St. Hubert School 2008
St. Hubert School
8201 Main St
Chanhassen, MN 55317
Are They Colorblind?
My experiment tests how the color of salvia flowers affects the number and kinds of pollinators that are attracted to the salvia. It also tests to see how varying the time during the summer or different times of day affect the number and kinds of pollinators that are attracted to each salvia plant. I accomplished this by going to the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, MN. At the arboretum, I found four different colored salvia plants. The salvia was colored white, blue, purple, and plum. First, I printed out tables in which to record the number and species of pollinators. I then went to the first salvia, which was white, and filled out my table. After ten minutes I stopped counting the pollinators and went to the next salvia, which was blue. I did this for each of the colors three times over all, first going to the white, than to the blue, than on to the purple and lastly on to the plum. The data I collected over the three total days showed that white colored salvia had the most total pollinators attracted to it, although the blue colored salvia was very close. I also found that Diptera, or flies, is probably the most common pollinator you would find landing on a salvia plant. Based on my data I was also able to determine that depending on the color of salvia, different points during the summer the salvia are at their peeks. The hypothesis that best illustrates my experiment's outcome states that white and blue colored salvia plants will have a greater number of diverse species compared to salvia plants that are colored purple or plum. There might be a few errors in this experiment. I might not have counted all the pollinators I saw or I may have counted some twice. As I was counting the broad categories of insects I was seeing, I found that it was dominated by just a few species. I hope to continue doing research on pollinators for experiments based on my results in this experiment in the future.
Gabi H, Sarah M, Erik S, Kelly S, Hannah S, Ali G
Twelve groups in our class put together a deli container cage with one 5th instar caterpillar. Half of the class got two fresh leaves and the other half got two frozen leaves of milkweed to place in the container. We measured the area of the leaves in cm2 before putting them in the cage. Next we put the cage in normal light. Then we measured the milkweed they ate each day to collect two days worth of data. We wanted to find out ?How does fresh and frozen milkweed affect the amount of milkweed eaten by 5th instar caterpillars?? Then after the second day we set up the cage again. One 5th instar ate on average 41cm2 of fresh and 42cm2 of frozen milkweed per day.
Some errors might have occurred in measuring the cm2 of milkweed and that six of the caterpillars started to pupate the 2nd day so we didn?t use that data. Also some went into the ?J? stage. I learned that caterpillars really don?t grow more as 5th instars on fresh or frozen milkweed they may not however be able to live their whole larval stage on frozen milkweed. This would be another question we could ask.
In my experiment I wanted to see how the number and species of insects change throughout the summer season on common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). I went to Spring Peeper Meadow for nine weeks during the summer and recorded all the insects I saw on 50 common milkweed plants. I found that the 6th week of my data had the most insects. This was on August 16, 2008. There were 2943 insects on 50 plants! That's an average of 58.86 on each plant. Aphids always made a big difference in my data. There were 2702 aphids on week 6. Without aphids the average number of insects on a plant was 4.82. Other insects that I found in great abundance were milkweed beetles, ants, beetles, and gnats/flies. The number of insects per plant increased steadily through week six. It then plummeted for the rest of my study. The last two weeks had less then one insect per plant. One of the uncertainties in my project was the weather. It stayed the same most of the time but occasionally there was a change. This project was very rewarding. I learned a lot about the milkweed plant and about the insects that live on the plant throughout the summer.
In my experiments, I placed newly hatched monarch larvae in 5 single cages, a cage with 5 larvae in it and a cage with 10 larvae. I kept track of their growth by length in millimeters and their development by instar stages. I fed them common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) in equal amounts each day. After they emerged into adult butterflies, I measured their wing length. I wanted to discover how the number of monarch larvae in a container affects their growth and develpment.
The monarch caterpillars that were in a cage with 10 larvae grew and development the fastest. The monarch larvae that lived singly grew and developments shlowest. The final length in the cage of 10 averaged 49 mm, in the cage of 5 the average was 46 mm and the single cage was 45. The difference between the single cages and the cage with 10 was only 4 mm.
I also measured the amount of time it took for them to complete their life cycle. I found that the larvae in the cage with 10 and 5 pupated 1 day earlier than the larvae living singly. My results then support my first hypothesis that was the cage with 10 larvae would grow faster than the others. I might, however, consider the null, because there was only the 4 mm difference in size and a day in development among all of the cages.
The results I have found may vary because the cages the larvae were living in singly were slightly differenct from the others. They were ice cream pails instead of 6 quart containers. I learned how to conduct a science experiment, and that monarch larvae develop as fast when the live together, perhaps slightly faster.
Dragons of the Sky
I chose to do this project because I find dragonflies and their behavior extremely interesting. So this summer I wanted to learn more about them and study them, so I did this observational study.
My question was �How does the location (marsh (Spring Peeper Meadow) or lake (Lake Minnetonka)) affect the number of dragonflies and the species of dragonflies present throughout the summer?�. I went to the 2 locations on 5 different days in June, July, and August and observed the dragonflies in their habitat. I recorded the date, weather, time of day, number of dragonflies spotted, the name and number of each species found, the location and area in that location, behavior of the odonata, and any other important observations.
I found that there was a greater variety and abundance of odonata at the marsh (Spring Peeper Meadow) than at the lake (Lake Minnetonka). At the marsh, I found 49 dragonflies and 14 species (plus unidentified species). At the Lake, I found 13 dragonflies. At the marsh, I found 11 different species, not counting the unidentified species. At the lake, I found 3 different species. At the marsh, I found black meadowhawks, white-faced meadowhawks, cherry-faced meadowhawks, common green darners, 4 spotted skimmers, slaty skimmers, blue variables, a few unidentified yellow juvenile meadowhawks, 12 spotted skimmers, variegated meadowhawks, a dot-tailed whiteface, and 7 unidentified species. At the lake, I found stygian shadowdragons, a prince baskettail, and common green darners. The only dragonfly that was found in both places was the common green darner.
I made some other interesting observations. The most dragonflies were found at noon at Spring Peeper and at nighttime at Lake Minnetonka. The most common dragonfly species I found was the 12 Spotted Skimmer, though I found none at Lake Minnetonka. The most abundant species at Lake Minnetonka were the Stygian Shadowdragons. I also observed an interesting behavior: 5 Stygian Shadowdragons at Lake Minnetonka and four 12 Spotted Skimmers at Spring Peeper were all flying together and then would separate. Then they would come back and fly together again. This was all done high in the air. This behavior may be a mating ritual, but I emailed Kurt Mead, the author of a dragonfly book, �Dragonflies of the North Woods� and he will hopefully respond soon.
I had a few uncertainties. It was hard to see the dragonflies at night, so a few were hard to identify. Also, I could have scared dragonflies away or not spotted them.
The findings of my experiment are very important. Since dragonflies are indicator species, their presence shows the health of an area. So you could conclude from my results that Spring Peeper Meadow is the healthier environment. This could be because Lake Minnetonka has lots of human activity, including boaters and people who reside on the lake, who also change the land and also get rid of plant life, which is important to dragonflies. Also, it will help people monitor the dragonfly population in these 2 environments and maybe get people more interested in preserving the environments of these wonderful creatures.
Icy Hot Monarchs
Maddie K, Alex C
In our experiment we tested the growth rate of monarchs from egg to butterfly in different conditions. We did this because we wanted to know how different conditions could affect the growth and survival rates of monarchs in nature and if people are raising them. That way, if people raise them, they will know what temperatures and how much light they should be placed in for optimum growth. The conditions we tested were hot temperatures in the light and dark, cold temperatures in the light and dark, room temperature in the light and dark and near a fan in the light and dark.
For this experiment, we first placed 2 plastic shoeboxes in each condition that we were testing. Each shoe box had a damp paper towel at the bottom and milkweed leaves with 5 eggs that had just been laid that same day. We changed the milkweed every other day. We tested them in heat/light by putting two containers in an aquarium that had a heat pad on it. For the two heat containers in the dark, we covered them with a cloth before we placed them in the aquarium with the heating pad. We tested the ones in cold temperatures by setting up the containers the same way as the heat, but placing them in the fridge instead. For the two containers in the light, we shined a large flashlight on them while they were in the fridge. For the containers at room temperature, we had had the same container set-up but we just placed them in a normal room. One set was placed in a dark and the other in the light. The last condition was the fan. Once again we set up the containers the same way, in a room temperature room with fans set up close by. We kept the light on in the room but covered the containers that were supposed to be in the dark so that the light would not shine on them.
Our results were very interesting. After 27 days, the eggs in the heat/dark conditions that had not already died or escaped had all turned into butterflies. The average length of the butterfly�s wings was 48.8 mm. After 39 days, all of the eggs in the heat/light condition had turned into butterflies except for the two that had escaped. The average length of the butterfly�s wings was 50.5 mm. Though it took longer for them to turn into monarchs, they were slightly larger. We think that the heat/light may have taken longer because the combination of these two conditions could have dried the leaves up quicker. After 23 days, the eggs in the room temperature/dark were all butterflies. The average length of the wings was 47.8 mm. In the light, after 21 days, the eggs had all turned into butterflies. The average length of the wings was 48 mm. With this data, the averages were very close in the light and the dark but unlike the heat, the light went two days quicker. In the fan/dark conditions, all of the larvae died as 1st or 2nd instars. In the light, one larva died as a 1st instar and seven died as 2nd instars. Of the remaining two larvae, one died as a �J� and one died as a chrysalis. Our fridge temperature was too cold for any of them to even hatch.
There were a few uncertainties in our experiment. The first is one having to do with our fan condition. All of the larvae in this part of the experiment died. We have come to the conclusion that the death of these larvae may not have been caused by the wind on our larvae but maybe that the wind dried up the milkweed leaves quickly so they didn�t have much to eat all the time. The second uncertainty we had was that we both didn�t use milkweed from the same place so the health of the milkweed plants could have varied. That may have affected the growth rate as well.
We learned that monarch butterflies survive best at room temperature although they grow slightly larger in hotter temperatures. Also we learned that they do not hatch in the fridge which tells us that the extreme temperatures here during the winter would kill them. Another thing we learned was that light and dark had no great impact on the growth and survival rate of these insects. In the heat, the larvae in the dark grew much faster than the ones in the light. For the ones at room temperature, the larvae in the light went a little bit faster than the ones in the dark. For the fan, the ones in the dark died earlier that the ones in the light. That information led us to conclude that there is no clear amount of light that affects the growth of the monarchs.
Keys to SUCCESSion
Aly A, Kaylee B
In this observational experiment, we sprayed Round-up at 6 different plots at Spring Peeper Meadow, each 1m2 in size. We weeded and cleared all the plots. We planted 330 seeds in the three A (seeded) plots and non in the three B (non seeded) plots. We removed excess plants and cover in mulch. We watered 1 gallon on each plot for 8 weeks along with the rain that fell. Every week recorded criteria relating to our questions such as plant height, number of species, ect. In week 7 we mowed the overgrown plants in on A and B plot that had been overgrown with foxtail.
Our questions were as follows, How does having native seed plots vs. non seeded plots affect the succession of the plots? Which seeded plot (A1, A2, A3) had the greatest amount of seeds emerge? Which A plot had the greatest amount of foxtail? What is the pattern in prairie plant succession over an 8 week period of time? What is the difference in succession between a seeded plot and non seeded plot?
In Question 1 we accepted the null hypothesis based on the data of the seeded or non seeded graph, the overall totals were relatively close and could not make the answer clear. There was 117.5 plants in the seeded plots and 116.13 in the non seeded plots. In Question 2 we agreed with the second hypothesis due to the immense amount of foxtail in A2. It was also close because plot A2 had 22.8 plants and A1 almost had that amount but fell short. In Question 3 we again chose the null hypothesis because the emergence of seeds didn't differ greatly from seeded and non seeded plots.
One uncertainty in this experiment was a drought which decreased the number and emergence of seeds. We learned about many species of plants in the meadow and that succession varies even in closely placed plots.
Let There Be Light!
Anne V, Franchesca C
We wanted to find out if light and dark would affect the amount of milkweed 5th instar caterpillars ate. To investigate this we placed 7 caterpillars in a cabinet to simulate darkness or nighttime, and we placed 6 caterpillars under a grow light to simulate daytime or lightness. We measured the area of the milkweed leaves we gave each caterpillar on day 1, and repeated this measurement on day 2 to see how many cm2 they ate.
Our results indicated that the caterpillars kept in the light ate more than the caterpillars kept in the dark. On average, a single caterpillar ate 80 cm2/day of milkweed in the light, and a single caterpillar ate an average of 62cm2/day of milkweed in the dark.
Some uncertainties in this experiment are the difficulties of measuring cm squares of milkweed on a grid, and the early entrance of some caterpillars into the pupa stage.
We learned that caterpillars eat more during the day, perhaps because they are more active in the daytime.
This past summer, I participated in a Monarch Larvae Monitoring group. We went to a meadow that monarchs have been visiting for years, and kept track of the plants we found immature monarchs on. We recorded the characteristics of these plants on special data sheets. We also kept track of the average milkweed plant characteristics each week. We did this once a week, for fourteen weeks. I went further and decided to analyze our results from the summer and compare the average milkweed plant to the plants female monarchs laid their eggs on. Some characteristics seemed very different in range. Because of this, I decided to do an experiment to back up my field work.
During the summer, I discovered that monarchs seemed to prefer to lay their eggs on plants shorter than the average stem of milkweed. Monarchs lay their eggs on plants about 52 cm. on average, whereas, the average milkweed plant is about 62 cm. This was the most significant difference in my calculations, so I experimented on height. However, their was a difference in condition, herbivory/disease, number of other milkweed plants in one meter squared, and presence of buds, flowers, or seedpods.
For the lab experiment, I set up a 2 x 2 x 2 foot cage. I set up four different milkweed plants in the cage, two tall (usually about 61 cm.) and two short (about 28 cm.). At about 11:00 AM, I released 5 female monarch butterflies, ready to lay eggs, into the cage. At about 5:00 PM, I came back, and counted the eggs on the milkweed. I repeated the process three times.
Looking at my tests, it seems that monarchs by far prefer the tall plants. Maybe it is not height, per say, but the age of the plant. In the wild, the plants were taller and older than those cut for the caged experiment. Looking at my overall data, I accept my first hypothesis; the monarch female uses specific characteristics to determine where she should lay her eggs.
There were some errors that could have occurred in the field or in my experiment. First of all, when we were monitoring in the field people could’ve made wrong measurements or estimates. On the first test day of the lab, it was windy, and two of the milkweed plants tipped over. The monarchs may have maneuvered around those plants when laying their eggs.
I learned so much over the summer in the field, and with my experiment. The first day I was monitoring, I could barely distinguish milkweed! With this information, we could start to determine the type or condition of milkweed a monarch female likes to lay her eggs on. If the weather would’ve allowed it, I would’ve liked to test other characteristics, such as buds, flowers, or seedpods, however, the monarchs had to migrate.
In my experiment, I placed 10+ monarch caterpillars which hatched from eggs at the same time in each of my three cages. In the first cage I placed leaves from the top layer of the common milkweed plant, or the first 8 milkweed leaves. In the second cage I placed leaves from the middle layer of the plant, or the next 8 leaves. In the third cage I placed leaves from the bottom layer of the common milkweed plant, or the bottom 8 leaves. Every other day during the caterpillars� larva stage, I measured 10 caterpillars randomly from the cage and I gave them fresh common milkweed leaves. I wanted to find out how the different layers of common milkweed, (top, middle, and bottom) affect the growth of a monarch caterpillar.
The monarch caterpillars that were in the cage that ate the middle layer of milkweed and the bottom layer of common milkweed grew more than the caterpillars in the cage that ate the top layer of the common milkweed. The caterpillars that ate the top layer of the common milkweed grew an average of 30.64mm from when they were a first instar caterpillar until they were fifth instar caterpillar. The caterpillars that ate the middle layer grew an average of 33.95mm throughout their lifetime. The caterpillars that ate the bottom layer of common milkweed grew an average of 35.09mm throughout their lifetime. Therefore, my data supports my second alternative hypothesis, that the monarch caterpillars grew more by eating the middle layer of the common milkweed.
I had one major uncertainty when I was doing this experiment. My first one was that I started out with 12 caterpillars in each of my cages. I was going to only measure the first 10 that I saw but after a while, the caterpillars in the cage with the top layer of common milkweed were dying. At the end there was only 7 caterpillars left in that cage. Next time I would probably put more caterpillars in each cage so even if some died, I would still have 10 to measure.
One thing new that I learned was how monarch caterpillars grow when eating the different layers of the common milkweed. I always thought that they grew better when eating the top layer of the common milkweed because that is where the adult monarch usually lays her eggs but according to my data; the caterpillars grew the least when eating the top layer of the milkweed and grew the best when eating the middle layer of the common milkweed!
Elise B, Nicole K, Cate S
In this experiment six groups used a large container, and six groups used a small container. After tracing the milkweed on grid paper we put two milkweed leaves in the container. Then, we placed the fifth instar caterpillar inside of the container. We put all of the small and large container on the back table in the back of the room, so they have plenty of daylight. We wanted to find out after measuring them twice. How does putting a fifth instar caterpillar in a large or small container affect the amount of milkweed the caterpillar eats. In the large container on the second day the caterpillar ate 56 cm squared. On the third day it ate 20 cm squared. Lastly, for the average the caterpillar ate 49 cm squared. For the small container on the second day the caterpillar ate 38 cm square. Lastly, for the average the caterpillar ate 39 cm square. I accept the hypothesis is that they ate more in the large container than they ate in the small container. We think that the caterpillar ate more in the large container than in the small container because they had more room to move around. We think that they didn�t like it in the small container because the food was in their face. There was more room in the large container. One problem that we ran in to was that some of the caterpillars turned into chrysalises. Another problem was that we didn�t measure cm squared accurately. Because of these problems we couldn�t collect all of the correct data. We learned quite a few things from this experiment!! We learned how to collect data, and pay attention to what we were doing. Something that we would do differently was pick a fourth instar so that it wouldn�t go into a chrysalis right away. Also, try to collect all of the data on one sheet without messing it up.
Monarch Dream House
In the first part of my project I put different amounts of monarch caterpillars in different size containers. I then recorded the rate of growth. For the second part of my experiment I tested what type of surface that monarch larvae preferred to make their chrysalis on. Both of these outcomes are important to know when raising a monarch caterpillar.
Going into more depth of my experiment, I had to perform many steps. First I had to get 35 monarch eggs laid on the same day. Then I got the containers that I was going to use in my experiment. I had 5 quart size deli containers and 8, 6 quart size plastic shoe boxes. I put 1,5, or 10 monarch larva in either a plastic shoe box container or a deli container, changed the milkweed every and cleaned the containers every two days. For the second part of my experiment I randomly hot glue gunned 9 different surfaces to the top of a ten gallon aquarium tank cover. My surfaces were brown bag, plastic, cotton squares, sand paper, screen, and tin foil. I put the cover on my tank and watched where the larva went.
In the first part of my experiment I found that the caterpillars in the deli containers grew the fastest and the largest. When the larva in these containers were in 5th instars the average length was 41 mm. For the other part of my experiment I found that the caterpillars liked the sand paper best for making their chrysalis, and disliked the cotton squares, paper bag, and plastic.
Some uncertainties that I have are that the freshness of the leaves could have had an effect on the rate of growth. I tried to make the freshness of the leaves equal in my experiment.
Some things that I could have done differently would have been to use different milkweed. I could have used swamp milkweed instead of common milkweed. I also could have used a different surface such as tile or wood.
Lucy N, Taylor R
In our experiment, we took Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches and tested their preferences using their senses. We used a square box and put one hole on the bottom of each side. We then placed four clear plastic tubes into the holes. The cockroaches were put into the middle of the box, where they would roam into the tubes for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes, we would count the cockroaches in the tubes, and the ones not in tubes. We would also measure how far into a tube, or how close to a tube the cockroaches went. We wanted to find out how different conditions related to touch, smell, sight, and temperature would affect the preferences shown by the sixteen Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches.
In our Wet vs. Dry experiment, the cockroaches preferred dry sand and soil. In the experiment with different mediums of soil, lizard litter, sand, and woodchips, they preferred soil. In our controlled experiment where all tubes were empty, they liked tube three. After our Light vs. Dark experiment, we found that the cockroaches preferred light/dark and dark in the tubes equally. In our food experiment, the cockroaches preferred the tube with radishes over kohlrabi, carrots, and apples. When testing different temperatures, they liked cold and cool the same. In our height experiment, they preferred only one block. When we tested their preferences of different colors, the cockroaches liked white over red, blue, and yellow. When testing which scent they preferred, they chose the smell of almond extract over vanilla extract. In our experiment See vs. Smell, they preferred to use sight.
Some of our uncertainties could be that we measured wrong, the position of the tubes, and what hole they were in. Another uncertainty is the temperatures varied in some experiments besides the temperature experiment.
We learned that cockroaches overall seem to have a preference over one variable to another. Other times, they were oblivious to our efforts. We found that some cockroaches moved through most experiments, and some were not very active. If we were to do this experiment again, we might do different or less experiments. We might test if there is a difference between adult and baby cockroaches, and their preferences.
In my experiment I had to arrange many different scenarios to allow myself to find as much information as I could about weevils. What I did throughout this experiment started out with me raising eggs, larvae, pupae, and, of course, adult weevils. Since I had the lifecycle of the weevils occurring right in my home, I viewed it under a microscope. I also surveyed 125 common milkweed plants in a restored meadow each week to observe the weevil density. At the same spot I would survey 20 common milkweed plants in three distinct areas of this restored meadow, for weevil trough density.
I wanted to find plenty of information. For the first part of my experiment I wanted to discover the basic characteristics of the lifecycle of common milkweed weevils found in the wild and raised in captivity. I also wished to find out the weekly density of weevil troughs on milkweed in three distinct areas of this restored meadow and the overall quality of the common milkweed plant that weevils use to make troughs and lay eggs. Another question that I hoped would be answered is what the weekly percentage of plants that had weevil troughs in the 3 habitats over the summer.
In this experiment, my data supports that the weevils went through a full metamorphosis. It also suggests the density of weevil troughs on common milkweed in three distinct areas of a restored meadow over the summer. These three areas are called the hillside, middle meadow, and pathway. The hillside had an average density of troughs per plant of 0.11. 0.56 was the average for the middle meadow, and the average of density over the summer for the pathway was 0.87. My data also supports the average percentage of plants with weevil troughs on July 22nd was 13%, and the average percentage for August 12th was 38%. September 1st had an average percentage of plants with troughs of 11%. Finally on September 22, 12% was the average percentage of plants with troughs. My information supports that common milkweed weevils do not make troughs and lay eggs on butterfly weed and swamp milkweed, too.
One uncertainty or potential errors in the experiment was that I didn�t collect data in the three distinct areas on an average bases. I sometimes collected data from a week to two weeks from the last time I had collected data. I learned a lot during this observation. For one thing, I learned a ton about collecting data and keeping everything organized. I have done experiments before, but none that was based on barely any information, and included so much information at the end. If I did this experiment again I would have collected data every other week for the whole summer, so my data would be more accurate.
Worms, Spice & Everything Nice
Morgan J, Keagan K
Earthworms are not native to Minnesota and have become a problem in many forests because they do not allow decomposition to occur naturally and make the soil fertile. The Great Lakes Earthworm project monitors earthworm populations around the state and uses dried mustard and water to bring earthworms up to the surface to count. We wanted to see if other substances could bring them up as effectively.
In our experiment we tested which organic skin irritant is most effective in the capturing of earthworms. The powdered herbs & spices we used were mustard, paprika, cayenne, chili and onion. We mixed the substances with water, poured it on soil, captured the worms and recorded the amount. We repeated this process three more times for each herb/spice.
When our experimenting was over this is what we could conclude. Mustard brought up the most worms, 50. The second most was onion, with 14, paprika with 7, chili with 3 and cayenne with 2 worms.
In every experiment there are uncertainties, here is one that we experienced. Although we poured the same volume of water and irritant on the soil, it may not have been enough to bring up the deep worms.
In this project we learned many new things we did not know before. For example, going into this project we did not know that things could irritate worms? We also discovered that the more trials you do the better, for instance, one trial you could have 3 worms come up for one spice and then you would never know if in the next trial you had 15 more worms come up. Another good question we could test is the different types of water, (distilled, carbonated, or salt) because we used tap water. Or we could use different types of mustard (honey mustard, Dijon, mustard seed, etc.) because we use powdered mustard. This was a great experience and we learned a lot of things that we didn’t know even existed.