Soil pH, moisture, temperature, and the rate at which water percolates into the ground have a direct affect on the plants that are capable of growing in the soil. The plants growing in a particular area influence the animals that are present in that area and all these factors combined have a direct influence of the biodiversity of the ecosystem. For example, the current weather conditions are affecting both soil temperature and soil moisture levels. The amount of sun, clouds, precipitation or air temperature on any given day can impact the many different factors that influence the biodiversity of an ecosystem. A healthy ecosystem with complex interactions between living and nonliving components starts with a healthy foundation...
Use the 250mL plastic bottle, Vernier LabQuest, pH sensor, and pH paper in your field box to determine the soil pH of your sample. Turn on your LabQuest and remove the pH sensor from the box. Plug in the pH sensor to any channel at the top of the LabQuest.
Unscrew the lid of the plastic bottle. Measure a heaping teaspoon of soil and pour it into the water inside the bottle. Vigorously shake the soil/water mixture for a minute or two until the water is cloudy. Allow the soil particles to settle to the bottom of the bottle (about 5 - 10 minutes) before taking any measurements. Once the particles have settled:
1. Tip the bottle gently to one side being careful not to stir up the soil particles that have settled to the bottom. Insert the pH paper into the liquid and wait about 10 seconds before removing the paper. Match the color of the pH paper with the proper color on the pH paper bottle. Record your findings in the "Soil pH using pH paper" blank below.
2. Insert the pH sensor into the bottle being sure not to touch the soil in the bottom of the bottle with the sensor! Click the green arrow collect button and collect data for 30 seconds. On the graph page, click the "Analyze", then "Statistics", then "pH". Look at the results and determine the average (or mean) of your data. Record your findings in the "Soil pH using sensor" blank below.