Geography Fieldwork Skills

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where is our regional scale ecosystem located?
on the north coast of Northern Ireland in Portstewart on the mouth of the River Bann
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what are some of the features of the embryo dunes?
5yrs old, conditions are dry and salty, windy due to strong winds from the Atlantic, soil has a very alkaline ph of 8, alkaline due to presence of sea shells, pioneer plants such as couch and lyme grass invade as they can withstand harsh conditions
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what are some of the features of the foredunes/yellow dunes?
10yrs old, covered by marram grass whixh has a complex rhizome root network- stabilises the dune, marram thrives as it it withstands salty xerophytic conditions, soil becomes less alkaline ph 7.5-7, 80% covered by vegetation
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what are some of the features of the dune slacks?
low lying ridges which run parallel to the beach therefore the microclimate is more sheltered here, soil is also improving- so a wider variety of plants can be supported eg wild strawberries, buttercups and violets,vegetation cover is almost complete
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what are some of the features of the grey dunes?
located roughly 140m from sea, continued improvements of micro climate and soil, plants such as rosettes, dandelion and thistle hug closely to the ground, when these plants become litter they increase humus reducing soil ph to 6.5
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is climatic climax achieved in this dune system?
no-it is managed by the national trust as well as restricted by man made obstacles such as golf courses and so there fore the succession is prevented from reaching its climatic climax
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what were the main results/conclusions to your fieldwork?
as distance from the sea/HWM along the transect increased, the percentage of other species, indicated that plant diversity also increased
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what correlation was used to compare 'other species' with distance?
Spearman's Rank Correlation
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what was the result of the Spearman's Rank Correlation?
+0.87
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what level is this significant to?
the 99.9% significance level
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after seeing the result which hypothesis did we accept and which did we reject?
we rejected the Null Hypothesis and accepted the alternative hypothesis that as distance from the HWM increased, plant diversity also increased
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how confident can we be that there is a significant positive relationship between these two variables?
very confident
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what was some of the other data that we recorded?
windspeed (recorded 1m above ground- average wind speed falls from 8m/s on the first dune ridge to 4m/s near the river Bann) and soil pH (recorded at 8 at the abryo dune to 4 near the River Bann)
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how did your fieldwork improve your understanding of the topic?
through plant identification at sample sites- we were able to witness plant succession first hand, how some plants were better adapted to certain environments than others and how factors such as windspeed affect the level of plant diversity
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what was the invasive non-native species of plant which was planted to help stabilise the dunes?
sea buckthorn?
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what are the characteristics of sea buckthorn?
a very spiny, spiky shrub which spreads very quickly
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what is the problem with sea buckthorn?
it is invading and out-competing native grasses and other plant species
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what acted as a sub-climax and prevented the plant succession from reaching a climatic climax?
the golf course
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what is our conclusion of the fieldwork?
that the strength of the Spearman's Correlation statistic and the evidence from the other sources support the hypothesis that the Portstewart sand dunes display qualities that closely resemble the classic textbook qualities of a psammosere succession
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how would you extend or develop the fieldwork study you have done?
do it in a different season, we could use technology better (eg use GPS for more accurate heights and profile info, use geo-caching etc), map human impact or dune erosion on the system and observe how the dunes change over a longer period of time
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what are the implications of our conclusions for geographers/researchers?
there are identifiable similarities in the profile of the system and the plant species that the textbooks suggest.However, our results don't fully match textbook theory, and indicate the importance of plagioclimax/subclimax stages of succession
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what are the implications of our conclusions for the public?
blow outs, litter and evidence fires show vulnerability of the sand dunes. If the dunes are damaged, the National Trust may be forced to restrict vehicle access to the beach, inconveniencing the public
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what are the implications of our conclusions for the Portstewart Golf Club?
the golf club has planted sea buckthorn to stabilise the system and protect the golf course. However, this is an invasive species that destroys the dune environment
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what are the implications of our conclusions for the National Trust?
our conclusions hint at the vulnerability of the system. Since it is the Trust's responsibility to ensure it is properly maintained they must manage the ecosystem in a sustainable manner that will continue to permit public access
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what are primary sources of data?
any new info that you have collected in the field. This might be done through observation or through measurement eg windspeed, % of other species etc
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what are secondary sources of data?
any new info that has been obtained from existing sources, such as maps, Geographical Information System (GIS), photographs or census data
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what is random sampling?
when a random number generator is used to give, for example a random set of coordinates
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what is systematic sampling?
when samples are taken using a pre-determined interval, eg placing a transect every 10m
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what is stratified sampling?
where the sampler divides or 'stratifies' the target group into sections, each showing a key characteristic which should be present in the final sample. Then each of those sections is sampled individually
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what are the strengths of random sampling?
results will be totally random and should be unbiased- this should also give a good representation of the whole area/population
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what are the strengths of systematic sampling?
best for studies that are measured over time or over a particular distance. It is suitable for studies like sand dune surveys or measurements taken across a river
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what are the strengths of stratified sampling?
It avoids the problem of misrepresentation sometimes caused by purely random sampling and gives a broad and detailed snapshot of what a population/group thinks on a particular issue
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what are the weaknesses of random sampling?
doesn't take into account any changes/subsects/differences in an area or population, so a population survey could end up only asking people aged over 65 (this is called 'bunching')
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what are the weaknesses of systematic sampling?
there is an increased chance of bias as it is the individual researcher who decides on the interval. Fixed intervals might mean that important measures might be meaningless, as they may not appear on the results
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what are the weaknesses of stratified sampling?
this can be a complicated and difficult method of collecting results,taking a lot of time and congestion
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what are some of the risk concerns of our fieldwork investigation?
weather conditions, injuries as a result of slippery or uneven surfaces and fieldwork equipment such as transects can be dangerous
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how do we deal with these risk concerns?
check weather forecast and take appropriate clothing, avoid running and where shoes with plenty of grip and carry transects spike down and handle other equipment with care
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what is a conclusion?
a summary of info and evidence that you have been considering as you address a particular question or hypothesis
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what is an evaluation?
allows you to discuss how you could have improved your investigation (data collection methods, sampling techniques etc)
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what is qualiative data?
Qualitative data is a data concerned with descriptions, which can be observed but cannot be computed
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what is quantiative data?
data that focuses on numbers and mathematical calculations and can be calculated and computed
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what are the three ways of finding an average in a set of data?
mean, mode and median
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what is the mean?
often known as the average, is found by adding all the values under investigation and dividing this by the total number of values
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what is the median?
the central value when the values are ranked in a series
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what is the mode?
the most frequently occurring number in a data set?
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what is the range?
the difference between the highest value ad the lowest value in a set of numbers. It shows the spread of data
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what is nearest neighbor analysis (NNA)?
a statistical measure that allows us to look at a distribution (usually a dot map) and to determine a pattern
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what are the three conclusions that can be made from NNA?
clustered, random and regular
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if the result is very close to 0- what is the conclusion?
clustered
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if the result is very close to`1- what is the conclusion?
random
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if the result is very close to 2.15- what is the conclusion?
regular
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what does the spearmans rank correlation measure?
the relationship between two sets of variables
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

what are some of the features of the embryo dunes?

Back

5yrs old, conditions are dry and salty, windy due to strong winds from the Atlantic, soil has a very alkaline ph of 8, alkaline due to presence of sea shells, pioneer plants such as couch and lyme grass invade as they can withstand harsh conditions

Card 3

Front

what are some of the features of the foredunes/yellow dunes?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

what are some of the features of the dune slacks?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

what are some of the features of the grey dunes?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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