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The advantages of a belt transect

Asked by Louise_ | Aug 29, 2002 | A Level > Geography > Homework
Louise_
Louise_ asks:

Iam soon going to be recording what species are present along a transect. I need to know why it is better to use a belt transect rather than a line transect.

etutor answers:
Hi Louise,

Both methods are fine. If you use a line transect, make it around 300-500m long and sample plants along its length. You can’t possibly record them all, so chooses a sampling method. This has the added advantage of allowing you to justify WHY you chose one sampling technique as opposed to another.

Systematic sampling is the best for this. It means sampling along the transect at regular intervals. If you choose 50m intervals, 350m would mean selecting seven sites to collect data.

After you have measured this out, why not use a 1m quadrat and throw it randomly, identifying all the plants within this 1m section? A frame quadrat, where the Im is divided into equal sections is brill for determining the proportions of plant cover

You could use random sampling, but your points could end up grouped together, wich would not allow you to see changes along your transect, or you could use stratified sampling, in which you sample from within particular areas. This is not as good here as you could choose the areas wrongly and not see the actual changes well enough.

If you do a belt transect, there will be even more plants that you could identify! Again, you will have to sample from within the belt, perhaps choosing a im section every 50m in which to identify your plants.

Whichever you choose (On balance, I’d go for the line transect and the quadrat analysis) talk about the other method and say WHY you chose it. That personal selection of technique and the justification for it is crucial to good marks at “A” Level, do the same with the stats.

Good luck.

PS If you want me to check your work as you go along, I will do - just send it to studyzones.com. Or if you want to tell me the kind of area you are about to study, I will be able to give you some recording tips.

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Louise
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