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Thread: Coursework/project

  1. #1

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    Hey everyone,
    In a few weeks I will be planning and setting up a major biology experiment which will strongly affect my final grade. I am talking about the *final* grade here, the grade which will follow one round for the rest of his/her life and all that talk needed to scare teens...but enough of that. Of course I want to do well. And so guess what topic I chose.

    Ok, so here's what I gotta do:

    1) I have to plan an experiment (not the tiny ones about mixing fluids you do in a lab), but a medium scale research type one with personal data collected, but not so big so as to require thousand dollar apparatus.

    2) Carry it out (probably at the college or in my home), over the next 5 months - hand-in date middle of October

    3) Write it up, with full conclusion and evaluation, and method to say everything to the last detail. 4000 words max in total. Not that much really considering how much I tend to pour out at the table... [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_m_32.gif[/img]

    So I need some suggestions. The plant of testing will probably be nepenthes, but I have hardly made my mind up. Its just that VFTs will be long dormant by then (these plants come from australia, mind you), but if I'm desperate I can always order from the US. Dews are good, but overall a small test subject, difficult to handle. Neps are the best fit. You can inject them, withdraw their fluids, feed them, with practically no effect besides they will grow massive and engulf the living room.

    I need ideas for the experimentation topic, basically. If it is to do with neps then I would be looking at things like testing the pH of their fluids, enzyme production at different stages of pitcher development, growth/rate of digestion when fed with different types of food (although I do not know ho win the world to test that)...and things like that. Remember, I have to keep it small.

    Other suggestions are of course welcome, I am still flexible and will change my mind if a good experiment concerning VFTs/dews/pings come along. Still it must be something doable.

    I am asking you to guide me through this. Or at least give me a few suggestions...I need to talk through it to make sure I am experimenting on the best possible (doable) topic and not flialing off unobjectively in no direction. If I do not have the resources I may appeal to those who have to come up with some results in their spare time, but I will do whatever I can first. You guys have helped me before and I am sure you will do so again.

    Jason

  2. #2
    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    How about an experiment on fertilizer vs. natural method of catching bugs for nutrients. You could have one nep "natural", one nep that was prevented from catching bugs and one plant you used fertilizer on but did not feed.

    You could study not only their growth but things like if the structure of the glands changed, the amount of fluid in the pitchers, etc.

    Something like that?



    "Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    You can try a specific Nep in various soil mixes, with all other variables being the same and see how they do. Include pine needles as media, if you can.

    Or try growing Mexican pings at different window exposures. See which flowers the soonest or turns pink.

    Or feed Sarrs. either milk, cheese or egg, to see which grows the best.

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    What about the relationship between fungi and Neps.
    Since most plants (normal) have fungi atached to the roots which brings in nutrients and the plant in turn feeds the fungi what about seeing if Neps do this? IT could proibly be published in the CPN later, if you don't hve to sign a paper that says you will not publish the results. I know to germinate certain orchids need a fungi to break them out of their seed coat.

  5. #5

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    Hmmm, you guys got some interesting ideas there, I will definetely consider them. One problem about measuring growth is the time factor though, I don't know if a few (1 or 2) months at least will be long enough a time period to measure growth. Possibly by leaf/pitcher dimensions?

    Some problems: I don't know if the humidity will affect the amount of fluid in the pitcher as well, un-abundance of bugs in my house...the idea about the structure of the glands sounds interesting, but how long do you think they take take to change? I thought neps were stubborn things...

    Treaqum: How would I go about doing this? Yes if I produce a paper worthy enough then I will send it in/publish the results. But only if it is worthy though.

    I don't mind if the ideas are not quantitative (hence qualitative like looking at shape of pitchers etc), or however vague. Just keep throwin' em' at me! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]

    Jason

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    Jason, I really like your idea on the PH fluids. Given your time frame/slow metabolism of Neps I think that would be the way to go. Plus, I don't think anyones done a very comprehensive overview of different Nepenthes PH levels. Thus, you'd not only be doing your school work but also finding out some interesting information for the rest of the Nepenthes world if you choose to publish it (Carnivorous Plants Newsletter would likely publish your findings if you sent them a copy). I say go for it! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]

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    A few quick thoughts:

    - seems that you'd want a very fast growing plant on which differences can easily be detected (Drosera come to mind)

    - possible topic - optimal foliar fertilizer concentrations / application frequency for specific Drosera species

    - ie: D. capensis & D. adelae - both readily available species (& according to D'Amato - the 'sisters' don't like fertilizer on their leaves so there should be some dramatic differences)

    Good luck on your project.
    All the best,
    Ron
    You must do the thing you think you cannot do. --- Eleanor Roosevelt

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  8. #8

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    JAson do you mean the publishing part or the project part. The project part I would assume you look at the roots under a microscope (which the lab must have) and see if any (probibly white) fungi is attached to the roots. The pblishing part go to www.carnivorousplants.org and click on CPN or Carnivorous Plant Newsletter adn it should be self explanitory.

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