Before students left for their extended holiday break, Mr. Green '11 took advantage of the warm fall weather and conducted a Quadrat Sampling Lab in his Marine & Environmental Science at the School's shoreline on Narragansett Bay.
Quadrat sampling is a useful field method in ecology for analyzing ecological communities or populations. Essentially, for non-motile or small organisms, it is easier to count them inside a frame called a quadrat that is placed randomly within a set area. If you assume that the quadrat is representative of the larger area that you want to study then you can extrapolate out things like population densities or biodiversity within that area. Students actually found distinct differences between quadrats placed further from the water and quadrats closer to the water at low tide. This is due to the fact that rocky shorelines are split up into zones based on the tides with different species patterns in each zone!
Casey '21 gained new knowledge during this lab: "I learned that zonation affects the distribution of species depending on how close they are to the water. When we placed each quadrat randomly we did not think at first that zonation would affect the similarities between them. After we collected the data, we performed a chi-square test; we found that it did affect the quadrats, and they each had to be accounted for separately."
The close proximity to the bay provides a hands-on approach to Marine Biology and Environmental Science, and Mr. Green works to incorporate real-life examples into his lectures. These discussions have helped Casey '21 enjoy this last term. "I have enjoyed writing environmental news discussions, in which each of us reads an article and reports how it has been relevant in what we learn in class," she said. "It has been interesting to see the many different areas of study that exist in marine biology and environmental science."
View a gallery of photos here