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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from St. Hubert School 2013

St. Hubert School
8201 Main St
Chanhassen, MN 55317

Year: 2013
Teacher(s): Cindy Petersen

All Dried Out

Mary R

How will the dehydration of a common milkweed leaf affect how a monarch caterpillar grows (length, numbers, and death rate)? This is how I found out, I set up containers two sets, which one had dehydrated milkweed leaves and the other ones hydrated milkweed, and were dehydrated 5-8 minutes on low settings. The amount of monarchs started at 70, there were 39 caterpillars in the dehydrated and 31 in the hydrated. The monarchs that ate the dehydrated leaves averaged a length of 1.5 cm, and hydrated averages a 1.71. The instars at the beginning averaged a 2.2 for dehydrated and 2.6 for hydrated and lastly the dehydrated death rate was 6.5 and hydrated was 4.


Aphid Assembly

Michael W, Caitlin M, Katie S, Alyssa K, Megan P

Our class took 2 quart sized deli containers with lids and labeled one dawn sprayed milkweed and one non-sprayed milkweed. Then we placed one dawn sprayed milkweed leaf in one container and a non- sprayed milkweed leaf in the other. Next we put 6 aphids in each container and closed the container. We waited 24 hours before checking the number of aphids, we did this for four days. Our question was how does dawn sprayed milkweed versus non-sprayed milkweed affect the rate of aphid reproduction? The average number of aphids on the dawn sprayed milkweed was 23 on the last day. The average number of aphids on non-sprayed milkweed was 66 on the last day. Aphids reproduced more on non-sprayed milkweed.


Ascending Aphids

Rachel T, Emma T

Our experiment is called Ascending Aphids. The reason we chose to do a project on Aphids is because we found them to be very interesting. After more research, we found that most aphids during the year do not use males to mate but females give live birth. We then came up with our project. How does the temperature (hot or cold) and type of aphid (oleander or green) affect the speed of reproduction? We used forty aphids as our sample size and put two each in a small, breathable container on a piece of common milkweed. We waited seven days, recording the number of aphids that were in each container everyday. We concluded in the Oleander aphid’s case, the aphids produced the fastest and most.


Bug Grub

Emma M

For my experiment, I wanted to know if insects prefer eating fresh or decomposing food that is protein or carbohydrate based. I set up insect traps on two trees and conducted four weeklong trials, checking the traps once a week, replacing food and collecting data. Later, I started to check the traps daily to see if invertebrates came while the food was fresh, or if they waited until it began to rot. I found that insects liked chicken the best. Each week over 70 insects came to eat it. I also found that the proteins were popular later in the week after they starting rotting, as opposed to the carbohydrates that were popular in the beginning of the week while they were fresh.


Busy Bees

Claire G

My question is, “How do the types of flowers (annuals vs. perennials) and the time of day (9 a.m., 1 p.m., or 5 p.m.) affect how many bees visit each type of plant?” To figure this out, I picked one patch of perennial flowers and one patch of annual flowers, but the type of flower varied each day. I watched each flower for 10 minutes daily at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. for an eleven day period. In summary, the perennial flowers attracted the most bees at 1:00 when the temperature ranged in the seventies. The plants that attracted the most bees were clover and sedum. In conclusion, the bees were most attracted to the perennial flowers, probably because of their pollen content.


Climate Change Causes Caterpillar Calamity

Elizabeth M

Global warming is an urgent problem. Scientists believe global warming will bring wider temperature swings. I wanted to see if temperature changes affect an organism’s development. 16 cecropia moth caterpillars were kept at an average temperature of 76°F. 15 caterpillars were cycled daily between average temperatures of 63°F and 90°F to mimic climate change. The survival rate at constant temperature was 56% and at the fluctuating temperatures was 66%. Survival rates were similar, however, the growth rates were not. Caterpillars in the fluctuating temperature treatment grew much slower and went into cocoons shorter in length than the caterpillars at the constant temperature. As second instars, the fluctuating caterpillars were 6% shorter. By fifth instar, they were 34% shorter than the caterpillars in the constant temperature.


Crawling Through Microclimate

Tianna C

For my experiment, I placed three iButtons, scientific tools that measure temperature, on the top, middle and bottom sections of three milkweed plants placed in the sun, shade, and edge of a meadow. I placed one monarch caterpillar on each plant, third and fifth instars for two days each. Every hour I measured the location of the caterpillar on the plant and the general weather of the area. I wanted to know how the microclimate changes between the different plant locations, whether it affects where a caterpillar is found on a milkweed, and how the microclimate of a milkweed differs from the daily weather. I found that the temperature differs greatly and makes an impact on the location of the caterpillar.


Creepy Crawling Cockroaches

Zoey P, Maureen R, Ashley P, Mimi A, Abby S

Take a cardboard box top (40 cm by 32 cm) and then place in each corner one of our 4 stimuli (dog food, banana, water, paper tube which is the shelter). For this experiment place 1 cockroach in nine separate boxes and wait three minutes for them to choose a stimuli. Then record the stimuli visits and do this for 69 trials. We wanted to find out "How do different stimuli (dog food, water, banana, and shelter) affect how often the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches visit a stimulus." Our results were 46% visits to shelter, 25% visits to dog food, 17% visits to banana, and 12% visits to water. Our independent variable were the stimuli. Our dependent variable was how often the cockroaches visit a stimulus.


Garden Conundrum

Maggie E

I sprayed 10 milkweed leaves with Bayer Advance Dual Action Rose and Flower Insect Killer at 1ft away and then another 10 milkweed leaves at 3ft away. After that I fed 10 washed milkweed leaves and the other leaves to 30, 1st instar monarch caterpillars. I recorded their length, width, instar, and squared cm eaten. I wanted to find out, how feeding monarch caterpillars insecticide sprayed common milkweed verses non-sprayed milkweed affects their growth and development. The non-sprayed monarchs lived the longest and grew the largest. I found that their eating pattern was very unusual. The square centimeters eaten increased from July 28th to August 13th, then it dropped from 12cm to 0.75cm in 2 days.


Monarch Hatching Experiment

Gabe H, Andrew K, Maggie B, Lauren S, Allison N

To start this experiment, take three petri dishes and three filter papers, place the papers in the dish and dampen just a little. Place monarch eggs on a section of a common milkweed leaf, two per petri dish. Place in each of three temperatures; cold (in the refrigerator), room temperature (in a dark box), and twelve hours in each setting. How do the different temperature conditions affect the rate of monarch egg hatching? 0 eggs hatched in the cold condition overall. On average, it took an egg in room temperature 5.5 days to hatch. On average, it took an egg in twelve hours of both cold and room temperature 7.8 days to hatch.


Munching Moths

Alexis P, Alexa R

A statement was made that cecropia moth caterpillars would only eat the type of leaves they began feeding on as young larvae. We designed our experiment to test if this hypothesis was true. We placed ten cecropia moth caterpillars on a white poster board. Surrounding the ten caterpillars were four different types of leaves (Apple, Ash, Birch, Black Cherry, Burr Oak, Crab Apple, Lilac, and Willow), on every board there were lilac leaves, the leaf they were first raised on. We gathered information on the caterpillars for an hour and a half on what types of leaves they visited and ate. We discovered that cecropia moth caterpillars would eat whatever types of leaves that were available to them, but they especially enjoyed fruit tree leaves.


Mutant Milkweed

Mia P

My experiment tested the differences in monarch larvae’s coloration, length, width, and mortality rates when fed RoundUp herbicide affected common milkweed versus common milkweed that wasn't affected.I hatched twenty different monarchs and put them all in different containers. Ten of them I gave herbicide affected milkweed and the other ten received milkweed that wasn't affected. The results I found were that the milkweed that had been affected with herbicide affected the length and width about the same as the non affected milkweed. For mortality rates, I found that larvae were more likely to die being fed milkweed that wasn't affected(about 30% of not affected milkweed fed monarchs died), and I found that coloration was affected the same for larvae unless they were about to die.


Perfect Places to Pollinate

Sophia T

I placed three different colored cups (white, blue, yellow) by three different kinds of flowers in a rural environment and urban environment. I wanted to know how the different surrounding environments (rural, urban), and color of flower and color of cup affect the number of pollinators, especially bees, per flower. I placed dish soap in each cup, resulting in the pollinators dying, so then I could count and examine them afterwards. I did this four times,leaving the cups out from about 9:00am until 6:00pm. Out of a total of 31 pollinators collected, the rural environment had 24 more pollinators. The number of pollinators that were in each different colored cup and the color of the flower did not seem to make a difference.


Sweet Sips

Anna G, Anna T

We split a group of 34 monarch butterflies equally into two cages, one with honey-water, and one with gatorade in it. Everyday, we set the monarchs down on the sponge, and timed how long the monarchs would drink on the sponge, to find out which nectar they prefer. Besides just timing the monarchs, every week we would weigh them, to see how much weight they gained by drinking one nectar over the other. we wanted to know how feeding a monarch butterfly two different types of nectar would affect how much weight they gained, and how much time they spend drinking it. We found out that the monarchs spent more time drinking gatorade, but they weighed more when they drank honey.


The Secret Life of Bees

Emma J

For my experiment I wanted to see what bees preferences were on color of cup (blue, yellow, and white), temperature (warm vs. cool), and sun vs. shade. I set up my experiment by putting out bee traps- 3 clumps in sun and shade (each clump had one of each color) Traps consisted of plastic cups filled with Dawn and water. I then took the temperature at each clump and let them stay there until sundown. At sundown, I collect the cups and record number of bees in each cup. The bees came out on cooler days, preferred the color yellow, and definitely like the sun over the shade. I found the preference by counting the number of bees in each cup.


There's No Place Like Worm Homes

Maddie M

In my experiment I poured a mustard and water solution over a 35cm by 35cm area of soil in 3 outdoor habitats. I measured how many worms were in each habitat. I wanted to find out how different habitats (coniferous forest, deciduous forest, field) affect the number of epigiec, endogiec, and anecic worms found there. The most epigec worms(18), were found in the field, most endogiec worms(48), were found in the deciduous forest, and most anecic worms(67), were found in the deciduous forest. I observed there were more worms on the days when the soil was wet from rain and less when it was drier. Overall, my data suggests that more worms are found in deciduous forests (123) than coniferous forests (78) and fields (21).


To Bee or Not to Bee

Brendan O, Jacob Z

We painted cups and attached them to gardening sticks. We set up the cups that were painted and filled them up with dawn dish soap and water and planted the sticks in a garden. We wanted to find out what color of flowers bees were most attracted to and what time of day they were out most. Our question was how does the time of day and different color cups (representing flowers) affect the number of bees collected. We found that most of the bees we collected were in the blue cups and they were collected from 8-12am. We found a lot of gnats in the yellow cups and we found a lot of beetles in all the cups.


To Bee or Not to Bee.

Claire S

The purpose of this experiment is to understand where and when invertebrates pollinate. In this experiment cups were placed outside in their designated spots to collect invertebrates. The test included the difference between annual or perennial flowers, shade or sun, and what time of day. A plastic cups that were spray painted were hosted into the ground with a dish soap and water mixture inside. Data was collected over seven days checking the cups in five hour time slots. As a result perennial flowers in the sun attracted the most invertebrates at a 0.7 average from 5am to 10am, a 3.9 average from 10am-3pm, and a 1.9 average from 3pm-8pm. The perennial flowers in the sun attracted the most invertebrates from 5am-10am, 10am-3pm, and 3pm-8pm.


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