i am doing an A-level coursework on the effect of trampling on the plant stemless thistle on the Burford Spur, Box Hill TQ 175 520. I am measuring the length of thistle leaves, soil depth,PH and temperature in a trampled and untrampled area using random sampling. For this inv estigation i am not sure what scientific background information i need to address in my coursework i need help the only thing my teacher has told me is that the bacground information should include primary/secondary succesion. Could you please provide me with biological theory that i can research which is related to the title of this coursework?
Actually, I would disagree with your teacher. Primary successions is the succession of plants that develop on a completely 'virgin' substrate, i.e. one that has never been colonised before. That would certainly NOT be the situation in the habitat you are investihating. Secondary succession is the succession that occurs on damaged or disturbed soil. The trampling would damage the habitat and the plants that gorw back after the trampling would be a secondary succession. However, usually the trampoling continues, so that the secondary succession can't get started. The scientific knowledge you really need is about natural selection. Basically, the trampling kills most plants but thoise that are resistant to it will survive and breed, and so remain in the area. In areas further away from the path, there is less trampling so the surviving plants do not need to be so resistant, and you will get a different population surviving. Where there is no trampling, resistance to trampling is no selective advantage, and so another community of plants can survive. None of this is secondary succession, unless you have an area that used to be trampled and isn't any longer (e.g. has been fenced off to allow recovery).