Light Intensity on the Size of Bracken Frond Leaves

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Site: Rushey Plain
Grid Reference: TQ 415 985
Hypothesis:
H0- there is no significant difference between the light intensity and the frond size of Bracken leaves between Rushey Plain 1 and Rushey Plain 2
H1- there is a significant difference between the light intensity of the frond size of Bracken leaves between Rushey Plain 1 and Rushey Plain 2
Research and rationale:
This study will aim to find a significant relationship between light intensity on the size of Bracken frond leaves and if varying amounts of light will cause a relative increase or decrease in the frond sizes of the Bracken plant. It will more over, measure if there is a more abundant, healthier growth of Bracken in shaded areas in comparison to areas with little to no overhead canopy.
Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) is a type of fern that is found across the world. The growth of Bracken is known to be affected by a number of factors including the pH of the soil, soil moisture, light intensity, humidity and air temperature.
Bracken is said to grow in relatively acidic soil and is less competitive when the pH is higher. Likewise, Bracken is a good indicator of how moist the soil is and similarly how well drained. Bracken does not flourish well in water- logged areas and so therefore, most areas containing Bracken will have a good drainage system. The type of soil does not tend to affect Bracken growth, where it can be grown in normal soil, as well as sandy soil and heavy clay such as in forests. Bracken is more prominent in areas of high humidity and there is an increase in its growth were temperature’s are above eight degrees Celsius- as it is during the winter months that the leaves with a lack of chlorophyll, fail to photosynthesis as much and thus turn yellow/brown, wilt and fall off. They become Bracken litter on the floor and can still be seen lying there even 12 months after, when new shoots and spores have begun to develop.

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