Distribution of Lchen and moss on the trees of the Forest of Oxford

This topic submitted by Max Comisar and Jamie Wells (wellsjc@miamioh.edu) at 8:48 pm on 12/15/99. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Nicholson

We are going to study how where lichen grows on any given tree in the temperate deciduous forest of Oxford is directly correlated with the abundance of growth. We are going to set up mesh nets on the trees where we see any lichen growth and measure the percentage in square inches of coverage of that particular region of the tree. We will then interpret the data that our class and ourselves collect and interpret this data and use it to test our hypothisis.
Hypothesis: Lichen tends to grow more abundantly on the north side of any given tree.

Through this experiment, we plan to prove our hypothesis right or wrong. We plan to gain a better understanding of the statview program by entering in our extensive data, then running a T-test and finding p-values to prove our data's significance. The results of our data will bear a p-value of under .05, thus proving its significance. By finding out where on the tree lichen grows we can make further hypotheses about what kind of environment the lichen flourishes in and tends to prefer. From there, we can go on to interpret our data as proving our hypothesis right or wrong. We would like to establish a basis for understanding the growth and distribution of lichen in order to further our study in our upcoming Discovery Labs.
We feel that this is an interesting lab, as we feel we are gaining a better understanding of what goes on in the rich ecosystem found here on Miami University's Western Campus. We have both studied ecosystems before and are excited for this opportunity to look at a familiar species in a new light. We both grew up around woods and always noticed the funny green things that grew on trees and wondered what they were and why they grew there.

How does this relate:
This relates to the bigger picture because lichens are essential organism to understand if one would want to study the ecosystem here on Western Campus. They are what are known as a primary producer, which means they convert light energy into a food source. They are one of the building blocks of the vast forms of life that we see everyday. The food chain starts with primary producers, so understanding how they work is vital to understanding all the other organisms. Many people all over the world study Lichen, as shown by our websites, in order to better their understanding of how organisms relate to one another. Finding out where on the tree lichens grow can give us insight to whether or not weather patterns or other external forces influence where the Lichen grows. If external forces do in fact influence the growth of Lichen in certain areas of the tree and not others, then why? And how does this happen? Both intriguing questions to ask and involve the bigger picture that is the ecosystem or even the biome that this Lichen can be found in. Now we are given this opportunity to put these curiosities to rest and get some answers about Lichen. Exciting Websites about Lichen:

Materials and Methods:
We plan on taking mesh style netting and wrapping the tree so as not to hinder any of the external factors that may tamper with the validity of the experiment. Then marking off north, south, east, and west quadrants with color coated tacks. Red tacks delineate the east quadrant, green tacks delineate the south quadrant, White tacks delineate the west quadrant, and blue tacks delineate the north quadrant. We will use this procedure to mark off ten trees. It does not matter what trees they are as long as lichen is growing on them somewhere. We will mark off an equal area of each tree to take our data. For example, a tree of large diameter will have a mesh of shorter vertical height, while a tree of smaller diameter will therefore have a taller mesh. The math will be done to make this a true data set and make the areas truly equal. We will record our results and enter them into statview.
The column names will be east, west, north, and south. We will provide the frequency distribution statistics, and a histogram to interpret them. We will perform a paired t-test to gain a p-value and find out if our statistics are significant. Then if our data is significant we will perform a Post-Hoc Fischer test to indicate where the significance is in the data.
We thought a good way to incorporate the class was by having them help set up the mesh netting on the trees and also help in counting the lichen in each quadrant.

Table 1: Distribution
East West North South

For Further Info on this Topic, Check out this WWW Site: Lichen.com .
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