Troy University Plot Sampling of Woody Vegetation Report

Question Description

The rubric for the final report has been posted in Modules. Use this and prior feedback as your guides in writing this report. You have a lot of leeway and latitude in how you approach this. Along these lines, a few things to note:

1. Don’t lose focus of the objective of the study. Your hypotheses were given to you in the lab handout when we started the experiment (along with predictions you were to come up with as a lab group). These should be articulated in the report.

2. We expect some statistical analysis with this. Use the statistical tools you’ve worked with over the semester to address the hypotheses/predictions. If you are having trouble with this, see one of us ASAP!

3. You have a lot of data at your disposal to help explain decomposition trends. All of the data we collected do not necessarily have to end up in the report. HOWEVER, you do need to justify your claims (i.e., we’re not going to simply take your word that the condition of Franklin is impaired and Pocosin is pristine). Also remember that any data you use should have its methodology explained (in methods) and its results presented (in results).

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LEAF DECOMPOSITION Leaf litter entering streams and ponds provides an important source of allochthonous organic matter and nutrients. After a period of conditioning in the water where leaves are leached of organic and inorganic components, they begin to break down and are colonized (conditioned) by bacteria and fungi. Once the leaves have been conditioned, macroinvertebrates begin feeding on them. Bacteria and fungi provide an important source of nutrients to macroinvertebrates. Macroinvertebrate species serving as shredders (species that shred leaves) assist in breaking down leaves from coarse particulate organic matter (CPOM) to fine particulate organic matter (FPOM). In turn, FPOM is consumed by collector-gatherers (species that gather FPOM) and collectorfilterers (species that filter FPOM), which are themselves consumed by macroinvertebrate predators (Allan, 1995). The rate of leaf decomposition varies depending on leaf structural content, the presence of organisms, and the nature of the environment. Stream studies have found that leaves with higher carbon content tied up in cellulose and lignin and less nitrogen content take longer to break down. Leaves higher in carbon and lower in nitrogen are also less palatable to many invertebrates. Both leaf litter composition and invertebrate abundance can be influenced by the chemistry and storm flow rates of the water, which is largely driven by watershed land use (Allan, 1995; Royer and Minshall, 2001). The purpose of this lab is to 1) quantify the difference in leaf decomposition between four leaf species that differ in “toughness” (as a crude index of cellulose and lignin), and 2) determine if these rates differ across streams of varying land use. Hypotheses and predictions H1: Structural differences between leaf species will cause them to decompose at different rates. Predictions: H2: Land use differences between streams will cause leaves to decompose at different rates. Predictions: The statistical null hypotheses for these predictions are, “anything but the predicted outcome” and that means that a result in the opposite direction from your prediction is evidence for rejection of the alternative hypothesis. Methods The lab will divide into typical groups. Each group will be responsible for making, deploying, and retrieving 4 leaf bags, one of each treatment. The treatments are: 1) 2) 3) 4) Water oak (Quercus nigra) Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) Each lab will go to one of three streams reflecting different land use. These streams are: 1) Janice Creek: located on campus downstream of Janice Hawkins Park. 2) Pocosin Creek: seephead stream in Pocosin Forever Wild tract. 3) Franklin Creek: downstream of Arboretum and TU campus. Instructions: 1. In your group weigh and record 5g of each leaf type (Water oak, Sweet gum, Loblolly pine, Chinese tallow). HANDLE LEAVES CAREFULLY. 2. Place the weighed leaf material of each species into 1 of 4 mesh bags and tie shut with string or a zip tie, resulting in 4 bags total, each with one leaf species 3. Label each bag with a 12” piece of flagging marked with your group name and the leaf treatment using a Sharpie. 4. With all leaves weighed and in bags, go to your assigned stream. HANDLE BAGS CAREFULLY TO MINIMIZE LEAF BREAKAGE 5. Once at your location attach the 4 leaf bags to a spike with zip tie. 6. Place the spike into the streambed until the leaf bags are laying on the bottom. Space your bags ~5-10m away from any other group’s bags 7. Once the bags are successfully anchored take note their bags. Pictures, sketches, and lots of flagging tape will be extremely helpful. 8. Prior to departure each group should take a water quality sample by filling a bottle under the water and sealing it before bringing it out of the water. 9. Label the bottle with your lab group, section (time) and the date. 10. Place water sample on ice. 11. Lab is complete for today. Bags will be picked up in 6 weeks with further instructions on handling and analysis. Literature Cited Allan, J.D. 1995. Stream ecology: Structure and function of running waters. 388 pp. Chapman and Hall, New York. Royer, T.V., and G.W. Minshall. 2001. Effects of nutrient enrichment and leaf quality on the breakdown of leaves in a hardwater stream. Freshwater Biology 46:603-610. Introduction to Aquatic Decomposition Information for understand the decomposition lab Glossary – Decomposition: the state or process of rotting; decay – Autochthonous: indigenous or self producing, not relying on outside input – Allochthonous: Externally sourced, relying on input from other sources – Cellulose: an insoluble substance which is the main constituent of plant cell walls and of vegetable fibers such as cotton. It is a polysaccharide consisting of chains of glucose monomers – Lignin: Complex organic polymers that form key structural materials in the support tissues of vascular plants and some algae. Streams and Rivers – Waterways can be split in many ways by: – Watershed Size, Water type, Location, Sediment source, and Nutrient source – Nutrient source splits waterways into autochthonous and allochthonous – This dichotomy is useful when trying to determine the day to day fluctuation in nutrients as well as the potential taxa that will be present in the system Autochthonous waterways – These streams do not rely on external input to produce basal resources I.E. autotrophs – They tend to be wider and as a result allow enough sunlight to penetrate to the stream bottom and allow for photosynthesis. – Aquatic vegetation and phytoplankton tend to be the main source of oxygen production in these waterways. They also act as the basal food resources for primary consumers. Allochthonous waterways – These streams tend to be headwater or origin streams. Streams that are small enough that they do not create a footprint where vegetation can not cover it. – There is little to no aquatic vegetation or phytoplankton due to the consistent canopy coverage above. Therefore minimal photosynthesis occurs in these streams – Without aquatic vegetation there is not a direct basal food resource available to the streams. Therefore these streams systems rely on external input. – The external input comes in the form of leaf fall. – Fallen leaves and other vegetation entering the waterway is largest and sometimes only source of basal food resources in these systems All Leaves are not made the same – You may have noticed that not all leaves are the same. Some feel waxy and stiff while others feel more like paper and are very plastic. There is a reason for that! – Cell walls of plants are comprised of two main components. Cellulose and lignin. – The amount of each of these compounds present in the leaf determines the stiffness or rigidity of the leaves – Often referred to as a C:N the amount of Carbon compared to Nitrogen in a leaf determines the rate of decomposition. This is directly related to the amount of cellulose and lignin present in the leaves. C:N and why it effects decomposition – The chemical formula of Cellulose is C6H10O5 which is an insoluble fiber. – Lignin is also an insoluble compound made of phenolic polymers. – These two compound contribute to the amount of organic carbon in the leaf. – The more of these compounds there are the more carbon is present therefore, making it more difficult to decompose in water. – Leaves with a greater C:N decompose at a much slower rate than those with lower C:N Additional effects C:N have on aquatic systems – Easier decomposition also means easier digestion and faster nutrient absorption. – Primary consumers are more likely to preferentially feed on those leaf types that have low C:N Group I Taxa Stonefly Mayfly Caddisfly Riffle Beetle Water Penny Beetle Group II Taxa Dragonfly Damselfly Cranefly Blackfly Hellgramite Scud Sowbug Group III Taxa Aquatic Worm Midge Leech Secnond sampling event Phosphate 1 Phosphate 2 Phosphate 3 Nitrate 1 Nitrate 2 Nitrate 3 Sulfate 1 Sulfate 2 Sulfate 3 pH 1 pH 2 pH3 JHP 0.18 0.06 0.11 0.463 0.474 0.57 4 7 15 / / / Picosin 0.06 0.25 0.15 0.332 0.314 0.61 76 73 91 8.1 8.3 7.8 Franklin 0.29 0.34 0.46 0.255 0.104 0.233 5 68 2 8.2 8.4 8.2 Primary sampling event Phosphate 1 Phosphate 2 Phosphate 3 Nitrate 1 Nitrate 2 Nitrate 3 Sulfate 1 Sulfate 2 Sulfate 3 pH 1 pH 2 pH3 JHP 0.16 0.23 0.06 0.192 0.229 0.149 1 4 7 / / / Picosin Franklin 0.44 0.58 0.17 0.11 0.345 0.424 0.68 25 8 18 7 7.1 7.1 78 7.9 JHP Order Chironomidae Elmidae Sphaeriidae Tipulidae Heptingidae Hydropsychidae Acari Lumbriculidae Lestidae Physidae Glossiphonilda Erpobdellidae Rhynchobdellidae Amphopoda Chinese Tallow Water Oak Sweet Gum Loblolly Pine 294 88 199 204 1 7 1 1 1 102 44 15 4 6 2 2 2 Order Chironomidae Elmidae Sphaeriidae Tipulidae Heptingidae Hydropsychidae Acari Lumbriculidae Lestidae Physidae Glossiphonilda Erpobdellidae Rhynchobdellidae Amphopoda Picosin Chinese Tallow chobdellidae 3 Water Oak Sweet Gum Loblolly Pine 5 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 1 2 Franklin Order Chinese Tallow Chironomidae 13 Elmidae Sphaeriidae Tipulidae Heptingidae Hydropsychidae Acari Lumbriculidae 10 Lestidae Physidae Glossiphonilda Erpobdellidae Rhynchobdellidae Amphopoda Franklin Water Oak Sweet Gum Loblolly Pine 12 13 2 1 1 1 5 5 32 1 1 6 2 4 JHP 121 141 115 Picosin Franklin 169 47 166 76 121 47 JHP Mass lost Chinese Tallow 4.4g 5.0g 5.0g Water Oak 0.5g 0.6g 1.1g Sweet Gum 0.7g 1.9g 2g JHP percent lost Loblolly Pine 0.38g 1.7g 4.3g Picosin Mass lost Chinese Tallow 4.3g 2.0g 5.0g 1.0g Water Oak 0.7g 2.0g 1.66g 0.8g Sweet Gum 0.4g 3.2g 0.98g 2.9g Picosin percent lost Loblolly Pine 3.7g 1.5g 4.95g 1.3g Franklin Mass lost Chinese Tallow 3.98g 4.3g 3.9g 4.75g Water Oak 1.85g 1.5g 0.9g 1.3g Sweet Gum 2.12g 1g 1.2g 1.7g Chinese Tallow Water Oak 88 10 100 12.4 100 22 Chinese Tallow Water Oak 86 13.7 40 40 100 33.2 20 16 Franklin percent lost Loblolly Pine 3.9g 1.9g 1.1g 3.46g Chinese Tallow Water Oak 79.4 37.1 86 29 78 18 95 26 JHP percent lost Sweet Gum Loblolly Pine 14 38 36.7 32.5 40 86 icosin percent lost Sweet Gum Loblolly Pine 8 74 64 30 19.6 99 58 26 anklin percent lost Sweet Gum Loblolly Pine 41.9 78 20 38 24 22 34 69 Report Section Introduction (4.5 pts) Methods (3.5 pts) Results (4 pts) Discussion (4.5 pts) Overall writing (3pts) References (0.5 pts) Total Criteria Broad introduction and explanation of background information that frames your experiment Incorporation of at least 3 published, peer-reviewed studies Provide rationale for study State purpose / objective and state hypotheses / predictions in appropriate place Describe study organisms and study area Describe field methods used Describe laboratory methods used Describe methods of analysis/comparison, including any outside data used and equations Descriptive narrative in paragraph form with complete sentences of results from all methods Tables with correctly placed descriptive legends Figures with correctly placed descriptive legends Correct reporting of all statistical analyses Restate thesis/predictions and provide brief overview of study Interpretation of results and significance of findings Discussion fo any limitations, caveats, sources of error, or other issues with the data/study Incorporation of at least 3 published, peer-reviewed studies Correct spelling and proper grammar Clear, logical, and effective sentence/paragraph structure Correct word choice Proper format for references. References should be in AMA Format. Possible Pts Points Earned 1.5 1.5 0.5 1 0.5 1 1 1 1.5 1 1 0.5 0.5 1.5 1 1.5 1 1 1 0.5 20 0 …
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