Biology trip: Epping Forest

Biology trip: Epping Forest

After the Easter holidays, at 8:30am one Friday morning, a coach full of AS Biology Students and their packed lunches set off to Epping Forest as part of their Biology coursework. Our aim was to evaluate the species richness of two areas of countryside, completing practical tasks along the way. We did this by counting the number of different plant species there were, using a quadrat and random co-ordinates. We then had to identify which species were most abundant, using a key for grasses and forest paths.

We gathered our quadrats and tape measures and then headed for a patch of grass and a brambly area where we could count our plant species. We recorded our results within a table and it turned out the area with brambles had a significantly higher species richness than the grassy area. It was a lovely sunny day and, after enjoying a picnic lunch outside (and a few ice creams!), we resumed our study of plants by looking at the leaves of some weeds with our magnifying glasses. In order to

do this properly we were told there was nothing for it but to get down on all fours, heads to the ground – removing the leaves from the weeds was a strict no no! We had to draw the specific plant on our exam paper, which was challenging for those who didn’t have much of an artistic hand. The amount of hair distribution on the apex and basal parts of the leaf was also examined in order to fill in our other table. At the end of the day we hopped back in the coach and returned to London, narrowly missing the queues of rush hour traffic as we went. All in all, it was a trip that was both productive and enjoyable.

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