Here students collect species-area data in nested plots in an open field location.
This first field trip was a dry run in using some of the
data collection and analysis techniques that will be employed
in field projects once in Australia.
The Richard Ryan Field Laboratory is located on the preserve and serves as a base for conducting ecological research and as a classroom during rainy weather. The preserve hosts a wide diversity of plants and animals, including whitetail deer, coyotes, red fox, beaver, mink, muskrats, redtail hawks, greatblue herons, green herons, Canada geese, and many species of ducks.
Other groups of students collected species-area data in the transition zone from the open field to the woodlot adjacent to the field.
Students collected point-center quarter data along transects in the woodlot. At random points along the transect, the circumference of the nearest trees and the distance from the transect were measured and the species noted.
Measuring the circumference of a tree in one of the quarters nearest to the random point on the transect.
In a third exercise, students collected species frequency at points every 0.5 m along
a 100 m transect. The data were used to measure plant species diversity in the open field
site. Here we see a typical catalog of plant species found in the open field.
One of the non-plant species in the open field was this garden spider (below). It is a member of the family Araeidae, the orb weavers. Many species of this family are relatively large, like this one Agriope which makes an intricate web. Notice its prey in the lower center of the photo.
There are a number of deer on the Preserve. This one may have been killed by
coyotes, which are also present here.