Ecology and managing the environment


Investigation of Mowed and unmowed clover distribution

The purpose of this investigation is to find out the distribution of clover in mowed and unmowed. We used random sampling because it took less time and less labour to set up the transect line for each of the mowed and unmowed then taking data which is not necessary, this has to be done for the whole mowed area and unmowed. The way it was done was by using tape measure and laying it on the ground at right angle this is used to mark out a sampling area. By using random numbers generated by a calculator you can locate a position within the sampling area to collect your data. These two numbers are then used for the x coordinate and one for the y coordinate. The two numbers will give an area where to sample using a quadrat. For systematic samplings need to lie out transect line across the area you need to collect your data from. You will have to place a quadrat after equal distance and then the clover inside the quadrat is counted and their abundance is estimated. We used the random sampling because the mowed and unmowed is too big to sample and also this would mean we had to do 10 quadrats for the mowed and 10 for the unmowed.


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Legume comes from the plant family of Leguminosae (Leguminous), which have a pod containing dry seeds. In this family there such plants as beans, peas, lentils, clover and alfalfa. These are important in agriculture because of the specialized roots, and they have nodules containing bacteria which are capable of fixing nitrogen from the air and this increase the richness of the soil.

In order for clover to grow properly it will need certain conditions to grow. It is best to sow the seeds in April as there the grass has not yet started to grow this means there will be less competition for sunlight and the soil is moist at that time of year. Another factor which is needed for the clover to grow is light; it grows faster rate when there is full sunlight. It will not continue in full shade but can grow slowly in partial shade.

Equipment list

I will be using the following items to help find out the abundance of clover in a random area.

  1. Tape measure x2 (100) - was used so that when we obtained the numbers from the calculator we would then create coordinates using the tape measure where the quadrat would go.
  2. Calculator - was used so that we can acquire the two numbers we need to create coordinate
  3. Quadrat (10 x 10) - once we got hold of the two numbers the quadrats were used to find out percentage cover of clover
  4. Pen and paper - was used so that the results of the clover abundance can be noted down.


For this type of sampling I will be using random sampling as this is not time consuming and also you will only need about 10 samples, compared to systematic sampling you will have to go from the mowed to the unmowed this will be too long and you will have a lot of data to handle. So this is why I am using random sampling to find out the clover distribution between the mowed and unmowed.

  1. The first step I did was to lay the tape measure across both meadows. You have to make sure that the tape measure is equally laid out between the two, as you will have less data for the unmowed area.
  2. Untitled-1.jpgOnce this is done I will use the calculator to generate a random number, you will need to have to random number as this will be used as coordinates to where you will place your quadrat. So for example if I got 2 and 4 and these coordinates where I will be putting my quadrat down. Another you must do is put a limited to the calculator between 0-10.
  3. So once you put down your quadrats using your coordinates you need to count the number of clover plants within the quadrats, then record the number against the coordinates sampled.
  4. Then you will have to repeat this using the other random numbers you have.
  5. By using your table you can analyse and compare the two data's to find out if there was significant difference or if it was close.
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Once I have my data from the two meadows I will be using the T test. The t-test will show me how similar the two set of data are. The value of T will be checked against a table of critical values, there three levels but I will be using the 5% which means that there is 1 in 20 chance of obtaining a value of t equal to the critical value. If my t value is greater than the critical value then there is a significant difference between the two sets of data.


For my null hypothesis I have rejected it because my t-value came out to be greater number than the critical value at the chosen significance level, this tells me that there was a significant difference between the distribution of clover in the mowed area then the unmowed.

When I was doing the calculations I used the 0.05 significance level which means I have 1 in 20 chance of obtaining a value which t is equal to the critical value by a random chance. Once I found out the t value I then compared the degree of freedom which was 18 with my significance level to find out my critical value this was 2.10. When I first worked out my t-test it came out to be 3.204 as you can see this is much greater number than the critical value, from this I found out the larger the value of t the more certain we are that the two sets of data are completely different.


When I finished my experiment I found out that I didn't make many errors. One thing I would improve on was to be able to take more samples so then I would have to compare lots of samples rather than comparing small amount of data.

The other thing I would have done better was to check my calculation, so by looking over it I am minimizing the human error and also minimizing my guess on the outcome of this practical.