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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from St. Hubert School 2010

St. Hubert School
8201 Main St
Chanhassen, MN 55317

Year: 2010
Teacher(s): Cindy Petersen

Bees, Ants, and Milkweed Plants

Danielle G

I went to Spring Peeper Meadow in the Landscape Arboretum in from July 15 through August 14. I recorded the temperature, the weather, and the time and date. I collected data on 30 common milkweed plants. I would observe the plant and record any pollinators that were on the plant. I monitored the plant to record the number of umbels and pods. I recorded each umbel Green Bud, Greenish Pink Buds, Pink Buds, Pink Buds, Purple Flowers, Purplish Yellow Flowers, Yellow Flowers, Yellowish Dead Flowers, Spent Flowers, Spent Umbels, Pods, and then if the plant has pods I would record how many pods are in each umbel in the # of Pods section. I came up with the questions; what percentage of common milkweed plants flower and form pods over a four week period of time (July 15- August 14), and what is the average number of pods per plant and per umbel? Then I also came up with, what percentage of common milkweed plants with reproductive parts have pollinators present?


Butterfly Buffet

Emily R

In order to conduct my experiment, I needed to collect 80 monarch butterfly eggs and 16 plastic cages with lids. Then, I placed five eggs in each of the 16 cages. I supplied two cages (1-8) with one of the common milkweed plant parts and I also provided two cages (9-16) with one of the swamp milkweed plant parts. In order to provide a healthy lifestyle for the caterpillars, I cleaned and supplied each cage with fresh food every other day. I also measured the length and determined the instars of all of the larvae every day. My experiment took 39 days to complete. In doing this experiment, I wanted to find out how eating different plant parts (leaves, stems, flowers, and pods) of common verses swamp milkweed affect the legnth and development of a monarch butterfly. Based on my data, I concluded that the caterpillars feeding on the common milkweed stems grew the longest at 5.8 centimeters long. I also found that the larvae eating common and swamp milkweed leaves grew the fastest, taking only 13 days to complete their larval stage. On the other hand, the caterpillars eating the common and swamp milkweed stems grew the slowest and shortest. In a seperate choosing project, I wanted to determine if given the option, what milkweed plant part monarch caterpillars would choose to eat. The most caterpillars went to the the common milkweed leaves and swamp milkweed flowers with six visits a piece.


Caterpillars Eat In the Dark or Light, Day or Night

Alex B, Sofia P, Gabby P

Our class performed an experiment to find out if monarch caterpillars eat more in the light or in the dark. We put one common milkweed leaf and one caterpillar to a container. We put six caterpillars in the light and seven in the dark, for twenty-four hours. Our class measured how much the caterpillars ate in centimeters squared. We wanted to find out  "How do light and dark conditions affect the amount of common milkweed eaten by a monarch caterpillar?".

 Our data showed that the average amount of milkweed eaten in the dark was 63 centameters squared and in the light 64 centameters squared. Caterpillars, on average, always ate more on the second day of the experiment.


Caterpillars, Aphids, and Ants Oh My!

Kaylee B, Megan M

First, we located 16 milkweed plants 8 with and 8 without aphids. We then placed four monarch eggs and four 1st instars on the common milkweed plants. Each day we collected data of the survival rate of the eggs and first instars. We wanted to find out how does living on a plant with or without aphids affect the survival rate of monarch eggs and 1st instars and also in comparison too each other? We can reject our null hypothesis one. Our data suggests that the eggs that lived on milkweed plants without the aphids have a better survival rate. Caterpillars didn't have a good survival rate they were very low. Eggs did better than first instars in all categories and had much better survival rates.


Fight or Flight Lifestyle of a Lacewing

Maddy S

My project consists of two different parts; one being the lifecycle times of a lacewing and the other is the behavior of a lacewing in an aphid colony. My first thesis' data suggests that the longest stage of a lacewings' lifecycle is the adult stage and the shortest is the egg stage. My data for my second thesis suggests that the behavior varies and may depend on some factors. Some of these factors may be temperature, amount of food, wind, and the amount of ants.


Fuel It Up With Algae

Parker B

In my project I took duckweed, and water column algae, and tested them with three variables (light, circulation, and fertilizer) over the course of three weeks in biomass, and pictures. For the duckweed there were 18 1 galloon plastic shoeboxes, and with the micro-algae I used 18 8 ounce plastic shoeboxes. I wanted to find out How does light, fertilizer, and water circulation affect the amount of growth, and reproduction in biomass, of duckweed, and water column algae over the course of three weeks? I found out that with the duckweed that light, and circulation made the biggest difference, and that the light was also a big factor for the micro-algae as well. Another thing that i noticed is that the fertilizer didn't make a huge difference for either of the to types of algae, and that with circulation it didn't necessarily even need the fertilizer.


Give It A Whorl!

Sydney C

My teacher gave me thirty monarch eggs which I separated into thirty individual deli containers where they hatched into caterpillars. I fed fifteen of the caterpillars common milkweed, and fifteen whorled milkweed. Then, I measured all caterpillars every other day. This experiment took about two weeks. I wanted to find out how does feeding monarchs common or whorled milkweed affect the length and width of the monarch caterpillar? The average length of the caterpillars eating common milkweed from second-fifth instar was five millimeters (second), seven millimeters (third), nine millimeters (fourth), and thirteen millimeters (fifth). The average length of the caterpillars eating whorled milkweed from second-fifth instar was five millimeters (second), five millimeters (third), four millimeters (fourth), and ten millimeters (fifth). Overall, the common milkweed eaters had a higher percentage survival rate.


Goldenrod Gall-ore

Jonathan C

My project is on both goldenrod plants and galls, and the comparison in measurements from two different areas of Spring Peeper Meadow. Using these measurements I can figure out which area the goldenrod and galls prosper in. So I went out to Spring Peeper and staked out an area to take samples from. I measured all the plants and took the galls home to look at them closer. With all this data I wanted to find: how does the location of goldenrod plants(hillside versus middle meadow) affect the percentage of galls with larvae, the percentage of plants with galls, and where on the plants the galls are located. I found out that on the hillside the plants and galls were more widespread than in the middle meadow. However the gall was exactly the same height on the plant regardless of the location.


How Sweet It Is

Emma L

My question was, how do three types of fruit available as a nectar source affect the number of visits monarch butterflies make to each fruit? In my experiment, I raised monarch butterflies from egg to adult and once they reached their adult stage, I placed 26 monarch butterflies in each of the two netted cages. Then, I placed watermelon, peaches, and oranges in each group's cage. I would watch the butterflies for 15-20 minutes every day to study the number of visits the monarch's make to each fruit. The overall average with both group A and group B for watermelon was 1.61 visits per day. For peach the overall average is 0.21visits per day and for orange the overall average is 0.64 visits per day. I conducted this experiment for 2 weeks.


Is It Old or New For You?

David S, Spencer S, Anna Z, Abbey N, Grace M, Lisa L, Madison H, Sarah G

We did an experiment about how much new common milkweed leaves and old common milkweed leaves a monarch caterpillar eats. We put a fifth instar caterpillar into a quart sized deli container. We put two new leaves in seven containers and two old leaves in seven separate containers. Each day we replaced the leaves and recorded how much was eaten. The trial period was two days each with 24 hours in each day. The sample size was seven containers per each type of leaf. We wanted to find out how old milkweed leaves and new milkweed leaves affect the amount of milkweed monarch caterpillars eat.
We found that caterpillars eat more old milkweed is 74 leaves eaten and the average for new milkweed is 62 leaves eaten. While we were doing this experiment most people thought caterpillars would eat more new milkweed, so it turned out with a surprising result.


Monarch Meteorology

Heidi S

I set up four different environments varying the amount of light and humidty in each. There were five deli containers with 2 monarch caterpillars placed in each of the environments. I measured the length of the caterpillars every other day and recorded what instar they were in until they turned into a chrysalis. I wanted to find out how the level of humidity in the light and dark affect the length and rate of growth of a monarch caterpillar. I found out that monarch caterpillars in the dark, humid environment grew the longest in length. I also saw that the caterpillars raised in the light, dry environment all emerged successfully, while this was not true in the other conditions. According to my experiment, the butterflies had the least successful survival rate in the light, humid environment. In these conditions 50% survived and 30% were successful.


Parasitoid Pandemic

Sophia A

In order to conduct my experiment, I placed fifty monarch chrysalides in hidden locations, in the open, on milkweed, off milkweed, and on milkweed with frass. There were ten in each location. I retrieved them after seven days. I also raised ten chrysalides at home as my standard. I wanted to find out how the location of monarch chrysalides in the wild would affect the rate of parasitism of the wasp parasitoid, Pteromalus puparum. Two out of the fifty chrysalides in the wild were parasitized by Pteromalus puparum. One was on milkweed with frass, the other on goldenrod. I believe these two were parasitized because of the attractive smells of the frass and flowers. Overall, 4% of the chrysalides had Pteromalus puparum, 18% had bacteria, 12% were eaten, 28% were not found, and 38% successfully emerged, compared to 100% emergence rate of the standard chrysalides.


See No Milkweed Smell No Milkweed Taste No Milkweed

Maddie K

First I made a contraption with four tubes and a Tupperware container. I cut a hole in the center of each of the four sides of the container and glued a ten inch tube into each hole. I placed three monarch caterpillars in the center of the container and let them crawl in the contraption for thirty minutes. I tested each instar five times in groups of three. I wanted to find out which senses, or combination of senses do monarch first through fifth instars used to locate milkweed? I found out that monarch caterpillars mainly use their sense of smell to find food and forth instars walk around the most. Forty-one out of sixty of the caterpillars used the sense of smell to find their food and the forth instar caterpillars moved an average of nine and two tenths centimeters from the center of the contraption.


Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Claire O


Totally Tropical

Jordyn A

For this project I had 12 pots with two plants in each pot. I had three pots per dirt. The soils I used were: ½ topsoil and ½ potting soil, topsoil and two earthworms, ½ topsoil and 1/1 manure, and potting soil. I measured every other day for 43 days. I wanted to find out how different soil conditions affect the growth and health of tropical milkweed seedlings. I this experiment I found out that ½ topsoil and ½ potting soil grew the healthiest and tallest tropical milkweed with the average of 2.830cm, next was topsoil and worms with an average of 2.356cm. Potting soil was next with an average of 2.133 cm and then ½ topsoil and ½ potting soil with 2.057cm. Presently I could not reject my null because the plant heights are very close.


What up in that cup?

Kate L

I  took water samples on the top, middle and bottom of the cup plants to see how many larvae were inside the cup plants.  I  found 25  random cup plants and then took the water samples from all levels and looked at them under a microscope. I counted the larvae and  decided what stage they were in and then recorded my data. My results were that on the top there were the more first stage larvae and then in the middle there were the most second stage larvae and on the bottom there were more third stage larvae.


Where are the Wild Things?

Katie P

I went to Round Lake and Spring Peeper two different bodies of water and collected data on arthropods. I recorded the number of arthropods found on a milkweed/goldenrod plant. I looked at 10 plants per location and species once a week for 5 weeks. I wanted to find out how does the field location (Round Lake and Spring Peeper) and plant type (Milkweed and Goldenrod) affect the number and order of arthropods present? In the end I found out that milkweed at round lake had the most arthropods with a total over 5 weeks of 230 arthropods found on a total number of 50 plants. Then the milkweed at spring Peeper had 98. From this information I can theorize that milkweed has more arthropods then goldenrod.


Worm vs. Worm

Gabby C, Miquela W

We made 6 homemade boxes out of wood. Then we lined the inside of the boxes with black landscape fabric. Then, we added shredded newspaper, potting dirt, sand, and food scraps. After that we put in 24 worms into to each box. We measured the rate of the compost for six weeks. We wanted to find out which invasive species (European and Asian Worms) composted most efficiently. in conclusion, we found out that the European worms composted most efficiently because we cored the dirt and saw that the European dirt was much finer and better mixed than the Asian worms dirt. Also we found out that the European worms used the sand in the dirt more than the Asian worms did. In average, the change in depth for the European worms was higher (35mm) vs. the Asian worms (17mm).


Wormanizer

Izzie K, Kiki L

We wanted to find out from the Wormanizer experiment how do different powdered spices (dry mustard, garlic, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon) affect the number of worms in a fifty by fifty centimeter square that surface from the ground and leaf litter in a prairie and forest habitat? We set up our experiment by filling four, one gallon jugs with water and pouring one third of a cup of each spice into the gallons of water. Then shaking each jug and placing a square PVC pipe box on the ground and pouring evenly the contents of the jugs. After, we picked up worms that surfaced from the ground for two minutes. From this experiment, we found that mustard surfaced the most worms and cinnamon was a close second. In our experiment it also shows that the forest has the most amount of worms overall to surface. Overall in the prairie and forest we surfaced one hundred and eighty-five worms!


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