Use Your Quadrat

A quadrat can be used in all sorts of ways and you might find it useful for biology fieldwork too.  Here are some ideas for the beach.

Last week we found out how to use the quadrat to estimate percentages, so now try that with beach material.

What are the percentages of seaweed and sand?

Or the percentages of sand and pebbles?

If you are measuring pebble sizes then you can use the quadrat to tell you which pebbles to measure.

You could measure the pebble underneath each point where the strings cross…

…or if they are bigger you could just take one from under each of the corner junctions.  It doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you decide the rules before you throw the quadrat down.

Sometimes, behind the beach you find sand dunes.

If so, then take your quadrat into the dunes.  Measure the percentage vegetation cover, just like I showed you last week with my patio weeds.

Does the percentage change as you get further from the sea?

Now look at the plants in detail.  Use a book or the internet to identify the different types.  At each location see which species covers the largest area.

Does the main vegetation type change as you get further from the sea?

If you want an easier option than identifying plants, count the number of different species in your quadrat.  You don’t need to know what they are.

Does the number of plant species change as you get further from the sea?

We’ll look at dunes again next week – there are a few more things you can investigate, that don’t involve quadrats.