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Pill Bugs Deciding Dead or Alive Leaves Over Time

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Amanda Dauwen

on 25 September 2013

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Transcript of Pill Bugs Deciding Dead or Alive Leaves Over Time

Introduction
Materials and Methods
Results
Discussion
References
Pill Bugs Deciding Dead or Alive Leaves Over Time
Amanda Dauwen
(with Malisha Brekkestran)

Research Question
Background
Hypothesis
Materials
Procedure
Graph
Data Table
Variables and Groups
Set-Up
If given both dead and alive plant material, which one would the pill bugs prefer?
If live plant material is available for the pill bugs, then the pill bugs will not eat the dead plant material.
Alive leaves(3)
Dead leaves(3)
(from the same plant)
Choice Chamber
Pill bugs(6)
Timer
1) Place the live leaf on the left side of the choice chamber.
2) Place dead leaf on the right side of the choice chamber.
3) Put 6 pill bugs in the center of the choice chamber.
4) Start the timer and count how many pill bugs are at each leaf and are in the middle of the data every 2 minutes.
5) Repeat for three trials and change the leaves every trial. Also move the pill bugs back to the middle.

Independent Variable-The dead leaves
Dependent Variable-Pill bugs
Control Group-The test with the alive leaves.
Experimental Group-The test with the dead leaves.
Constant Factors-Choice chamber, Pill bugs, and leaves
Brown, C. 1999. "Armadillium vulgare". Animal Diversity Web. Accessed on Sept. 1, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Amardillium_vulgare/
Wright, J. 1997. "Pillbugs". retrieved from www3.northern.edu/natsource/INVERT1/Pillbu1 on Sept. 1,2013
In our experiment, we had three trials. To get our data we averaged all of the trials together. For two minutes there was one pill bug at the dead leaf and three pill bugs at the alive leaf. Then at four minutes not much changed; there was one pill bug at the dead leaf and two pill bugs at the alive leaf. At six minutes, there were no pill bugs at the dead leaf and there were four pill bugs at the alive leaf. Finally at eight minutes, there were two pill bugs at the dead leaf and three pill bugs at the alive leaf.The pill bugs tended to travel together, and on multiple occasions they were on each others backs. They mostly walked around the edge of the chambers and mostly avoided the leaves. When the pill bugs ended up on their backs, they couldn't roll over very easily. Overall the pill bugs preferred the alive leaves better than the dead leaves.
Conclusion
Our original hypothesis was, if alive plant material is available for the pill bugs, then the pill bugs will not eat the dead plant material. Our data did support our hypothesis, because there were more pill bugs in the alive leaf side of the choice chamber. Our results supported our hypothesis, and our hypothesis was true. Our research question asked if pill bugs would rather eat dead or alive plants. My data showed that they liked alive plants better than dead plants. Pill bugs are decomposers (Brown, 1999). Farmers can use pill bugs to fertilize and stabilize the top soil. They also add nutrients to the soil (Wright, 1997).
In our experiment there was an error that we noticed. In the first trial we were collecting data from, there was soil in the middle of the choice chamber. After the first trial, we removed all of the dirt, because the rest of the choice chamber didn't have dirt. Having the dirt in the middle of the choice chamber made the pill bugs want to stay in the middle and not venture out to either side of the choice chamber. I think a great project to lead up to this experiment would be to have each group build their own terrariums. You could grow different plants and see what the pill bugs liked the best. also you could see how pill bugs interacted with other animals. You could observe their habits in a closer range. You could also adapt the experiment we did to have something in their terrarium for the choice chamber. You could collect data for a month and then create a presentation at the end.
Pill bugs are also known as Armadillium vulgare. They eat fungi, dead, or alive plants and animals. Their eating habit can change easily because of the weather (Brown, 1999). The pill bugs use the Mississippi and St. Laurence rivers for colonization. There are 4,000 species of pill bugs discovered. The pill bugs cannot survive under temperatures of -22 degrees. Pill bugs do minimal damage to vegetation, and they return organic material to the soil (Wright, 1997).
Discussion
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