Design and complete a lab of your own choosing. It needs to be on an ecological topic

General Ecology

As part of the lab experience, you will design and complete a lab of your own choosing. It needs to be on an ecological topic; but as you have been learning this semester, ecology is a very broad field so you have a lot of options!
A list of suggested ideas is included below; you can use one of these ideas, modify an idea, or come up with something else entirely. Some are based on techniques that we’ve used already this semester; others will require learning a new (but simple) skill or statistical test.
Requirements Proposal: You need to submit a short document outlining your project and methodology by October 5 at class time. We strongly recommend talking to us before you submit this to get feedback on your project design. It will be graded out of 10 points: 2 points for your research question and 8 points for your detailed methodology, explaining both your field methods and how you plan to analyze your data. Your methodology may change once you actually get out into the field due to unforeseen circumstances, but you need to have a very good plan of what you are going to do beforehand.
Lab Report: A full lab report on your project is due November 25. Grading criteria for this report will be similar to previous reports, with some additional points possible (see Group Project Rubric). Your methods need to be complete and well written; results must include appropriate graphs and/or statistical tests. The discussion needs to show that you understand the ecological principles underlying your project.
Suggested Projects

Does the tree species composition differ between a floodplain and an upland site?

Is the Shannon-Weiner diversity index (for plants) higher for Warren Woods than it is for the woods behind the science department?

Does the number of birds visiting an established feeder vary with temperature or time of day?

Are large beech trees distributed in a clumped, random, or regular manner? Are maple trees (in the same forest) distributed in the same way?

Are there differences in soil nutrients and soil pH between beech-maple forests and floodplain forests?

Does the number of birds or number of bird species differ between “manicured” and “natural” parts of biology department property?

Are roadkill distributions related to landforms (e.g. streams)?

What is the distribution of limnetic (or benthic) organisms in Lemon Creek?

Is the behavior of dairy cows affected by changes in ambient temperature?

Does the plant species composition differ between north-facing and south-facing slopes in the I What is the distribution of non-native invasive shrubs in the woods?

Is there as significant difference in the species that us the Berrien Springs fish ladder (use the webcam)?

Is there a temporal (time of day) difference in fish using the BS fish ladder?

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