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Analysing the Data
Group Data Sheets
Vertical Profiles
Distribution Patterns
Using the Datbase
Studying the Data
 

Studying the Data
Species Distribution at Barwon Heads

Students could write a short report discussing the distribution pattern shown in their graphs. The following suggestions can be used as a guide.

     
  • Describe the patterns of distribution of the species recorded.
  • Offer an explanation of the distribution pattern you have described, remembering that upper limits of distribution are thought to be determined primarily by physical factors and lower limits primarily by biological factors.
  • Look for evidence of physical characteristics of the shore (see your profile) such as rockpools, steep rock faces or flat areas which could be linked to the distribution of some organisms.
  • Investigate the adaptations of species to explain where they are found.
  • Look for evidence of exclusion of one species by another from some areas.
  • Look for evidence of possible competition between different species for space, shelter, or food.
  • Look for evidence of predator/prey relationships influencing the distribution of some species. Remember that some predators may only be part of this community at high tide!
  • Look for examples of species which seem to occupy identical microhabitats. How might they affect each other?

Experimental Design

  • What are the limitations of surveying the rock platform once?
  • What are the benefits of considering the data collected by more than one group?
  • How does the data that your group collected differ from the averaged data from the database?

Application

  • How might the understanding of the distribution of organisms on the rocky shore be of use to people involved in managing these areas for the future?
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