Lab Report

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Methods Data were collected in September and November 2017 at the Elk Valley Preserve and Field Station in Banner Elk, NC. The preserve is located at 36°10'17.2"N 81°54'45.9"W, in Avery County in western North Carolina. The area is a mixed deciduous forest at an altitude of 1,127 m above sea level. Data were collected in early fall, during which temperatures average around 10-18 degrees Celsius. Summers in Banner Elk are typically mild, with temperatures averaging 21 degrees Celsius, and winters are cold and snowy, averaging near zero degrees Celsius. During the months of September and November there is an overall average precipitation of 12-25cm. To begin, I created 18 20-cm by 20-cm leaf litter bags. The bags were made of one-mm window…show more content…
Overall, the control group did lose the most amount of mass after 49 days of decomposition (Figure 1). Furthermore, both of the treatment groups lost approximately 4% less mass than the leaf litter that was not sprayed (Table 1). Discussion Due to the lack of significance, my hypothesis that the fungicide and insecticide will affect the process of decomposition and lead to a higher amount of leaf litter compared to the control leaf litter is rejected. Both of the treatment groups lost a slightly higher percent of mass compared to the control group, which supports the idea that detritivores like insects and fungi aid in the process of decomposition (Baldrain and Vorísková 2013). Insects and fungi are only two types of detritivores that may be present in an ecosystem. Both organisms consume organic matter, helping to break down and recycle nutrients like carbon and nitrogen back into the environment to be utilized by other organisms. The results of this study indicate that insects and fungi do not play a significant role in the rate of decomposition in leaf litter. However, there are many more factors that do affect decomposition that may be related to the findings in this experiment. Beyond insects and fungi, there are more organisms that consume detritus and aid in decomposition. Earthworms have been shown to have a significant impact on the rate of decomposition, as they feed on decaying

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