University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Other 2007

(Various), MN

Year: 2007
Teacher(s): Chris Peterson, Annette Strom, Bonnie Tapper

A Visual Display on Monarch Migration

Kelsey G, Taja J

Minnesotans know that Monarch Butterflies migrate south, but what signals the monarch migration? In researching, we found several theories that explain monarch migration behavior, and their perception of direction. However, these theories still do not explain the whole picture. This small creature has many mysteries left to reveal, and scientist still have much to learn. This project is a visual four-foot display that presents the most accepted theories of monarch migration and seasonal locations of generations one through four. The display breaks the information into several sections. Section 1 informs the viewer about the signals to migrate such as dropping temperatures and less production of food. Section 2 lays out the orientation mechanisms. Monarchs have an internalize sun compass that detects polarized light. This allows them to determine their correct position in order for them to fly north or south. They also have the ability to determine north and south by reading the Earth's magnetic field. The main section is a layover North American Map that takes the viewer through the summer and fall migration journey. As a fun feature, it also has some pop-up facts about monarch butterflies. The purpose of this display is an enjoyable tool for learning about monarch butterflies.

Average High Tempera"chirps"

Alyssa E

   In the past I had heard that chirping crickets can actually give you the current temperatures.  By doing some research, I found out that this is true. I then researched the average high daily temperature in 20 U.S. cities for the the date July 1st.  Using those temperatures and the formula, I was able to calculate the amount of chirps per minute for each location on that date.  My project shows weather maps using this chirp data.


Mealworm Surface Speed

Kendra D, Lauren E

      Our class voted to test the question "How does the type of surface affect mealworm speed?"  As a class we had these hypotheses: #1- Mealworms will move faster on smooth surfaces. #2 -Mealworms will move faster on rough surfaces. Null-The type of surface will not affect mealworm speed.

      To test our hypotheses we used the floor for our smooth surface and we used both wood shavings and sand for different types of rough surfaces. Groups of students tested the speed of individual mealworms for one minute on each surface.  We found out that mealworms burrowed down into the wood shavings making it hard to measure. However, we were able to conclude that mealworms move faster on smooth surfaces. 

Moths to Light

Edward W

Moths to Light


The question was ?how many moths come to a light bulb at night when it is cold??  I did this question, because in the spring and summer I always see a bunch of moths. In the winter when I am outside I never seem to see any moths so I wanted to see how many are outside when the weather is colder. I saw a total of seven moths the first night, one the second night and three the third night.  The other two nights there were no moths.  Some uncertainties were the time of night, the moon, wind, and if there was food for the moths.  I learned there are not as many moths when its cold as there are in the spring.  I also learned that moths usually don?t stay long by the light, but sometimes they sit on the light.

The Jumping, Hopping, (Running!) Crickets

Tom E, Luke I

      Our class voted on the question "How does the surface affect the length of a cricket's jump?" We had three possible hypotheses: Hypothesis #1 was that crickets on stable surfaces would be able to jump farther than crickets on unstable surfaces. Hypothesis #2 was that crickets on unstable surfaces would jump farther than those on stable surfaces.  Our Null Hypothesis was that the surface would make no difference in jump distance.

      Using sand as our unstable surface and a floor tile as our stable surface, groups of students tested individual cricket jump distances. We did find out that crickets jump farther from the stable surface. However, we also discovered that many crickets run instead of hop or jump. This made testing difficult and we had to count jump distances at zero cm due to the fact that they ran instead, which affected the average jump distances on both surfaces.

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