F212; Biodiversity and Sampling (Plants and Animals)

These revision cards should summarise the knowledge required of the various sampling techniques of animals and plants for the F212 Molecules, Biodiversity, Food&Health AS Biology module, as well as some key definitions. I hope they're useful c:

Key Definition; Biodiversity

Biodiversity - The number and variety of living organisms to be found in a particular area, e.g around the world, in a habitat or an ecosystem.

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Key Definition; Species

Species - A group of individual organisms who are able to interbreed and produce fertile offspring. They are also similar in appearance (morphology), physiology, biochemistry and behaviour.

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Key Definition; Habitat

Habitat- A place where an organism lives. It provides it with necessary conditions to survive, e.g nutrition and shelter.

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Random Sampling

Studying a small portion of a habitat and assuming it contains a representative set of species that can be applied to the whole habitat.

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Sampling Plants; Transects - Line


  • A line is stretched out across the habitat.
  • Types of plant species and their numbers that touch the line are counted.
  • May be recorded at set intervals.
  • Preferably used where there aren't too many organisms.
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Sampling Plants; Transects - Belt


  • Two lines parallel to each other stretched out across habitat.
  • Species of plant are counted inbetween them.
  • Quadrats may be placed inbetween them.
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Sampling Plants; Transects - Interrupted


  • A quadrat is placed next to the line at set intervals.
  • Gives more data than a line transect.
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Sampling Plants; Quadrats - Random


  • Use a random number generator to obtain coordinates and plot these on a map of the habitat.
  • Distribute the quadrats within these points.
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Sampling Plants; Quadrats - Systematic


  • Lay out a grid over a map of the habitat.
  • Pick out point on the map at set intervals.
  • Distribute quadrats along these points.
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Sampling Animals; Netting - Sweep

Sweep Netting

  • Sweep through the vegetation in wide arcs with a net.
  • Cought animals are then emptied out.
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Sampling Animals; Netting - Mist

Mist Netting

  • A net is put in the pathway of birds or bats, which they find hard to see.
  • It is frequently checked for any catches, so that the birds go through minimum discomfort.
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Sampling Animals; Netting - Drift

Drift Netting

  • A net is placed in water against the waterflow.
  • Small animals are caught and emptied out.
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Sampling Animals; Pitfall Trap

  • A small container is placed into the ground at the level of soil.
  • Small animals travelling through the ground/grass/leaves fall into the container.
  • It must contain a little bit of water or some crumpled paper to prevent them from escaping/crawling out.
  • It must be sheltered when raining - the container can fill up with water and drown the animals.
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Sampling Animals; Longsworth Trap

  • A tunnel that traps an animal once it has entered it, with minimum discomfort.
  • It provides the animal with shelter and bedding.
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Sampling Animals; Tullgren Funnel

  • An apparatus that collects small animals.
  • Leaf litter is placed at the top of it.
  • Heat generated beneath it drives the leaf litter to become hot.
  • Small animals thus fall down through the apparatus into a collecting jar at the bottom of it.
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Sampling Animals; Pooter

  • A thin, long device, sea-through.
  • Traps small animal animals, preventing them from flying out or escaping.
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Sampling Animals; Beating Tray

  • A white cloth stretched out over a point frame.
  • Foliage e.g a tree, is shaken.
  • Animals disloge and fall onto the cloth.
  • They can then be collected.
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Sampling Plants; Quadrats - Point

Point Quadrat

  • A frame with metal rods may be placed into a quadrat.
  • Plant species touching the metal rods can be counted.
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