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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Cloquet Middle School 2013

Cloquet Middle School
509 Carlton Ave
Cloquet, MN 55720

Year: 2013
Teacher(s): Cindy Edwardson, Cynthia Welsh

Bacteria Cafeteria: Are cleaners effective in removing bacteria from student desks over time?

Morgan W, Tamara M

Students eat and slop on their school desks all the time, basically turning the desktop into a bacteria cafeteria (CNN, 2013). The question is: Are cleaners effective in removing bacteria from student desks over time? Ten middle school desks were swabbed with a sterile cotton swab and inoculated onto ten nutrient agar plates. Five of the ten desks were cleaned with sterile cleaning wipes for thirty seconds, both the cleaned and non-cleaned desks where again swabbed and inoculated onto agar plate’s right after cleaning and at 30 minutes, one hour, twenty four and forty-eight hours later. All fifty plates were taped shut and never opened and incubated for twenty-for hours at 37 degrees Celsius. The numbers of bacterial colonies were recorded. Results pending.


Colorful sponges: Does the color of the sponge effect the monarch butterflies feeding preference?

Samantha S, Maddy T

What color sponge do monarch butterflies prefer drinking from? We used four different colored sponges soaked in 100 % juice, orange, blue, purple, and white colored sponge squares. Four tests were made using five butterflies and after one butterfly died, four more tests were made to tally which sponge the monarchs landed on most often. Preliminary results show orange and purple to be the most preferred sponge colors.


Concealed Pharmaceuticals: What effect does ibuprofen contaminated water have on the reproduction and mortality rates of Lumbriculus variegatus in ibuprofen contaminated lake water?

Morgan S

The question is: What effect does ibuprofen contaminated water have on the reproduction and mortality rates of Lumbriculus variegatus (sediment worm) in ibuprofen contaminated Lake Superior water? To begin the experiment, twenty 100 milliliter (ml) glass beakers with two 15-centimeter diameter holes covered with a number 30 mesh sieve to prevent worm escape during water exchange. To each of the 20 beakers, 50 ml of l sediment was added, along with 100 ml of Lake Superior water and three concentrations Superior (30, 15 and 7.5 milligrams per liter) of ibuprofen contaminated Lake Superior water and six Lumbericulus variegatus. After ten days, the numbers of surviving worms were counted to determine ibuprofen’s effect on survival and reproduction. Results pending.


Grass Growth: Does Compost Mixed with Soil, Chemical Fertilizer Added to Soil, or Potting Soil Mix Affect the Germination and Height of Grass?

Madelyn G

Will grass germinate faster and grow taller with compost and soil, fertilizer and soil, or potting soil alone? Ten grass seeds were added to twelve pots;four pots had only potting soil, four pots had worm compost added to the soil, and four pots had liquid fertilizer added to the soil. Preliminary results show that seeds in the pots with compost and soil germinated most quickly, pots with liquid fertilizer and soil had more seeds germinate, and the tallest average grass sprouts are in the potting soil pots alone.


How do olfactory cues affect the response of Coenobita perlatus when confronted with challenges, such as how to locate a predator, prey, a mate, and refuge?

Ryan F

Coenobita perlatus, or the hermit crab, is an Arthropod (A-Z Animals, 2008). The question is: How do olfactory cues affect the response of Coenobita perlatus when confronted with challenges, such as how to locate a predator, prey, a mate, and refuge? First, a twenty-four inch diameter white circular tray was marked off with angles (0-360 degrees). A cotton pad soaked in the scent of a hermit crabs prey, predator, and a conspecific scent were placed at a certain angle in the tray. The hermit crab was than placed in the center of the tray and the angle of movement was recorded, whether the movement was toward or away from the scent as well as the speed of the movement to that location. Results pending.


It's in the mix! Does the percentage of compost mixed with soil affect the height and germination rate of grass seeds?

Maddison R, Makalaeh K

Reduction of waste and improvement of soil are the two main benefits of composting for society (Projectcompost.ucdavis.edu, 2013). The question is: Does the percentage of compost mixed with soil affect the height and germination rate of grass seeds? The hypothesis is: If the percentage of compost is 20% than the grass seed will have the greatest average height, fastest germination rate and most germinated seeds. An equal amount of grass seeds were grown in 16 pots. Four pots had only soil, 4 pots had 10% compost mixed with soil, 4 had 20% compost mixed with soil, and 4 pots had 30% compost added into the soil. Results are pending.


Larva Togetherness: What effect does monarch larva density have on larva growth?

Alyssa s, Emily P

Monarch butterfly lay their eggs on the underside of milkweed and once the larva hatch they only eat milkweed (Monarch Lab, 2013). The question is: What effect does monarch larva density have on larva growth? First nine plastic larva habitats were filled with one large fresh milkweed leaf, one set of three habitats had one larva, one set had two larva, and the last set of three had three larva in each cage. Daily the cages were cleaned and new milkweed was added. Each day larva mass in grams, and length in centimeters was recorded, behavioral observations were noted. Results pending.


Mealworm G0-round! What effect does centrifugal force have on mealworm growth?

Darren S

Centrifugal force is not a true force, but it is actually the effect of inertia, making the object in the middle move in a straight line, it can be used to expose animals to gravitational forces (Farlex. 2013, November 1). Mealworms are often used to feed other animals or for fishing. The question is: What effect does centrifugal force have on the growth rate of mealworms? First, six plastic Petri dishes were each filled with five grams of crushed rice cereal and apples pieces. Nine mealworms were exposed to centrifugal force (3-G’s) and nine were not three from each group were placed into a single Petri Dish. Mealworm mass and length were recorded daily, as well as the mass of food ingested. Results pending.


Monarch Likings: Do Monarch Larvae Prefer Milkweed Leaves or Pods?

Dylan B

Monarch larvae eat only milkweed but they will eat both the leaves and pods that contain the milkweed seeds (Oberhauser, 2013). The question is: Do monarch larvae prefer milkweed leaves or pods? The hypothesis is: If monarch larvae are offered milkweed leaves or pods, then they will prefer the leaves. To begin the study, milkweed leaves and pods were placed in seperate corners of the monarch larvae habitat; nine larvae were placed into the center of a plastic cage. After one hour, the number of larvae on the pods or the leaves was recorded; this process was repeated 12 times. The hypothesis was supported, more larvae were found on the leaves on average than the pods.


Paper or Plastic Microparticles, ma'am?: What effect do plastic microparticles, found in the Great Lakes, have on Orchenectes immunis, a brown freshwater crayfish’s appetite and behavior?

Claire T

Many face washes have microbead plastic pieces, now found in the Great Lakes; they are so small that waste water treatment plants can not remove them (Connor, 2013). The question is: What effect do plastic microparticles, found in the Great Lakes, have on Orchenectes immunis, a brown freshwater crayfish’s appetite and behavior? Three plastic habitats were set up with rocks, a shelter, and three crayfish in each container. Five grams of facial wash was mixed with three liters of water, dilutions were made at concentrations of 5, 2.5 and 1.25 grams per liter. One liter of each concentration was poured into each tank. Each day, nine crayfish food pellets were placed in each tank and the water level was checked. Results pending.


Radical Runoff: What effect does road salt have on Lemna minor (duckweed) frond production?

Gabrielle N, Brandi N

Twenty-two million tons of road salt is used annually nationwide, possibly entering aquatic systems (Science Daily, 2009). The question is: What effect does road salt have on Lemna minor (duckweed) frond production? If we add road salt to duckweed, then it will have an effect on the frond production. First make serial dilutions of the water (deionized and pond) with road salt (.18, .24, .30 and .24 grams/liter). Next, measure 60 ml of each type of water into each set of twenty plastic trial cups and five control cups without salt. Into each cup add six duckweed plants. Record the number of fronds in each cup and incubate the cups for five days and count the number of fronds to determine growth. Results pending.


Reattachment: Does a chrysalis that falls and is physically reattached have an effect on the adult Monarch butterfly emergence success and fitness?

Hannah B, Allie W

Monarch Butterflies and other species need to hang vertically, so that when they emerge, gravity can assist in their wing formation (Zippykid, 2013). The question is: Does a chrysalis that falls and is physically reattached have an effect on the adult Monarch butterfly emergence success and fitness? The Hypothesis is: If a chrysalis falls and is reattached, then the adult Monarch emergence and fitness affected. Ten fallen chrysalises were collected, massed and measured in length. Next, they were sewn back onto the lid of the insect container. After they emerged, the mass of the monarch and length of the monarch forewings were measured and behaviors were noted. Results pending.


The Science in Taste buds: What effect does age and gender have on taste?

Shawnee A

The cells in your taste buds send messages in your brain to determine what you taste (Dowshen, 2010). The question is: What effect does age and gender have on taste? To begin the experiment adults, sixth and seventh graders were each asked to taste test four liquids (vinegar, salt water, lemon and apple juice). Five milliliters of each liquid was poured into four paper cups, each person was given four tooth picks a set of cups, than asked to place one into each cup and touch their tongue. They then circled on a record sheet whether the taste was sour, sweet, bitter or salty and they rated (1-5) how strong the taste was. All toothpicks were place in a waste container by the test subject.


Ultra-violet Attraction: What effect does ultraviolet light and color have on monarch growth and preference?

Payten S, MacKenzie B

Monarch butterflies eat from the nectar of flowers and lay their eggs on milkweed (Monarch Watch, 2013). The question is: Ultra-violet Attraction: What effect does ultraviolet light and color have on monarch growth and preference? They hypothesis is: If ultraviolet light exposure and color are examined, than preference and eating habits will be affected. Three monarch cages were placed in room light and three exposed to a Ultra-violet low frequency black light. In each cage, four sponges were placed (white, pink, purple and blue). The change in food volume and monarch mass was measured every other day. Three times a day the color sponge the butterflies were on in each cage was recorded as well as activity level. Results pending.


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