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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Woodbury Middle School 2015

Woodbury Middle School
1425 School Drive
Woodbury, MN 55107

Year: 2015
Teacher(s): Dave Rafferty

Buckthorn Invasion

Andrew H

Buckthorn, known as its scientific name Rhamnus cathartica, is an invasive species brought over from Europe in the mid-1800s. Our experiment was to find out how much Buckthorn was in the forest near our school.  These were  some steps: 1) We had to figure out how big the forest 2) We randomly sampled the entire forest, 3) we calculated the mean number of Buckthorn per square meter 4) Finally we estimated the total number of Buckthorn in the Forest.  Although our final calculations are not finished the mean number of of Buckthorn appears to be greater than 10 individuals per square meter.  If time permits we will also use statistics to determine if the population is evenly distributed, randomly distributed or aggregated.


Build a Better Potato Trap

Fatima I

When we learned about potato traps in summer camp we wondered if other foods could trap invertebrates like potatoes can. We choose to try apples and peaches as well as potatoes and put them in three different environments: woods, tall grass and a patch of flowers. We left them there overnight, but when we collected our data some problems occurred.  Some of the traps had been disturbed by larger animals. We still were able to get some results and concluded that the potatoes trapped the most with peaches right behind and apples came in last.


Drift Fence

Abigail H

We studied the amount of arthropods a pitfall trap with the drift fence would catch versus amount of arthropods a pitfall trap would catch without a drift fence. After making five samples with the drift fence and five without we found out that the no drift fence caught 17 more arthropods then the pitfall traps with the drift fence but the results may indicate that the pitfall trap was next to an ant habitat so if we dont count the ants the drift fence caught more arthropods. These results confirm that the pitfall traps without a drift fence are more efficient for catching arthropods than the pitfalls with the drift fence.


Petri Dish Trap

Franklin D

I observed and studied the differences between what would attract more bugs, insects or critters using Petri Dishes, depending on what kind of substances or mixtures that were used. I used Coca Cola, Soil, Syrup, Water and an empty Petri Dish to keep as a control.  Over the few days the Petri Dishes were out there, It collected a total of :As you can see from the data above, it proves the fact that more critters prefer sweets and calories than the samples with only soil or water. It also proves that there is a big number of slug population in the ecosystem around us.  The vast majority of invertebrates preferred syrup over Coca cola.


Pitfall Traps with Bait

Rhea V

My presentation is about a Bait Trap experiment. I used different baits which included apples (1 slice), peaches (1 slice), and Nutella (2 tsp). The purpose of this experiment was to see which bait attracted the most arthropods. After leaving the cups in a nearby forest overnight we learned a not so wonderful thing. Apparently some of our bait was taken from the cups we had put our bait in. It could possibly be from an animal of some kind or even us! We still got some arthropods collected though, which was a great relief! This included rolly pollies, ants, beetles, millipedes, sowbugs, slugs, spiders, and snails. That's a lot of arthropods! In conclusion, I had some bumps along the way but we still had a successful first run for this unique experiment.


The Tree Shaking Experiment

Jade E

I used a method to capture invertebrates by shaking a tree. For this you need a tablecloth sheet, a pooter we made, ziplock bags, and a tub( if wanted). Really it’s simple you grab a partner and a handful of a tree then shake it onto the cloth, after that if small enough suck it up into your pooter (if insect is too large just place it into your ziplock bag).  We tried this method onto four kinds of plants, a Cottonwood, a Spruce, a Cherry, and Buckthorn. This experiment was based around the buckthorn plant, a plant that is an invasive species who takes sunlight and nutrients necessary for life away from other plant and tree mainly.


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