Field ecology laboratory What to do on a rainy day

SELCER, K.W. *: Field ecology laboratory: What to do on a rainy day.

Field biology laboratories are intended to provide students with experience at conducting experiments under field conditions. However, actual conditions at the scheluled time of the class may not be suitable or desirable for field experiments. Therefore, laboratory exercises are needed that allow experiments to be conducted under simulated field conditions. A terrestrial field biology course is offered at Duquesne University in the Spring semester. The first two months of this class correspond with winter weather in Pittsburgh and therefore are not always amenable to field experiments. I employ a series of experiments which can be readily substituted for a field excursion if the weather is not suitable. These include: mark-recapture of flour beetles, migration (emigration/immigration) of sow bugs, and density and diversity of plants determined from line intersect and quadrat studies of artificial aerial maps. These substitute experiments have allowed us to learn the methods and principles of field ecology even under the most harsh conditions.

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