An ecological study includes observation and analysis of organisms and the physical features of the environment.
How do you study an ecosystem? Goals
■ Observe biotic factors and abiotic factors of an ecosystem.
■ Analyze the relationships among organisms and their environments.
Materials graph paper field guides binoculars notebook thermometer compass pencil tape measure magnifying lens
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1. Choose a portion of an ecosystem to study. You might choose a decaying log, a pond, a garden, or even a crack in the sidewalk.
2. Determine the boundaries of your study area.
3. Using a tape measure and graph paper, make a map of your area. Determine north.
4. Record your observations in a table similar to the one shown on this page.
5. Observe the organisms in your study area. Use field guides to identify them. Use a magnifying lens to study small organisms and binoculars to study animals you can't get near. Look for evidence (such as tracks or feathers) of organisms you do not see.
Measure and record the air temperature in your study area.
Visit your study area many times and at different times of day for one week. At each visit, make the same measurements and record all observations. Note how the living and nonliving parts of the ecosystem interact.
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