Population Distribution Pattern essay

The population distribution pattern of African marigolds growing in a 4 ft by 1. 5 ft plot in the author’s garden is studied in this report. The marigolds are classified according to color: “RED” for those with flowers ranging in color from orange to deep orange, and “YELLOW” for those with flowers ranging in color from yellow to orange. These were classified by site and their individual positions were plotted on a diagram with four units. From the diagram it can be seen that there are more yellows than reds, and that the marigolds follow a uniform pattern.

This implies that holding all other factors constant (i. e. the watering of the plants, retained moisture, exposure to the sun, etc. ), the soil of the garden is of almost constant quality for growing the plants, and that the plants have a required distance apart to grow. Introduction The members of a population of nonmoving organisms may be conveniently described by one of three population patterns, as described in the book by Smith & Smith (1998): random, uniform, and clumped.

These three distributions will be discussed in some detail in the Discussion of this report, in connection to the data gathered on the distribution of yellow and red African marigolds growing in a plot in the garden of the author’s mother. Marigold is the common name of plants belonging to any of 30 species belonging to the genus Tagetes of the family Asteraceae. Marigolds are annual herbs, and are native to southwestern North America, tropical America, and South America.

They have flowers ranging in color from yellow to dark red, which are found either as solitary flowers or in clusters, with finely-cut leaves on opposite sides of the stem, and leaf-like bracts forming a cup-shaped base below the flower head. African and French marigolds are commonly grown in gardens (Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 2005). African marigolds (T. erecta) are taller, reaching a height of up to 30-40 inches, while French marigolds only grow to 8-16 inches. Marigolds can grow in all but the coldest of climates (French Marigold, n. d. ).

African marigolds have flowers that are large and globular and measure up to 5 inches across (Flowers Encyclopedia, n. d. ). The marigolds are of interest because they were cultivated by the author as a young child, without any help from an adult. GardenGuides. com recommends that the plant seeds be spaced 8-16 inches apart when sown, depending on the variety, but this was not followed. As a result some seeds were planted close together, and their distribution pattern could hint on the characteristics of the soil and the garden environment, as well as the natural distribution of marigolds over a given area in the wild.

Methods The plot of ground where the author’s marigolds are growing is rectangular, measuring 4 feet by 1. 5 feet. This area was divided into 4 units measuring 2 feet by 9 inches. The plants are inspected by eye. Those bearing mostly yellow to yellow-orange flowers are counted under “YELLOW”, while those plants bearing mostly orange to deep-orange flowers are counted under “RED”. The number of yellows is counted, as are the reds, and their relative positions with respect to each other in the plot are indicated on the diagram shown in the Results section. Results

Figure 1. The population distribution diagram of red and yellow marigolds in a 4 feet by 1. 5 feet plot and the number of plants in each category Discussion The choice of plot size is predetermined by the size of the area planted with marigolds. The marigolds, as stated in the Introduction section, are chosen for studying because they were sown in a somewhat random manner, as the author had no knowledge of gardening when the plants were put on the ground, so an artificiality in the results of the plot had the plants been planted with more thought is somewhat avoided.

The choice of categories is based on the colors exhibited by the flowers growing in the plot. It would be best at this point to go into some detail on the distribution patterns studied in this report. Smith & Smith (1998) describe population distribution patterns as follows: Randomly distributed populations have individuals whose positions are independent of each other. An example cited by the authors is the spacing of trees of the same species in a forest canopy.

Individuals spaced more or less evenly in a given area are said to be uniformly distributed. This distribution arises due to some kind of territoriality or competition, as in the distribution of dens of prairie dogs competing for prey. For populations that are said to be scattered or distributed in clumps, some environmental stimulus can be inferred to be at work in the given area, and the distribution of individuals reflect their response to such stimuli. Clumped populations occur most frequently in nature.

From the plot shown in the Results section, it can be seen that yellow marigolds are more common than red marigolds, and also that marigolds follow a somewhat uniform pattern. All other factors held constant (i. e. the watering of the plants, retained moisture, exposure to the sun, etc. ), this result can be interpreted to mean that the soil of the garden is of almost constant quality for growing the plants, and that the plants have a required distance apart to grow.

It can also be inferred that, if the plot is 10 times larger or 1000 times larger, the pattern will still be the same, assuming that the same factors (soil quality, watering of the plants, retained moisture, exposure to the sun, etc. ) remains the same for all of the plants.. This study can be expanded in scope to include other plants covering larger areas (i. e. the distribution of a particular species of wild orchids in forest trees) without making many alterations to the basic concept.

Reference: Smith, R. L.& Smith, T. M. (1998). Elements of Ecology (4th ed. ). Menlo Park, California: The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2005). Marigold. (Vol. 7, pp. 846-847). Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. French Marigold. GardenGuides. com. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from http:/ /www. gardenguides. com/plants/info/flowers/annuals/marigold. asp#morebelow Flowers Encyclopedia (n. d. ). Retrieved July 13, 2009, from http://www. theflowerexpert. com/content/growingflowers/flowersandseasons/marigolds