Steps Taken to Perform for a Biota Survey

Step 1: Set up site


     The first step for the project consisted of setting the sites among the three groups.  The members use the GPS, compasses, and tape measures to create the plot.  They marked the corners of the 20m x 20m plot with white poles and the midpoints with yellow flags.  This created an overall plot and created four quadrats in the plot.

Step 2: Soil core samples


    The soil samples include 3 core samples which go 15cm into the soil and 3 soil texture samples in each quadrat.  The soil texture samples are taken by shoveling the surface of the ground to determine the percentage of clay, sand, and silt in the ground.  The soil core samples are taken inside to dry in the Petri dishes immediately.

Step 3: Serial Dilutions


  The Serial Dilutions are the next step.  Each member took 5 tubes and labeled them 100, 10-1 , 10-2, 10-3, 10-4.  In the 100 tube, one member adds 10 mL of water and one scoop of dirt.  One member then shakes the tube vigorously.  They then take 1 mL of the 100 and transfer it to the 10-1 tube.  They shake that tube vigorously. They continue this routine for all of the tubes.  Once all of the tubes have been completed they add these to the fungi (yeast and mold) plates and to the bacteria plates.  These plates are left out for 3 or 4 days to grow.  Then each member counts for fungi (yeast and mold) and for bacteria.  They record their data in their notebooks.

Step 4: Protozoa Extraction


     Once the soil core samples in the petri dishes have dried, the next step is the protozoa extraction.  The now dry soil is sifted between 9 and 10 grams and then put into another Petri dish.  The group members rehydrate the soil in the new Petri dish with 20 mL of water.  Using a uhlig extractor, the group members transferred the soil into another Petri dish that already had 30 mL of water.  These Petri dishes were put into the refrigerator.  After the weekend, they were taken out and the protozoa were filtered into a small cup which is called the filtrate.  The filtrate are then used to create microscope slides for the Digital Light Microscopes.  With these microscopes each member took 5 pictures of each slide.  Using the pictures, each member counted how many protozoa were in each picture of the slide.


Step 5: Algae


The Algae slides are put into the ground in three different areas in each quadrat.  They are left in the ground for 48 hours.  After 2 days, each members takes out the slide from the ground, rinses the slide with water, and sandwich the slide in two new slides with a rubberband around them.  This sandwich is placed in a plastic bag and then taken inside to look at with a microscope.  Using the microscopes, the members of the groups count algae in 5 fields of view.

Step 6: Chemical Testing




Before starting the chemical testing, each group member had to take the soil left over and create extracts.  These extracts would be used for the many chemical tests that each member had to complete.  The chemical tests include the inorganic chemical tests which are for soil pH, calcium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, manganese, aluminum, and ferric iron.  The organic chemical tests are nitrate, nitrite, phosphorus, and ammonia.  Each group completed these chemical tests with The Chemical Test Kit. 

Step 7: Arthopods




For the Arthopods test, each group had to dig a 15 cm deep hole in the ground in each quadrat.  While digging, each member was looking for any bugs, insects, or worms that they would see.  When they did, each member would record them in their notebooks and then record them into the entire data sheet template.

Step 8: Plants




Each group has to go to their site and collect plants.  They have to walk diagonally from pole to pole across the entire site and every time they see a plant that is new they put a piece of the plant into a plastic baggy.  If they see that sample plant in the diagnol line then they mark the plastic bag with the corresponding plant.  If they see a new plant, they add the the plant to another bag and continue the same process.  When they have finished they come back inside and using statistics each member finds the percentage of the plants in their site.

Step 9: Stats




The final step that each group has to complete is do the math.  Each member has to fill an excel sheet of the individual template, quadrat template, and entire site template.  With this data, the groups compare sites and start the next half of the program, their individual research groups.