University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Highland Elementary 2008

Highland Elementary
1700 Saunders
St. Paul, MN 55116

Year: 2008
Teacher(s): Eileen Cotter

Got Leaves?

Justine A, Arecelli M, Kat P

The question we wanted to answer with our research was:  "Will painted lady butterflies prefer their larvae host plant to lay their eggs on if given a choice?"

Hypothesis:  "If given a choice, the painted lady butterflies will choose their own larvae plant to lay their eggs on."

To test our hypothesis, we fed each group of larvae a different kind of host plant.  The plants we used were two kinds of mallow, sunflower, and thistle.  Once the butterflies emerged, the plan was to keep them separated according to which host plant they ate.  Each group will be given their own larvae host plant and two others and observe which plant they choose to lay their eggs.

Hornworms All Around

VanTou X, Andy T, Josh W

The question we wanted to answer is:  "How will the growth of tobacco hornworm larvae be affected by feeding them non-host food?"

Hypothesis:  The tobacco hornworm larvae will not eat the non-host food and will die.

We will feed each group of tobacco hornworm larvae different types of non-host food and feed one group their artificial diet.  We will observe each group of larvae to see how the larvae that are fed the non-host plants compare to those that are fed the artificial diet.

Pondering Pill Pollution

Christopher W, Axel L, Tate M

The question we want to answer is:  "How will pond water that is polluted with ibuprofen affect different types of pond organisms?"

Hypothesis:  The midge fly larvae will be the least affected by the pollution in the pond water.

We will use three different containers of pond water with approximately an equal assortment of organisms in each.  The organisms we will use are:  midge fly larvae, damselfly nymphs, copepods, daphnia, and planaria.  We will pollute one container with 100 mg of ibuprofen, one container with 1,000 mg of ibuprofen and leave one container unpolluted.  We will observe the number of living organisms remaining in each container after three weeks.

Predators of Death

Annie T, Drew B, Lillie G, Mihret Y

Question:  "Which insect will consume the largest portion of a mouse in three weeks?"

Hypothesis:  The dermestid beetle will consume the largest portion of a mouse in three weeks.

We will use three types of insects:  fly larvae, dermestid beetles/larvae, and carpenter ants.  First, we will weigh 3 mice, and cut open their abdomen to make a place for the insects to enter.  Next, we will put one mouse in a container with each type of insect, put the containers into an insulated cooler to hold in the smell of the decomposition, and observe for three weeks.  At the end of three weeks, we will weigh the mouse remains again to compare with the beginning weights to see which insect consumed the most.

Starve A Larva

Mariella C, Miranda W

Question:  "How will taking food away from cabbage butterfly larvae earlier than normal pupation time affect the size of the butterflies?"

Hypothesis:   "If the larvae live to become butterflies, their size will not be affected by taking the food away early."

We will have three groups of cabbage butterfly larvae.  The first group will be fed normally until they pupate.  The second group will be fed until three days before their average time to pupate.  The last group will be fed until five days before their average time to pupate.  When the butterflies emerge, we will measure the wingspan on each one and compare their sizes.


Odiciy M, Contessa B, Autumn M

Question:  "How will the amount of light on a sample of pond water containing several  organisms affect how many organisms survive after three weeks?"

Hypothesis:  "The predators in the dark sample of pond water will eat more and there will be less survivors than in the light one."

We will have two samples of pond water with approximately equal amounts of the following organisms:  damselfly nymphs, midge fly larvae, daphnia, planaria, and copepods.  We will cover one sample with aluminum foil on all sides, but letting normal room light enter at the top.  The other sample will be in a clear container that allows light to enter on all sides.  For three weeks, we will observe the number of organisms that are in each container to see which has the most survivors.

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