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Old 05-15-2013, 08:09 PM   #1
newb
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Science Experiment


Hey all!

Have to choose a topic for Environmental Science & write a paper based on the scientific method which involves conducting an experiment. The topic chosen was Asian Carp: threat to American waterways. My idea for the experiment is this:
Replicate a chosen biotope/habitat in the home aquarium and introduce an invasive specie.
With a cycled 5.5 gallon tank, was planning on obtaining 4 white cloud mountain minnows & create a SE Asian type biotope including: gravel, river rock, java fern & moss, wisteria, & duckweed. After 3 days, add a goldfish; after 5 more, add a second. Over the course of 10-12 days, was going to record water quality/parameters and observations. This experiment is to prove the threat of non-native species on an ecosystem; including the impact on native animal & plant life. This is only temporary! I am aware of the stress this will cause on the fish, but the tank size/fish were chosen b/c of the short time frame I have to do this. Anyway, I would love to hear anyone's thoughts on this!
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:34 PM   #2
Bandit1200
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Seems mostly you'll be doing an experiment on over crowding, not necessarily on invasive species. You said you'll be doing an asian biotope, but goldfish are also from Asia so there's no invasive species in your system. Another issue is that with only one tank there is no control for comparison.
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Old 05-15-2013, 08:51 PM   #3
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Goldfish are a man-made domestic result from selective breeding of the Prussian Carp native to China. The goldfish does not exist in the wild. Based on the characteristics of the Asian carp, I chose the goldfish. Overpopulation is necessary b/c I don't have the means or the time for a long term experiment, and it is essentially what the Asian Carp is capable of as well based on its spawning habits. A control tank is a good idea; however, thought I could get by without by recording information for a few days before introducing the goldfish. Do appreciate the response!
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:06 PM   #4
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It's going to be really hard to experimentally determine the invasiveness of a species - there are just too many variables involved to be able to adequately control them all.

Also, it's going to be difficult to do a short-term experiment involving aquaria, as just getting properly cycled takes about a month, and many of the critters have a lifespan that would make it difficult to study population/breeding and what not.


If you are set on the Asian carp, maybe look at some of the reasons that people have given as to why it's been so successful as an invasive, Or maybe just comparisons with it's original environment, and what natural limits it may have (disease, predation, limited resources) that aren't limiting in North America. Though, it will be more difficult to use the scientific method; I wish the educational system wasn't such a stickler on that, it's really just a tool/guideline.

If you can deviate at all from the Asian carp, maybe try something involving algal growth with different substrates/conditions, or the rate of population growth in daphnia (or some other live food culture) based on different food types or something.
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Old 05-15-2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback! The only issue is, that our topic has to be a current environmental problem: global warming, acid rain, deforestation, etc... Wouldn't be so tough if it didn't include an experiment.
I find the issue of Asian Carp interesting, though not completely set on it...and I do already have a cycled tank to use, so that helps some. I figured introducing a goldfish would lead to bigger bio load (poor water conditions), loss of aquatic vegetation, overcrowding (stressful conditions), competition for food, etc...easy to assume that given enough time may prove fatal for the minnows. (Because time is limited, I thought of introducing a second goldfish to symbolize reproduction). Most of these problems are similar to the impact of the Asian Carp in this country, but I completely agree with you on the difficulty in this experiment in terms of what I'm trying to achieve. I am open to suggestions or alternatives!
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:00 PM   #6
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I think you can get better responses if we know a little more about the assignment. Is this for your 3rd grade science class that is crammed between math and gym class or is it a senior year adv bio class or is it for your doctorate degree.

As stands right now I wouldn't call your setup an experiment, a case study at best.

stock two tanks both with same plants that are native to the US. weigh the plant mass in each tank before putting in. Add a goldfish to one tank and some native US fish to the other both similiar size. feed same amount of fish food each day, same photo period same waterchanges etc. wait 1 week.

for control set up a third tank same as other two but no fish, still add fish food though.

weigh all plant matter again in each tank.

remember sometimes the best experiments are those that just prove your hypothesis was wrong
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:12 PM   #7
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I'm a senior environmental science major. I suggest something easier than fish. How about setting up a small "ecosystem" similar to the littoral zone of a native water body near you. You can include scavengers and small, aquatic predators. Set it up with some native stem plants and mosses. After a short while you could introduce an invasive species of insect larvae or such and analyze the effects on the ecosystem. Would be much easier than fish.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:45 AM   #8
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The "scientific method" involves proposing a theory to explain some phenomena. Then using that theory to predict the results of an experiment that would produce different results if the theory is wrong. I can't see how this will be a "scientific method" experiment. But, it is interesting, even though I agree with lochaber that the time you have to conduct the experiment just isn't long enough, and there are too many variables involved.
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newb View Post
....The only issue is, that our topic has to be a current environmental problem: global warming, acid rain, deforestation, etc...
Asian Carp invasion, great idea about a real issue.

However, I think something on a simple level might be more realistic. I can think of two comparison studies that might work. Set up two identical 10 gl. tanks. keep it simple gold fish, hornwort, gravel filter.

You could focus on global warming effect on lakes. I believe it's up 3-4degress in the last 25years(?). So maintain one tank +4 degrees. You can add in Ozone layer loss as a contributing factor in warming and run a more intense light on the study tank.

OR, you could compare two tanks showing the effects of Crop field fertilizer run off effect on a lake. Again two tanks one dose with frets that would be used on Crop fields.

Even though we can pretty much predict the out coming, either should fit you assignment perimeters.
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