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The Receding Night: The Effect of Artificial Light on the Migration Pattern of Daphnia

Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Lab access required
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)


This elegant project employs a scientific approach that is particularly valuable in Environmental Science, but can be applied to other areas as well. The approach has three steps: 1) from your observations in the field, form a hypothesis; 2) create a simplified model system to test your hypothesis; 3) repeat your experiment in the field (taking into account what you learned from your model). The third step "closes the loop" and helps you to see if your initial conclusions from your simplified system are valid in the real world. Take a look at the project and see how it was done.


The purpose of this project is to determine if artificial light has an effect on the migration pattern of Daphnia in a simple laboratory experiment, in a simulation of a pond habitat, and in their natural pond environment.


Dana A. Feeny

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Last edit date: 2013-01-10

Experimental Procedure

The experiment had to be done in two phases. First, the Daphnia's natural migration pattern was observed. Then the effect of artificial light on these patterns was studied and compared to the original migration pattern. Daphnia were observed in test tubes and then in 3-foot columns of water and in their natural pond environment during the day and at night. Five different artificial light sources were introduced and the Daphnia were observed.

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