University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Other 2010

(Various), MN

Year: 2010
Teacher(s): Karla Bisco, Susan Koppendrayer, sevve stember, Annette Strom

Bon Appetit!

Sam V, Grace B, Madison O, Garrett B, Wyatt B, Sean L, Ryan T, Braden T, Nickolas B

Take a tour around the world of Entomophagy- the practice of using insects as food! Join us as we provide menus past and present from a number of different countries.

Chirping in Light or Dark

Andrew O, Hannah H

Our group decided to do an experiment about crickets.  The purpose was to see if the amount of light effected the crickets chirping habits.  We wanted to study this because we were curious about what causes crickets to chirp.  Our hypothesis is that the darker environment causes more chirping.  To test this question we put a sheet of dark paper around all the sides of one bin.  In another bin we let light in through the top and sides.  Then we listened and tallied the number of chirps we heard.  Our data showed that the amount of light does not affect crickets chirping.

Cricket Food Preference

Ivy G

We decided to do an experiment on crickets.  We were curious to know if crickets prefer store bought cricket food or fruit.  The question we posed was: How does different kinds of food affect how much crickets eat?  We thought the crickets would eat more of the store bought cricket food.  To set up the experiment we placed our crickets in a container with store bought cricket food and fruit.  Our data shows that the crickets prefered the fruit over the cricket food.

Cricket Habitat Preference

Mateusz F

We were curious about crickets and finding out more about them.  This caused us to do an experiment about cricket preferences.  We wanted to find out if habitat affects the amount of time spent in a specific area.  The hypothesis we thought was most likely was that the crickets would spend more time in the leaves because Carolina ground crickets live in moist areas.  To set up the experiment we created 3 different zones in a bin.  These zones were rocks, leaves and wood chips.  Then we observed and recorded the time spent in each habitat.  Our data shows that the crickets preferred none of the environments.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Color Preference

Sofia M, Soren K

This year we did experiments in our classroom on insects.  Our experiment was about cockroaches.  We wanted to see which color environment (red, blue, yellow or no color) they prefer.  We thought they would choose blue because it's not too dark or too light.  Another reason we thought they would pick blue was if they are color blind, this is a less intense shade.  To set up the experiment, we divided a clear box into 4 sections.  Each section was a different color: red, blue, yellow or no color.  We tallied the number of cockroaches that were in every section every half hour.  Our data showed that the cockroaches preferred the red environment the best.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Food Consumption

Moti B

The purpose of this experiment is to find out about Madagascar hissing cockroach feeding behaviors.  The question we are studying is: How does the placement of the food affect cockroach food consumption?  We believe that there will be no affect, they will find the food where ever it is located.  We set up one bin and placed food in 3 different places.  We observed every hour for 2 days and charted what we noticed.  We also weighed the food to see if one was consumed more than another.  Our data showed that the cockroaches preferred food placed in a higher location as opposed to that placed in lower locations.

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Food Preference

Victor F

In class we have been studying insects.  Our group set up an experiment to test which type of fruit cockroaches prefer.  We think the cockroaches will consume the apple the most.  The reason we chose this hypothesis was because we thought that the apple would dehydrate quicker, which might speed up the decomposing process and we know cockroaches like decomposed food.  To set up our experiment we put three different foods in one bin to see which they preferred more.  Our data showed the cockroaches preferred the banana.

Milkweed Bugs Habitat Preference

Nathaniel B

After observing milkweed bugs, we decided to do an experiment to test which habitat they prefer.  We were curious if they like twigs or rocks better.  We wanted to find this out because we thought it would be interesting to see their reaction to different environments.  We thought that they would spend the same amount of time in both because they will be trying to find a habitat similar to the one they prefer in nature.  To test this question we divided a bin in half and put twigs in one half and rocks in the other.  We put six milkweed bugs in the container with the same amounts of things they need to live in each half.  We charted when we noticed the bugs in each environment.  Our data shows that the milkweed bugs preferred rocks over twigs.

Pillbug Color Preference

Kowsar M

We decided to do an experiment about pillbugs.  The question we were answering was: Which color environment do pillbugs prefer?  We wanted to test this question because we were curious if pillbugs are affected by color.  We thought the pillbugs would go into the blue environment because it is the darkest color we were testing.  We thought this because pillbugs prefer dark environments.  To set up the experiment we divided a bin into three parts.  We put a different transparent colored sheet (red, blue, and clear) over each section of the bin.  We tallied how many pillbugs were in each section throughout the day.  Our data shows that the pillbugs preferred the blue section the most.

Pillbug Light or Dark Preference

Taj B

Our experiment was created by us because of how intrigued we are by insects and their amazing adaptations.  This inspired us to take a look at the mysteries of light preference.  After much thought and work, we decided on a question to ask, test and answer.  Our question is: How does light and dark affect how many pillbugs are in  particular environment?  We thought pillbugs would stay in the dark environment more because they live in soil.  The way we went about testing our question was to divide a bin into a light and dark side.  We put a divider in the container that the pillbugs were able to crawl under and choose which side they preferred.  On one side we put black paper to make a dark environment.  On the other side we let the light in through the top and sides of the container.  We tallied every half hour the number of pillbugs in the light or dark sides.  Our data shows that pillbugs prefer dark over light settings.

Poop on the Point: The Correlation of Bird Numbers and E. coli on Park Point Beaches

Anna A

In Duluth, MN, some the beaches of Park Point have been closed due to high numbers of E. coli bacteria. Many people blame this on the birds who may defecate into the lake. Since they do carry E. coli in their intestines, it is possible for it to pass into the water and raise the E. coli levels, so we decided to see if bird counts have a correlation with E. coli levels on Park Point. We chose two beaches on the lake side and two beaches on the harbor side of the point. We did bird counts on randomly chosen dates and times and used E. coli data collected by the MPCA. We ran into a problem when one of our beaches was not tested by the MPCA, but we solved this by grouping all the harbor counts and all the lake counts together. After completing our experiment, we came to the conclusion that there is a correlation between the number of birds, and E. coli levels. There were more birds on the harbor side, and higher E coli levels there as well. We can’t say that birds definitely cause high E. coli numbers yet, but there is a correlation between the two.

The Great Cockroach Choir

Sarah D, Laura H, Annie A, Mitchell B

The purpose of our experiment is to find out what makes a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach Hiss.  We wanted to know if human touch, contact with water, a confined space, or contact with the opposite gender would cause a cockroach to hiss.

We tried each of the stimuli on five different cockroaches, five times each, counting how many times a cockroach would react by hissing. 

Most of the cockroaches hissed one time when touched by a human.  They did not hiss at all when a drop of water was dropped on their backs.  The female cockroaches hissed in the confined space but the males mostly did not.  Only one male cockroach hissed one time when placed with a female.  The females did not hiss at all.

The Monarch Meadow

Certeria M, Gabe M, Ivy M, Meeso B, Zakaria S

The 6th grade class at New City School decided to create a model of our recently planted schoolyard garden: The Monarch Meadow.  The question we answered by doing this project is: What organisms live in our garden?  Our research about the plants and insects that live in The Monarch Meadow will help us learn more about prairie plants and the organism interactions that occur in this habitat.  Our observations and questions will also lead us to designing experiments.  This to scale model is made of wire, tape, plaster, and paper mache. 

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