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Others Like “Invasive Species”

Science Fair Project Idea
Do your parents like to garden? Then you might have a beautiful lawn surrounded by flowers, or a vegetable garden. Humans have been introducing plants to our landscapes for centuries, which has dramatically altered the natural habitat of many environments. Chances are, the landscape you live in is not a natural landscape. One movement is to restore these habitats by re-introducing native plants. Conduct a survey in your area looking for native and non-native plant species. You can take… Read more
EnvSci_p030
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail How do conservation biologists know which places are important to protect? How do nature guides know which animals can be found in which places? In this experiment you can discover how maps can be used to show how different animals are distributed in a local environment. Read more
EnvSci_p044
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Survey your area to find out which species of plants and animals live there. You might be surprised to find out that something you grew up thinking was very common, is actually quite unique! For example, if you live in the great plains, then you may think that prairie dogs are a nuisance or a pest. Actually, some species of prairie dogs are only found here, and have a very important role for short and tall grass prairie ecosystems. The prairie dogs are an important part of the food-chain, and… Read more
EnvSci_p031
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
Ladybugs are common insects in North American gardens that prey upon aphids, making them all the rage in biological pest control. Ladybugs can be bred in captivity making them a good insect to study. Just chop off an aphid infested plant stem for food, make a water soaked cotton ball for water, and add to a small plastic container with a lid to make a breeding box. You can use ladybugs collected from the wild, or buy ladybugs from your local nursery. The most common species is the 12-spotted… Read more
Zoo_p036
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Material Availability Ladybugs can be collected from the wild, or purchased from a local nursery or an online vendor such as [# Link Name="Zoo_p036.1" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Science Fair Project Idea
Some plants use a lot of water, and some are very drought-tolerant. Drought-tolerant grasses are good for water conservation because they require less water to grow and stay green. How much less water do they need? Which types of grass are drought-tolerant? You can buy different types or brands of grass seed at your nursery that claim to be drought-tolerant. Grow them in a container and then starve for water after they are established. Which brands die out first? You can conduct a similar… Read more
EnvSci_p022
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Science Fair Project Idea
Our forests are a very important natural resource that need to be managed wisely. We use wood products for many different purposes: building materials, paper, cardboard, furniture, fuel, etc. How can we use wood products in a sustainable manner? You can do experiments that examine the growth time of different tree species to see which are good candidates for tree farming. Which types of lumber are most sustainable? You can also compare the effects of clear cutting vs. thinning a forested… Read more
EnvSci_p038
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Native plants are important for both ecological and medicinal reasons. However, most native plants are not very well studied. One way to know more about these plants is to understand which other species of plants they are most closely related to. In this science project you will sequence part of the chloroplast genome from a native plant and use this information to determine its evolutionary relationship to other species of plants. If the plant you chose has not been sequenced before, you can… Read more
Genom_p012
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites High school biology class; familiarity with using the PCR machine and gel electrophoresis equipment, and/or using the equipment with a mentor.
Material Availability You will need specialized pieces of equipment, including a PCR machine (thermocycler) and a gel electrophoresis apparatus. If your school does not have this equipment you might want to seek out a mentor at a junior college, university, or biotechnology company. If you have the resources you can do the DNA sequencing yourself, otherwise you can send the samples to Dr. Baysdorfer at California State University, East Bay, see Experimental Procedure for more details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety This project uses ethidium bromide, which is a carcinogen. Always wear gloves and safety goggles when handling. Dispose of the ethidium bromide according to your school or institute's hazardous waste protocols. If you have concerns, ask your teacher or mentor for advice.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail When is an animal considered endangered? When will it become extinct? What happens when a population has reached the limits of its resources? What happens to a population when a habitat changes? These are some of the questions population biologists try to answer. They use population models, created from math equations, to predict what will happen to a population over time. If you want to see how modeling is done and make some predictions of your own, you certainly won't need a crystal… Read more
EnvSci_p049
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Only arithmetic is needed to make the model; however, some exposure to simple programming will make this science fair project easier, and exposure to the Euler number, e, will make the model more understandable.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
The conversion of forested to unforested areas has been occurring since humans began to impact and change their environments during the agricultural revolution. Recently deforestation has become a global problem, particularly for developing industrial countries and countries with very large populations. You can use satellite mapping resources to investigate the connection between urbanization, population growth and deforestation. You can also investigate the connection between deforestation… Read more
EnvSci_p033
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Science Fair Project Idea
Silt is a fine sediment that collects on the bottoms of rivers, streams and lakes. The natural process of the decay of organisms into the water can lead to the production of silt at the bottom of a lake. Silt can be a rich source of nutrients for fish and bottom dwellers like crayfish. However, it can also be introduced by unnatural processes. One problem for rivers, lakes and streams is the buildup of excess fine sediment introduced by industry. Because it often contains harmful chemicals it… Read more
EnvSci_p035
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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