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OPIHI: Introduction to Sampling

Field ecology is a great way to introduce students to scientific methodology, as well as to concepts like biodiversity, zonation, and invasion biology. It simply isn't possible to examine or count every organism in an area, but sampling using representative amounts or sections of an area to estimate the composition of a larger site, can be a challenging concept.

We have developed several techniques to help introduce students to sampling, and enable them to carry out studies of species richness and abundance. The first activity (Introduction to Sampling: Jellybeans) is an introduction to sampling in general and the power of the strategy. The second activity (Card Safari) is an introduction to sampling for diversity, followed by the third activity (Measuring Abundance with Transects and Quadrats) describes sampling for abundance.

OPIHI relies heavily on the power of sampling, and it is important that students understand and know how to use the sampling techniques to conduct their field work. Any and all of these techniques can be combined to plan and conduct a field study in a meadow, tidepool, beach, marsh, or even in the schoolyard. Even if they are not planning to conduct an extensive field study, it is important for students to think about how they might employ these techniques in a real-word situation, to think about why, when, and how scientists might want to use them.

Measuring abundance with transects and quadrats


Classroom sampling data sheets:

Courtyard sampling data sheets:

Pictorial Methodology Guide to Transects and Quadrats

Sampling in Cobble Areas

OPIHI: Our Project in Hawaii's Interdental - Contact: philippo@hawaii.edu