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Leaving certificate biology

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  1. Unit 1
    Ecology theory
    5 Topics
    1 Quiz
  2. Nutrient recycling
    4 Topics
    1 Quiz
  3. Ecological relationships and population dynamics
    2 Topics
  4. Human impact on the ecosystem
    2 Topics
  5. Study of a grassland ecosystem
    3 Topics
  6. Responses in the Flowering Plant
    4 Topics
    1 Quiz
  7. Unit 3
    Sexual reproduction in the flowering plant
    1 Topic
  8. The human reproductive system
    3 Topics
  9. The menstrual cycle
    2 Topics
  10. Pregnancy
    2 Topics
  11. The circulatory system
    4 Topics
  12. Blood
    5 Topics
  13. The heart
    5 Topics
Lesson 5, Topic 1
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Qualitative surveys

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Studying a grassland


  1. Map your area of study
  2. Identify any abiotic factors
  3. Qualitative study: Identify the flora and fauna of the area – using a key
  4. Quantitative study: Estimate the numbers of flora and fauna

Identifying fauna and flora

  • Fauna and flora can be identified with a key such as this
  • An identification keys helps you to identify organisms based on a series of questions and answers
  • Examples of grassland flora and fauna









White clover




Qualitative Survey

  • A qualitative survey records all species present in an ecosystem

Collecting plants

  • Plants can be easily seen and collection is not necessary

Collecting animals

Mammal trap

  • Bait attracts small mammals into box

  • Once they enter the trap door prevents exit

  • Bedding provides comfort

Pitfall trap

  • Involves simple metal can or plastic cup embedded in the ground and covered to prevent water entering

  • Bait is sometimes used

Cryptozoic trap

  • Shelter trap involving a piece of old wood, a log, or a large stone

  • Small animals like slugs and woodlice hide under a cryptozoic trap during periods of inactivity

Beating tray

  • A large sheet/plastic tray held under a tree or bush

  • The tree or bush is shaken gently

  • Insects fall onto tray and can be identified


  • Device ecologists use to pick up small organisms, like insects

  • Suck in the tube with the gauze on the end and place the other tube over the insect to be captured.

Sweep nets, insect nets, plankton nets

  • Have a lightweight aluminium frame

  • The net bags usually have curved tips to help prevent insects escaping

  • Plankton nets are long and very light designed to capture very small aquatic organisms

Tullgren funnel

  • Used for both dry and wet extraction of soil organisms from soil samples

  • A soil sample is placed in the removable upper part of the funnel

  • Heat and light from the lamp creates a temperature gradient of approximately 14°C in the soil sample

  • This stimulates the downward movement of soil arthropods, and similar organisms, through the gauze to a receiver attached to the base of the funnel