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Need ideas for experiment on an animal population.

Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment

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Need ideas for experiment on an animal population.

Postby Cydney » Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:36 pm

Hello~ I'm trying to brainstorm some ideas for a school project. The directions are this: Design an experiment for one population in your study area.
The study area that we have to use is an abandoned field next to a somewhat busy street. Just walking out there you don't see much of a population of any kind.
The question is really open ended, but I just can't come up with anything! Thanks for any input, Cydney
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Postby AstusAleator » Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:51 am

well here are some things to think about.

What species live there? (remember, they don't have to be animals. Insects, microbes, plants, fungi, all count)
Out of those species, which if any make up a definable population? (look up definition of population)

Once you have located a population consider this:

How does that population interact with its natural environment? (other species, physical surroundings, etc)
How does the population interact with human-related environments (ie disturbance, succession, etc)?
How do members of the population interact with eachother (reproduction, competition, etc)?

After considering those:
Are there any noticable trends in the population? (ie does it seem to be shrinking? getting bigger? outcompeting others? being outcompeted?

You may also want to survey other nearby fields and see what other populations of the same species as in your field look like, so that perhaps you can set up a comparison study.


I enjoy this sort of thing, so I'm happy to help out if u need any more advice.
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...

Postby Cydney » Fri Mar 09, 2007 4:56 am

Hmmm, some interesting ideas. I would like to do something working with animals that are actually moving, :P but I guess fungi would work just as well. Although, I'm still not sure what to do for an experiment. Doesn't that involve actually interacting with the population somehow/creating a question or problem that you want answered? All I can imagine is setting up a net and catching birds to see the different species, lol. Like on some discovery channel show, and I don't think that would work too well =)
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Postby AstusAleator » Sun Mar 11, 2007 3:42 am

You could try a rodent pit-trap.

essentially it's a v-shaped wall of canvas with a pit at the junction of the v. It has to be material that the rodents will not be able to climb on, as does the walls of the pit.

put it where you can tell rodents move around a lot. They will hit the canvas, and move along it until they fall into the pit. This is primarily for nocturnal mammals.

With this sort of setup it's important that you check it daily so that they don't starve or die of dehydration.


You could also do visual surveying, but that's pretty hit-and-miss.

Probably one of your best bets is to count dens or do fecal counts (count their poop :) )
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Re: ...

Postby Beetle » Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:48 am

Cydney wrote:All I can imagine is setting up a net and catching birds to see the different species, lol. Like on some discovery channel show, and I don't think that would work too well =)


That would be more faunistical or diversity research than population. You could try to do something on plants maybe. You can more easily get accurate measurments of number, density, grouping, dinamics on them than on animals.
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Postby arian » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:25 pm

i would like to sugest also some Chemical analyses of this area such as air pollution and soil polution form the chemical or human rubushes.
You can see what kind of flowers are griong there and you an understand the pH of the soil.

take some notes from Metereological station near by during the last two years.

Have some more information about human ecology and how does the enviorement interact with human activity.
I would like to help you more.

Ask me.
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