 Apparatus and Material:
› Desiccators and lid
› Tripod
› Bunsen Burner
› Asbestos mat
› Fireclay triangle tongs
› Dried soil sample
 Procedure:
a) Heat the crucible and lid strongly in the Bunsen Flame to remove all traces
of moisture. Place in desiccator to cool. Weigh and record the mass (a)
b) Add the dried soil sample (kept from the previous experiment) from the
desiccators and weigh. Record the mass (b)
c) Heat the soil sample in the crucible, covered with the lid, to red-heat for 1
hour to burn off all the organic matter. Allow to cool for 10 minutes
and remove to the desiccators.
d) Weigh the crucible and sample when cool.
e) Repeat (c) and (d) until constant mass is recorded.
f) Calculate the percentage of organic content as follow:
g) Repeat the experiment on soil sample taken from different areas to
demonstrate variation of organic content.
 Results formula:

 Tabulation
 Mass (g)
1 2 3 Average
5. Determination of air content in soil

 PS: What is the percentage of air content in soil?

 Apparatus:
› tin can of volume about 200cm3
› 500cm3 beaker
› Metal seeker
› Water 
 Procedure:
a) Place the empty can open end uppermost into the 500cm3 beaker and fill the
beaker with water above the level of the can. Mark the water level in the
b) Carefully remove the can containing the water and measure this volume of water
in a measuring cylinder. Record the volume (a). The water level in the
beaker will fall by the amount corresponding with the volume of water in
the can.
c) Perforate the base of the can using a drill, making about eight small holes.
d) Push open the end of the can into the soil from which surface vegetation has been
removed until the soil begins to come through the perforations. Gently dig
out the can, turn it over and remove the soil from the surface until it is
level with the top of can.
e) Place the can of soil, with open end uppermost, gently back into the beaker of
water and loosen soil in the can with the seeker to allow air to escape.
f) The water level in the beaker will be lower than the original level because water
will be used to replace the air which was present in the soil.
 Results formula:

% volume of air in soil sample

 Tabulation
1 2 3 Average
6. Determination of soil pH

 PS: What is the pH of the Soil?

 Apparatus 
› long test-tube
› test-tube rack
› spatula
› 100cm3 pipette
› Universal indicator 
 Procedure:
a) Add about 1cm3 of soil to the test-tube and 1cm of barium sulphate, which ensures
flocculation of the colloidal clay.
b) Add 10cm3 of distilled water and 5cm3 of BDH universal indicator solution. Seal the
test-tube with the bung. Shake vigorously and allow contents to settle for 5
c) Compare the colour of liquid in the test tube with the colours on the BDH reference
colour chart and read off the corresponding pH.
d) Repeat the experiment on soil samples from different areas.
 Results:
› State the pH value of the soil.


 Tabulation
Area pH
1 2 3 Average
Area A
Area B
Area C
Area D
Determination of the types of
soil organisms

PS: What are the types of organisms present in soi

 Apparatus and materials:
› Tullgren funnel
› Retort stand
› Beakers
› Magnifying glass
› Microscope, glass slide
› Baermann funnel
› 4% formalin solution 
 Results:
a) List down the types of animals such as Nematoda,
Annelida, Myriapoda, Insecta, Mollusca, and
b)State the name of the above animals and draw the
appearance of the animals.

Baermann Funnel
Tullgren Funnel
Determination of the density
of plant species in a habitat
PS: What is the density of plant species in
a habitat?
1. Quadrat sampling technique

 Apparatus:
› Quadrats measuring 1m2
 Procedure:
a)Systematic sampling procedure –
quadrats are placed at the same
intervals along transects which runs
across the investigated area at the
same intervals.
b)Random sampling procedure – using
random number table

Systematic distribution of Random distribution of
quadrats quadrats
 Results:
› Student’s name: ___________________
› Date:___________________
› Habitat: __________________________
› Location/Place: ____________________
› Type of plant: ______________________
› Quadrat size: ______________________

 Table of the data for the measurements of each
species cover in quadrat sampling
No. Species cover (base/air) in quadrat Total species Percentage
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 cover for 10 Cover (%)

 Results formula:
2. Sampling method using line

 Apparatus:
› Rope (15.30 meters)
 Procedure:
a)Determine a base line along the border of the
area under the investigation.
b)Choose a series of points along the base line
either randomly or systematically. These
points are used as the starting points for the
transects to run across the area being
c)Record only the plants which touch the line as
seen vertically above or below the transect
d)10 – 20 lines are placed randomly in the area to
provide enough samples to investigate the
 Results:
› Student’s name: ___________________
› Date: _________________
› Habitat: __________________________
› Location/Place: ____________________
Type of plant: _____________________
› Distance of each interval: ____________
› Total number of intervals: ___________
› Total length of line transect: __________

No Name of Species Number of interval
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
 Calculatethe frequency of a species
using the following formula:

 Calculate
% of surface area cover of
each species

 Calculate the relative species cover

 Summary of the measurements obtained
by the line transect technique
No. Name of Species Number of intervals
where the species are

3. Sampling method using
Belt transect
 Apparatus:
› Strip of 0.5 width
 Procedure:
› Run the strip trough the habitat by
setting up two line transects.