In our Berlese Funnel lab we sampled two different types of forest, deciduous and coniferous, both on our school campus. We set up multiple funnels in our classrooms with heat directly above them. After collecting leaf litter from our designated forest we placed them in a funnels above beakers of alcohol. We let them sit for two nights in a row and while in class checked for different organisms under microscopes. We calculated the different amount of species and how many there were of each.
Antonio Berlese was an Italian entomologist. He worked on pest insects (arthropods), usually those of fruit trees. Arthropods are the most successful animals on the planet. They make up over three-fourths of all currently known living and fossil organisms. But, many still remained undocumented. Berlese funnels are used for extracting arthropods from soil and litter samples such as our leaf litter. They are supposed to prove that insects that normally live in soil or litter will respond negatively to light. That is why we place the gooseneck lamp above the funnels. There are many different ways to make a Berlese funnel and you can also purchase them according to how big you would like them. An alternative to the Berlese funnel is a Winkler Sack. It is usually made of fabric and can be folded to take up even less space when not in use. They do not require a powered light source because without it the arthropods will still move downwards through the samples and eventually fall into a container of ethanol.
4 Flags index card tape measure clipboard field guide to trees and shrubs pencil and paper one-gallon ziplock bag poster board and making tape (Berlese funnel) gloves Laboratory Components: compound microscope isopropyl alcohol dissecting (binocular) microscope Berlese funnel (Constructed day one) depression slide gooseneck lamp petri dish ring stand pipet of dropper 250