Variation in vegetation: the heather hypothesis

Sample virtual transects to gather data on species of heather.

Background and nature of the task

This activity is one of five activities that form part of a virtual environmental field trip to the River Teign in the county of Devon, South West England. The activities can be studied separately or together. Further information can be found in the file at the bottom of this description.

Using virtual data collection, you will survey heather species and enter the data on to a spreadsheet and use it to plot graphs. Statistical analysis will then be used to interpret these data.

When you have completed this activity, you should be able to:

  • describe a method of vegetation sampling;
  • relate a vegetation pattern to variation in the physical environment;
  • appreciate how statistics can help in deciding whether a relationship is purely due to chance;
  • identify the link between topography, water movement, soil type and vegetation.


This activity will take you approximately 2.5 hours to complete.

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