University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from St. Hubert School 2014

St. Hubert School
8201 Main St
Chanhassen, MN 55317

Year: 2014
Teacher(s): Cindy Petersen

An Eggcellent Experiment

Gabe H

In order to conduct my experiment, I took 90 monarch eggs and divided them up into 9 petri-dishes. I put them in the refrigerator(36*F) for 0,1,3,5,7,9,11,13, and 15 days. I took a petri dish out on those days and put them into room temperature. So after 15 days all of the petri-dishes would be out of the fridge. what I could conclude is that when the eggs were in the fridge their hatching rate was delayed. So if the eggs were in the fridge for 9 days they would still hatch just 9 days later than the eggs that wern't in the fridge. But the eggs that were in the fridge for 15 days never hatched after being taken into room temperature.

Beleaf It Or Not

Sean J

For my experiment, I had 3 sets of about 5-8 cecropia caterpillars. I fed each group a different leaf. I wanted to find out whether oak leaves, maple leaves, or lilac leaves helped cecropias grow the most. In the end, the group with the lilac leaves grew, on average 2.8cm, the oak leaf group grew 2.2cm, and the maple group grew 2cm. This information will come in handy if cecropias ever become endangered and will help with the rearing of cecropias for other experiments or for schools. The caterpillars definitely didn't grow the same amount, the lilac leaves were slightly better than the oak or maple leaves. So lilac leaves are best for rearing cecropias or for cecropias to grow on in the wild.

Caterpillars Crawling to Chrysalids

Carley C

I wanted to find out how different surfaces (wood, plastic, metal, tile, foam and screen) affected how many monarch caterpillars would pupate on each. To set up my experiment, I took 4 plastic shoebox containers with lids and randomly glued two 3 x 1.5 inch squares of each surface choice to the top. Then, I put 12 monarch caterpillars in each box and fed them all common milkweed leaves. When they pupated, I counted how many caterpillars pupated on each surface. My results suggested that monarch caterpillars preferred plastic the most, but the other results were random. In conclusion, monarch caterpillars in captivity prefer plastic to pupate on.

Cecropia Utopia

Erin S

To set up this experiment, I placed 13 cecropia caterpillars in each of the two cages. In one cage I fed the caterpillars fresh lilac leaves. In the other cage I fed the caterpillars day old lilac leaves. I measured the caterpillars every other day in millimeters. I wanted to find out how draught conditions affected the growth of a cecropia caterpillar and if it could even survive in a drought. My question was: how does the freshness of lilac leaves (day old and newly cut) affect the rate of growth in a cecropia caterpillar? I found that cecropia caterpillars fed fresh leaves grow faster and longer with the longest measuring 89 mm. Whereas the longest caterpillar fed day old leaves grew to 70 mm.

Cryptic Caterpillars

Becca R

To set up my experiment I got 3 groups of 10 caterpillars. One group I fed fresh milkweed, the others I fed 7 and 14 day old refrigerated milkweed. I wanted to see which caterpillars grew longer. I fed them until they were in their chrysalis which was after the 12th day. I measured them in millimeters and the results show that the fresh milkweed caterpillars grew more steadily while the 7 day old milkweed caterpillars ended up being the longest. The 14 day old milkweed caterpillars were the shortest. Some uncertainties are, if I was off by measuring or if the milkweed wasn't clean enough. I learned that if you refrigerate milkweed to long, the caterpillars won't grow a lot.

Daffy Daphnia

Maggie B

To set up my experiment, I placed 18 containers with one daphnia in it and 3 containers containing 6 daphnia, in a room temperature and a hot temperature condition. Then I asked the question: how does the temperature of water (hot, room) affect the reproduction rate of daphnia when they start in a group of six or alone. The results show that the room temperature condition that started with six daphnia had the greatest reproductive rate. The hot condition that started with six, had a spike of population in the middle of the experiment, but ended up with the least amount of daphnia in the end.

Excellent Eggs

Anna G, Anna T

To start our experiment, we placed a large group of male and female monarch butterflies in a cage to mate. We took the females out of the cage and let them lay eggs two days, one week, two weeks, and one month after they mated. We wanted to see how the age of female monarch butterflies affects the viability of the eggs that are laid. We counted how many eggs hatched and how many died. In the end, our results showed a large percentile difference from 2 days after they mated (92% hatched) to one month after they mated (32% hatched). In conclusion, we can verify that the eggs are more viable when the monarch is younger.

Fanatical Phosphate Filter

Andrew K

Clean water is a very important resource in our environment. One very crucial process to make clean water is to get rid of most of the phosphate. Phosphate is an element that appears in many fertilizers and simulated soils and creates perfect breeding grounds for bacteria in the body of water. What I did to set up this experiment is that I cut a piece of PVC piping and put several different types of filter media (iron from Minneapolis, iron from Chicago, shredded mulch, carbon, and GMO) and circulated through a series of buckets and pumps for fifteen minutes. I did this experiment because I’m really interested in how water affects the ecosystem and ways that we can prevent our water from becoming a hazard.

Flower Power?

Maggie C

I wanted to find out how eating common milkweed leaves versus common milkweed flowers would affect the growth and development of monarch larvae. For my experiment, I put 30 monarch egis in 30 separate quart size containers. i then fed 10 common milkweed leaves, 10 common milkweed flowers, and 10 a mix of both. I measured them every them every three days, but gave them fresh food, and cleaned their cage every day, Monarchs prefer the leaves when given the choice. Also, many caterpillars who ate flowers died young or were deformed. My results showed that larvae who ate common milkweed leaves were larger and more of them survived.

Gardeners Worst Nightmare

Olivia R, Agus A, Kiara D

Abstract. Olivia R Lucy T Kiara D Agus A Our class put six aphids on tropical milkweed plants. We had ten plants in total. On half the plants we sprayed with a dawn dish soap and water mixture. On the other half we kept non – sprayed. We wanted to find out how non-sprayed milkweed and dawn sprayed milkweed affected the rate of aphid reproduction. Within four days the non-sprayed milkweed plants had an average of 83 aphids, and the dawn sprayed milkweed had 9 aphids. We reject our null hypothesis because there was a 75 difference of aphids.

Got Milkweed?

Jack E

To do this experiment I put swamp milkweed, butterfly milkweed and common milkweed in sand, peat and garden soil. I wanted to figure out how different soils and milkweed types affect plant growth (in height). Overall, the butterfly milkweed proved to be the most tolerant by growing the highest in all soils. For the soils the peat had by far the fewest germinations and almost all its plants died within the first week.

Lights On, Lights Off

Maggie E

I put 5 cecropia caterpillars in 1 cage (6 cages) and placed them in 3 different treatments; 16 hours on 8 hours off with heat lamp and fluorescent light, and 12 hours on 12 hours off heat lamp. I wanted to find out how the type of light (heat lamp or fluorescent), and amount of light hours (12hrs on, 12hrs off and 16hrs on and 8hrs off) affect the growth and development of a cecropia caterpillar. The results show that caterpillars living under a heat lamp with 16hrs on and 8hrs off lived longer than the caterpillars who lived under the 12hrs on 12hrs off and grew larger. Caterpillars that lived under 16hrs on and 8hrs off fluorescent light lived longer and grew larger.


(No Abstract submitted.)

Milkweed Mayhem

Grace J, Lily B, Rachel S, Sarah F, Maddy B, Max P, Tommy B, Adam B

To set up our experiment, we got twelve 1 quart containers and inside we put a small square piece of paper towel on the bottom. Then, we put two fresh leaves of common milkweed or swamp milkweed inside. We used twelve fifth instar caterpillars, six eating common milkweed and six eating swamp milkweed. We did the experiment for four days. We measured the leaves before and after the caterpillars ate. We wanted to find out how common milkweed verses swamp milkweed affects the amount(cm2) a caterpillar eats. The overall average of common milkweed eaten per day was 65cm2 and the swamp milkweed average per day was 61cm2. We have accepted our null hypothesis. We conclude that caterpillars do not prefer a certain type of milkweed.

Monarchs Munch On Milkweed

Grace M

I wanted to find out: How does milkweed from the top of the plant vs. milkweed from the middle of the plant vs. milkweed from the bottom of the pant affect the growth of a monarch caterpillar. To set up my experiment, I placed one monarch caterpillar in each container. I had 30 caterpillars total, 10 for top milkweed, 10 for middle milkweed and 10 for bottom milkweed. I measured the growth of the caterpillars every day.The caterpillars eating top milkweed were larger than the caterpillars eating middle and bottom milkweed. By conducting my experiment, I found out that the location on the plant that the location on the plant that the leaf comes from does affect the growth of a monarch caterpillar.

Munching Monarchs

Lauren C

To set up my experiment I needed 10 containers with holes poked through the top.I will also needed 10 monarch caterpillar eggs and leaves. Place one egg and one leaf per container. Measure the caterpillars in millimeters once they come out of their eggs and measuring every other day after. Once they are butterflies take spore samples and measure their wing span. Than I counted the spores under a microscope. I did this 2 more times. I did this experiment because I wanted to know if different seasons the caterpillars growth will be affected or if the butterflies will have more spores. My results show that as the year goes caterpillars take longer to go into their chrysalis' but the amount of spores wasn't affected.

One Week Two Week Old Leaf New Leaf`

Mae M

For my experiment I took thirty monarch caterpillars and placed them on milkweed in six different cages. The cages were labeled One Week, Two Week and Fresh Leaves. There were five caterpillars per cage and two cages per treatment. The cages were placed in a room at moderate temperature and were never moved from the ledge in the room. The sunlight differed depending on each day but the cages rarely got sunlight. Each set of leaves changed each day. I measured the caterpillars every day and recorded the measurements in a notebook. After the caterpillars reached their fourth or fifth instars, the data was stored and helped me to get a result.

Pesky Predators

Caitlin M

To set up my experiment, I took a total of twenty first instar monarch caterpillars and placed ten individually on common milkweed plants along the edge of a field, and ten in the middle of the same field. I wanted to find out how the placement of twenty first instar monarch caterpillars on common milkweed (10 on edge, 10 in middle), affected the predation rate. I did this experiment twice. My results show that monarch caterpillars that are placed in the middle of a field tend to have a higher mortality rate than the monarchs placed on the edge of a field perhaps they are well hidden among the leaves of other plants and have a more abundant source of food in the middle.

Predator Protection

Brendan O, Jacob Z

To set up our experiment we put 7 monarch eggs in boxes with different types of openings. After they were out for 2 days we took the boxes in and analyzed them. We wanted to find out how the size of openings on containers affects the rate of survival of 1st, 3rd, and 5th instars. We found that the most instars survived in closed boxes and third instars had the highest survival rate. We reject our null hypothesis because our data suggests that all of the boxes won’t have the same result. An uncertainty is that we put one group of boxes out at night instead of in the morning. We learned that 3rd instars have a higher survival rate than 1st and 5th instars.

Shade vs. Sun

Allison N

To start my experiment I took a one meter square and put it in my garden in the sun. I counted the amount of pollinators (bees, butterflies, moths, ants, beetles) and other insects in the square for ten minutes. I did this procedure in the sun and shade twice at each time(9:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM). In my experiment I wanted to find out how the time of day and conditions of shade or sun affected the number of pollinators in a one meter square garden area. In the end, I found bees were the most common pollinator in the sun and ants were the most common pollinator in the shade.

Social Cecropias?

Maddie M

For my experiment, I wanted to find out how the number of cecropia caterpillars (1 or 10) in a specific environment (netting on trees, or plastic shoeboxes on the ground) affects the growth and mortality rate of the caterpillars. I placed three second instar cecropia caterpillars in separate 1x3ft mosquito netting sacks and three in separate plastic containers. Similarly, I repeated this with groups of ten caterpillars. I tied the netting on branches of lilac trees. I put plastic containers on the ground and shielded them from rain. Weekly, I recorded caterpillar lengths. Cecropias in the trees were observed to grow faster and had a lower mortality rate than caterpillars in containers. Some uncertainties came from changing the types of leaves throughout my experiment.

Trough Trouble

David T

For my project I looked at one hundred total milkweed plants. I looked at if they had troughs in the stem. Then I checked if they flowered or not. I wanted to know if the troughs would harm the milkweed plant. My question is, do troughs in the stem of a milkweed plant affect the flowering. My results are to close to call one side or the other. I will accept my null. The troughs do not prevent the milkweed from flowering. In my experiment I have learned that troughs do not prevent milkweed from flowering.

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