Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

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Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby bumblebee27 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:19 pm

Hi,

My daughter who is in second grade had been very much interested in Marine invertebrate when she visited the local museum. When it was time for her science project she suggested to see if she can do a project using the marine invertebrate. I checked with the museum and they were generous enough to allow us to do a project. They suggested us that she can do something like testing the behavior of the invertebrates towards light. Whether they will be attracted or not. Even though it sounds simple, it looks like a good project. The other question my daughter had was how some of the animals like sea cucumbers see.

They have sea urchin ( purple and pencil), sea cucumbers, black spring brittle star, branded brittle star, dwarf red hermit crab, mexican turbo snail.

I would like to see if the experts here have any other interesting idea to adapt for the project.

I am wondering what will be the procedure one should adopt to measure the attraction towards light or dark.

Thanks

BumbleBee
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby connief » Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:32 pm

Hello there,

This is a really cool project! One idea is to test the idea of phototaxis, the phenomenon where organisms move towards or away from a light stimulus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phototaxis). For example, for all the sea creatures you've listed, what if you shined light of different wavelengths at them and record your observations of whether they will move towards a certain wavelength, move away from a certain wavelength, or whether they don't respond to certain wavelengths at all. Many creatures have developed ways to sense and respond to light because it's an essential part of their lifestyle. I did a quick google search and found an experiment protocol on testing algae phototaxis (http://www.udel.edu/MERL/Outreach/Teach ... s%20TE.pdf). Although the sea creatures you mentioned are a lot larger than algae, you can apply a similar idea to this project, and I'm sure that the local museum would love to help you out in planning out the experiments and doing them!

Let us know if you have anymore questions!

Best,
Connie
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby bumblebee27 » Sun Jan 12, 2014 8:55 am

Thanks Connie, we would like to pursue this idea of phototaxis.

I do have a question of different wavelength of light. Are you suggesting to use different color transparent paper for the different wavelength around the tank?

Regards
BumbleBee
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Project Due Date: Jan 2011
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby connief » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:54 am

Hello there,

I'm not sure if using different colors of transparent paper would really equal shining lights of different wavelengths at your organisms. What I meant by different wavelengths is that visible light contains six different colors that are represented by lights of different wavelengths. For example:

Violet 380-450 nm
Blue 450-495 nm
Green 495-570 nm
Yellow 570-590 nm
Orange 590-620 nm
Red 620-740 nm

Shining lights of different wavelengths at the organisms just means shining lights of different colors at them. So you would shine a violet light, blue light, green light, yellow light, orange light, and red light and see how the organisms respond to lights of each color (or wavelength), since certain organisms are able to react to certain areas of the visible spectrum only. For example, I once saw this really cool exhibit in a museum where they had a tank of algae and six light bulbs inside the tank, each shining a different color of the visible spectrum, and the algae only aggregated towards the blue and green lights. Does the local museum have lights of different colors that you can borrow to shine on the tanks? Talking to them would be a good idea to see what ideas they can come up with. You can also ask them about the idea of the different colored transparent papers to see if that would work. You can probably also order something like this (http://www.amazon.com/LEDwholesalers-Re ... lights+red) to set up your own light that is able to change into different colors.

Let us know if you have anymore questions!

Best,
Connie
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby bumblebee27 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:15 pm

Thanks Connie. My daughter liked this idea. I will check with the museum to see if they will allow us to do this.

Regards
BumbleBee
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby bumblebee27 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:34 pm

Hi Connie,

We did our experiment at the museum today. We got our lights which you had recommended. The museum let us use the different colors. We tested them on Brittle Star, Sand Star, Sea Cucumbers

For each color of the wavelength the reaction of the above animals were different. Sometimes they ran away, buried themselves, elongated themselves, moved towards the light.

Do you have any suggestion on how to use the observation in our result. Before we started on our experiment we planned to see if they stayed or ranaway from the light, but did not expect them to show various reactions to different wavelengths.

Thanks
BumbleBee
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Project Due Date: Jan 2011
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby connief » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:39 pm

Hello there,

Wow, your results sound really cool! It must have been really fun for you and your daughter to try these different conditions and see how the different animals reacted to them. How you present your results will really depend on how you want to frame the story of your experiment. To keep things simple, you can go with your previous idea of phototaxis and just state whether the animals moved towards the light, away from the light, or just stayed in the same spot. Then, you can make some conclusions about which wavelengths/colors of light by which these animals are attracted or repelled. However, you can always add in extra information about the other observations you saw--I think the elongation and the burying are very cool discoveries. It's these unexpected results that make doing experiments even more exciting! How exactly are you and your daughter planning to document your experiments? Does she have to write up a lab report for class or something? If you let me know a little more about how she needs to present her observations, we can brainstorm about what would be the best way for her to present her data.

It sounds like your experiment went really well. I'm so glad to hear that!

Let me know if there are anymore questions.

Best,
Connie
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby bumblebee27 » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:25 pm

Hi Connie,
Thanks for the reply. My daughter need to submit a lab book where she will note her findings, but will use a 3 fold to display t it so the judges can see her project and rank them.

She wanted to use the colors of light as part of her experiment. Once I told what you suggested about modifying she thought it will be fun to use colors. She also told that when reading about the 3 animals she selected, she found most of them do not like light. So I also thought doing the color of lights make more sense since that might be something the animals might not got exposed too.

We looked at
1.http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... html#using for lab note book

2.http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... #checklist and was planning to use this as the guide for our display.

Regards

Bumblebee
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Project Question: I am helping 2 kids in my school who are doing science project. One of them travelling to Asia for a 3 week vacation and they wanted to use the trip to compare things which could be different. I suggested to look into astronomy. Is there any other things to consider that one can do a experiment in 2 different countries and compare?
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby connief » Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:51 pm

Hi Bumblebee,

Sorry for the late reply--I hope it's still in time before your daughter needs to submit her materials! I think you both got some really great results from your experiment, and if you basically follow the instructions in those pages that you showed me, it will be great. I think the most important part is to figure out what the main question your experiment is addressing and the hypothesis that you tested. Since it seems like your daughter is very interested in the different light colors and you both originally decided on the idea of phototaxis, I would probably frame your main question as something along the lines of, "How do different marine invertebrates respond to lights of different lights?" and your hypotheses can vary depending on how you want to frame them. You can, for example, make hypotheses for the individual animals that you tried based on the background research you did. For example, if you found that one of your animals really doesn't like light, then perhaps you can hypothesize that it will swim away from the light when you shine it on them. For your data, you can probably record whether the animals swam towards a specific light color, swam away from a specific light color, or did not respond at all. You can probably have an extra column documenting other behaviors that you have observed. Then, it would make for some very interesting discussion in your conclusions, where you can say that initially, you had expected the animals to either swim towards, swim away, or not respond, but then you see these other interesting behaviors. Other experts, please chime in if you have any other advice.

Let us know if you need anymore help! Good luck with writing up and presenting your results.

Best,
Connie
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby bumblebee27 » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:58 am

Thanks Connie

We will plan it as per your advice. We are in good shape as per time and your advice was timely. We had completed the research section prior to our experiment, but could not
find much about the different colors. So we want hypothesis based on the intensity of the different color light. Is that good approach?

For control we monitored the animals in just regular room light and wanted to see if that is OK or is it not required for this experiment?



Regards

Bumblebee
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby connief » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:28 am

Hi Bumblebee,

It is totally fine that you could not find much about how these organisms respond to different colors (or wavelengths) of visible light--that probably just means that nobody has studied this yet and you and your daughter have discovered something completely new, which is awesome! I do realize though that this makes coming up with a hypothesis in relation to the different colored lights a little difficult though, since your experiment was a bit more exploratory as opposed to hypothesis-driven. However, we still should be able to come up with a hypothesis for this! In regards to your idea, for your experiment, were the different colored lights actually shined at different intensities? If you let me know a little more about your procedures, then I would be able to help you a little more. Why don't you think back to before you and your daughter did the experiment. Your initial question was how do certain marine invertebrates respond to lights of different colors. What did you two expect to happen with the animals based on what you did for your background research? How did you expect them to respond to the different colors? That would be a good basis for a hypothesis. Here are links to Science Buddies pages about generating hypotheses (http://www.sciencebuddies.org/blog/2010 ... thesis.php, http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... bles.shtml).

As with the regular room light, if I am understanding you correctly, you are using it as a control to represent something that emits all the wavelengths in the visible spectrum? It is a bit difficult to use that as some sort of control because you do not know what kind of wavelengths the light is actually emitting. What would probably be a better control would just be the dark, without shining any light on. In that case, you would probably expect your animals to not have any response, and you can compare that to conditions where you do have light shining on them.

I hope that was helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions and if you want to brainstorm more about a hypothesis for your experiment.

Best,
Connie
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby bumblebee27 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:39 pm

Thanks Connie

We plan to do experiment in dark ( without light) as control and see what happens.

Meanwhile found some info about light wavelength and its effect in water. Maybe we can base the hypothesis on it

http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/facts/red-color.html

Regards

BumbleBee
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Posts: 46
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Project Question: I am helping 2 kids in my school who are doing science project. One of them travelling to Asia for a 3 week vacation and they wanted to use the trip to compare things which could be different. I suggested to look into astronomy. Is there any other things to consider that one can do a experiment in 2 different countries and compare?
Project Due Date: Jan 2011
Project Status: I am conducting my research

Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby connief » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:42 pm

Hi Bumblebee,

That is an awesome find! This reminds me of a display that I had seen in a museum before (I think I had mentioned this) where they have a tank of algae and inside the tank, they shine lights that are of different colors of the visible spectrum, and you can see that the algae only swim towards the blue and green lights. Their reasoning for this phenomenon is that at the depth that these algae live in the actual ocean, only blue and green light are able to penetrate through and so they've only learned to respond to those light colors. I think your idea of basing your hypothesis on depth and how far the light can penetrate is a fantastic one!

Keep us updated on how your experiments are going, and let us know if you need anymore help. Feel free to share ideas about your hypothesis on here if you want to discuss them!

Best,
Connie
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Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby bumblebee27 » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:20 pm

Hi Connie,

It was so timely to see your response. Earlier this week my daughter came up with the following hypothesis.

Hypothesis.

Based on my research, my hypothesis is that

1. Sea Star will stay when shining red color light and run away from blue, green and purple

2. Brittle star will runaway from all of them.

3. Sea Cucumbers will stay in red color and will try to runaway when shining blue, green , purple color lights

Regards
Bumblebee
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Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:45 am
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Project Question: I am helping 2 kids in my school who are doing science project. One of them travelling to Asia for a 3 week vacation and they wanted to use the trip to compare things which could be different. I suggested to look into astronomy. Is there any other things to consider that one can do a experiment in 2 different countries and compare?
Project Due Date: Jan 2011
Project Status: I am conducting my research

Re: Science Project using Marine Invertebrates

Postby connief » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:08 pm

Hi Bumblebee!

Those are great hypotheses! However, I do have one small suggestion. The phenomenon of phototaxis basically says that animals can respond to light by either going away or going towards it, so is there a specific reason why your daughter thinks that they will run away from these different colored lights as opposed to being attracted to them instead? I think your hypotheses are great, but people might wonder what the reasoning behind you thinking they will be repelled by those lights instead of being attracted. If you have some evidence that you found that may suggest that, that is great! Alternatively, you can consider the option of saying that you think they will not respond to red light, let's say, but will have a phototactic response to blue, green, and purple by going away or going towards the light? Just a thought!

Best of luck with your project. It sounds like you and your daughter are doing great experiments and having lots of fun thinking about your results!

Best,
Connie
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