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Athabasca University

Biology Lab Resources

BIOL 345: Ecology
Home Labs

This is an outline of what is involved in the Home Labs for this course.

Home Lab Title Learning Objectives Estimated Time to Complete
1 Temperatures and Microclimates Measure and graph a temperature profile. 2-6 hours
2 Intra- and Interspecific Competition Conduct an experiment on the effects of competition (for space, nutrients and light) within and between two plant species. Summarize the results with a graph. 12-16 hours over 4-5 weeks
3 Predator-Prey Modeling i.e., Holling disc equation and the density dependent functional response of a "predator" (a human's finger or pencil) and "prey" (squares of sandpaper). In general, determine that an equation can mimic or predict reality. Specifically, to simulate (= model) a simple, density dependent predator-prey interaction, i.e. how a prey's abundance can affect a predator's ability to capture the prey, in other words, the predator's functional response to prey density. 4-6 hours (involves 2 people, a "predator" and an observer)
4 Sampling with Quadrats

1. Minimum area of a quadrat
2. Minimum number of quadrats
3. Performance curve
4. Density
5. Frequency
6. Dominance or cover
7. Importance value
Learn the basics of quadrat sampling including how size of quadrats affects sampling and how different population attributes can be determined. 3 hours

The first three of the four Home Labs are done with materials that students supply. Such materials include a thermometer, metre stick, graph paper, seeds and plant growing materials. We expect that the average extra cost of student-provided materials will be less than $30. The fourth Home Lab is a pencil and paper exercise.

Updated December 11 2014 by Student & Academic Services

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