Lewis and Clark in Washington
Shrub Steppe Habitat

Plant and Animal Data Collection Procedures

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Random Hoop Toss
Hula-Hoop for each team
(borrowed from the PE teacher)
10 m Square
1 m tape or string for each team
4 stakes to mark the corners of the 10 m square
Hoop Transect
Hula-Hoop for each team
Meter tape
50 m tape and 2 stakes
Daubenmire Plot
Daubenmire plot frame
Meter tape
50 m tape and 2 stakes

We explain four procedures for collecting plant and animal data below. Each procedure, except the random hoop toss, allows for the study to be replicated from season to season or year to year. The 10 meter square plot and the random hoop toss both provide ways to gather data for a large area. The hoop transect and Daubenmire plot frames provide ways to focus in on more precise data collection. After reviewing the four procedures, you and your classmates need to decide which methods will best meet your research needs.

Random Hoop Toss

The random hoop toss provides a simple format for focusing on plant life and/or animal life within a limited study area. You or your teammate gently toss the Hula-Hoop backwards over your head. You walk to the spot where the hoop landed. It is your responsibility to sketch all the things observed within your hoop. This procedure is repeated by each team three-six times within the assigned study area. The data for each hoop toss is then summarized to determine the dominant species of plants and animals for the study site. Why is it important to do random sampling? Should you count specimens only partially inside the hoop? You and your classmates will need to agree on some "ground" rules.

10 m Square

The 10 m square is another technique used to collect the number of species in an assigned area. You will need four stakes and several measuring tapes or some string to mark off the 10 m square. This technique may be more appropriate for an area with less ground vegetation and larger vegetation. Can you think of a way to keep track of the number of different species of plants you've observed? Are you able to see signs of insects and other animals? Be sure to document those findings, also. The results from each 10 m square should be compiled and summarized. How can you document a 'good find' that isn't inside the 10 m square? (For an added challenge, the 10 m square can be "plotted" N-S using a compass and divided into quadrants for teams to gather data).

Hoop Transect

The hoop transect method uses Hula-Hoops, 1 meter tapes and a 50 m tape and two stakes. We will assign you and your partner a particular plot to sketch and document. This technique will help you focus on the plants, insects and animal signs within a given plot. How far apart will you need to be to effectively sample an area? How can you document your location so that you and your classmates can return at another time to replicate this study? Why would it be important to be able to visit the same exact plot at another time?

Daubenmire Plot

The Daubenmire plot frame provides another more detailed way for you to focus on the dominant plant species. You can also document insect and animal evidence. Each team of two-three will need a plot frame and a meter tape. We will assign plots in a manner similar to that of the hoop transect. Be sure to label your exact location along the 50 m tape. Our class will decide how to record our observations of ground cover for each decimeter square (10 cm X 10 cm). Will you use 10%, 20% . . . or >50% or <50%? Will you do a sketch, name the dominant species or collect a sample for each section of the frame? How do you document a 10 cm square with no vegetation? How can our class summarize this data? When do you think scientists would use this precise data?

   Daubinmire Plot

 Enlarged Daubenmire Frame

  Daubenmire Plot Site


Authors: Sue Hevland (hevlsu@ksd.org) and Nancy Sauer (sauena@ksd.org), Canyon View Elementary School, Kennewick, WA
Created for the NTEP II Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.
Web Maintainer: ed-webmaster@fnal.gov
Created: November 12,1998 - Updated: October 14,1999
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/ntep/f98/projects/pnnl/nsstudentrhoop10.shtml