University of Minnesota

Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Cloquet Middle School 2008

Cloquet Middle School
509 Carlton Ave
Cloquet, MN 55720

Year: 2008
Teacher(s): Cindy Edwardson, Cynthia Welsh

Butterflies and Colorful Choices!

Brett P

For my experiment, I watched what colors monarch butterflies preferred, orange, green, purple, or blue.  I tested each butterfly for five minutes by recording how many times they went to each color.  Overall, butterflies preferred the color orange.  Blue and purple were the least preferred colors.  At times the butterflies were so active that it was hard to keep track of their color choice.  The light shining on the colored paper against the cage made orange look reddish.  This may be why it was the preferred color.

Butterflytopia: Does the Simulation of Summer-like Conditions (Light, Increased Temperature and the Presence of Milkweed) Affect Monarch Growth?

Alissa W

Adult butterflies drink nectar to survive and need a healthy environment to grow. The question was: How does a simulated summer-like condition affect the survival rate of adult monarch butterflies? The hypothesis was: If summer-like conditions are simulated then monarchs raised in the summer-like environment will survive longer than monarchs raised in cool, unlit cages without milkweed plants. We placed eight butterflies in two cages, four to a cage. One cage had a light/heat source that was plugged into a timer, maintaining 16 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness. In this same cage three small milkweed plants were placed throughout. Both cages had two Petri dishes containing 70 milliliters of 100% juice and a sponge. The juice and sponge were cleaned and changed daily. Butterfly mass and the amount of juice consumed/evaporated were daily measured in grams. We found that butterflies in the warmer environment drank less juice, and died sooner than their cold air counterparts. These results did not support the hypothesis that butterflies raised in a summer-like environment would live longer. 

Caterpillar Nation: What effect does cage size have on monarch larva growth?

Skylar F

My question was: How does cage size affect growth rate?  My hypothesis was: If cage size is changed, than larva raised in bigger cages would grow faster and larger. I started with two larvas in a larger cage and two in a cage two-thirds the size. The larva were weighed and measured daily, and milkweed consumed was recorded. The caterpillars raised in the larger cage grew to a bigger size before going into a chrysalis.

Crazy Crayfish!

Dakota B, Tyler S

In this experiment, we tested to see if gender affects crayfish dominance.  We took five crayfish and put them in a large tank of water with three plastic flowerpot houses.  We checked twice a day to see which crayfish gender was in the huts.  Male crayfish were in the huts more than female.  One crayfish died before the experiment began so we had an unequal number of crayfish.  We learned how to sex crayfish and to beware of their large front claws.  Ouch!!

Phantom Pharmaceuticals: What effect does ibuprofen have on Daphnia magna, a zooplankton commonly found in Lake Superior?

Angela M, Marlena D

Daphnia magna are zooplankton that live in fresh water. The question is what affect does ibuprofen have on Daphnia magna, a common wetland zooplanktons reproduction and survival rates? If Daphnia magna are exposed to ibuprofen, then their survival and reproduction rates will be affected. A two-hundred milligram tablet of ibuprofen was crushed and diluted with 1 liter of water, and then serial dilutions were made including 10, 100 and 1000 micrograms/liter. Results pending.

Shiny Objects and Butterfly Preference

Chloe K, Carley C

In this experiment, we tested to see if monarch butterflies prefer shiny objects, like aluminum foil, or colors such as green, red, and blue.  We hung three sponges from a cage after soaking them in juice.  Aluminum foil was wrapped around one sponge and holes were made in the foil.  We watched four butterflies for five minutes and counted how many times they went to each sponge.  We repeated this process several times.  We found out that butterflies od not seem to have a preference for shiny objects over colored objects.  They rarely even went to the sponges.  Our butterflies died before we could complete all of the tests. 

Soapy Sediment: What effect do surfactants (car washing fluids) have on Lumbriculus variegatus, a sediment worm's, reproduction and survival?

Randi N

The question is what effect does surfactant contaminated sediment have on Lumbriculus variegatus (sediment worm)? If Lumbriculus variegatus is exposed to surfactants, then survival and reproductive rates will be affected. Two-hundred milliliters of Boundary Waters lake sediment was mixed with different concentrations of surfactant (0.25, 0.5 and 1.0%). Then the sediment was placed in four beakers for each concentration, with screen covered drilled holes on each side of the beaker for water exchange. Results pending.


The Poop on Type of Milkweed and Frass Production

Landon H

In this experiment, I compared the mass of frass produced by monarch larvae eating either tropical or common milkweed.  I took two equal sized larvae and put one in a cage with common milkweed and one with tropical milkweed.  I weighed the frass daily.  I continued this until they became chrysalises and did it again with two new larvae.  I found out that the mass of frass produced was greater with common milkweed.  I learned that tropical milkweed is more toxic than common milkweed.

Walking Sticks and all that Frass Jazz

Drewrez B, Payton N

In this project, we used nine Walking Stick insects. We put three in one cage with Romaine lettuce, three in another cage with Green Leaf lettuce, and three in a third cage with Head lettuce.  We wanted to examine the amount of frass produced by lettuce type. Our results so far show that more frass is produced with Romaine lettuce, and the least is produced with Green Leaf lettuce.  These insects were previously fed Romaine lettuce which may have affected the results.  

Walking Sticks in Space! Does G-Force Exposure Affect Walking Stick Behavior?

A walking stick is an insect that looks like a small tree branch. Gravitational force is the amount of force the earth exerts on objects near it. My question is: Does being exposed space shuttle launce induced gravitational forces affect the behavior of walking sticks? My hypothesis is: If walking sticks are exposed to three times the gravitational force as on Earth than their behavior will be affected. The results of this experiment are pending.

Water Bugs and Green Slime: The Use of Daphnia Magna to Control Green Algal Growth

Emily C

My question is: How does the presence of Daphnia magna affect the amount of algae in pond water?  My hypothesis is:  If different concentrations of fertilizer and D. magna are used then algal growth will be affected. Four treatment groups were created: no daphnia, and 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5% fertilizer. Two daphnia were placed in each of the treatment groups, after seven. Chlorophyll absorbance was measured and chlorophyll-a concentration was calculated. The results are pending.

What's the sense of scents to monarch butterflies?

Justine K, Devan M

In this experiment we put three different scents, root beer, snowberry, and lilac, each on a different sponge.  We placed a butterfly on a scented sponge and timed how long it stayed there.  We repeated this with the other scents and with two more butterflies.  The snowberry scent was the most prefered on average while the least prefered was the rootbeer scent.  One of the butterflies died before we could finish all of the trials. We found out that butterflies smell using their feet and antennae. 

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