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Old 02-11-2014, 04:39 AM   #1
clincoln9
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Research Proposal Ideas....Need some ideas!!


So I'll start by saying that I'm a sophomore in a university as a biochem major. I've been presented with a possible opportunity to conduct a research project of my choosing. Naturally, my first thought was something related to aquariums. I was hoping to get some suggestions on some possible ideas related to and having anything to do with fish tanks, plants, or shrimp.

I want to do something that hasn't been done before. We know the effects of certain compounds on plant growth. We know the role co2 plays in plant growth.

I was thinking possibly something along the lines of selectively breeding shrimp to make a new variety, if there are any left undiscovered. Is it possible there are still unknown varieties? Something else that intrigued me was the genetics of shrimp. To my knowledge, it seems shrimp genetics aren't very scientific and little seems to be known in terms of dominant genes vs recessive and what not.

Research with vertebrates is possible, but just requires a little more paper work.

Just a few possibilities I thought of. Any and all suggestions are welcome!
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:28 AM   #2
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You could become a "go to" paper/article author if you proved the usefulness of
650nm light in plant growth. Many debates have happened as a result of there not being definitive proof of any usefulness to replacing a bulb/w one of the roseated type in any two bulb system. The current info that I have on actinic is that all though plants use that spectrum, the exchange of one bulb in a two bulb system lowers the overall effectiveness level of your light because of the bery limited amount of overall useful light in the actinic bulb other than that narrow band of the actinic spectrum as opposed to the much broader available spectrum found in the typical "white" bulb.
I do believe this same concept applies to the 650nm range bulb also and am in the process of doing an experiment/w plants on that subject. But as it is not laboratory quallified and yours would be...you would be credible and mine not.
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Old 02-11-2014, 07:06 AM   #3
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You can try to take a look at this previous thread here:

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...321&highlight=

There are lots of questions that can be asked, but they have to be asked the right way in order to have a project that is completable within 1 year and with the equipment that is available to you.

That being said, I would say that a genetic-based research is quite difficult, unless you have access to high throughput sequencers (454, HiSeq, PacBio, etc). I would say Helioscope, but they went out of business
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:41 AM   #4
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You are being graded on scientific method, you're not competing for the Nobel Prize in science.

Take Darkblade's advice and find a question that you can work with within the semester time allowed.
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Old 02-11-2014, 01:38 PM   #5
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You could make a doctoral and career out of shrimp color genetics, and be quite in demand as the foremost pioneer in that direction- gathering a worldwide reputation in the process. No joke!

HOWEVER, as a sophmore, Darkblade and Dogfish are quite correct in the advice to stick with something not so broad- and can be written up in the length of time you are provided..

If you would like to work with shrimp, there is a debate in the community about whether OEBT are really blind for instance. Not that you would have to go with that, however One question, One direction, One area of research to study and try to disprove in the scientific process using university knowledge, staff, equipment, and observation. It may help if you have can get access to an electron microscope as well. I, for one, would LOVE to know if this can be proved or disproved.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:41 PM   #6
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With reference to Raymond's post there is actually a lot of research being done on photomorphogenesis in vascular plants and the role specific wavelengths such as the red/far red areas of the spectrum play in their growth. Research has already turned up some amazing stuff that is quickly moving into agricultural practice (delayed flowering, accelerated flowering, seedling growth etc.). Most of this research (so far as I know) is centered around terrestrial plants.

In the non-vascular area there is also a lot of research being done on the role light plays on the GROWTH of algae (obviously, there is and has been a lot of interest on algae as an energy or food source). But we aquarists don't like algae and it would be very interesting to review the current work on algae growth and see if there is a way to utilize selected wavelength and/or photoperiods to SLOW algae growth. Or kill the darned stuff completely. My gut, having seen a small part of what is possible in vascular plants is that there is a way to do this.

Please report back when you have figured it out. (;-)
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:08 PM   #7
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Some anecdote popped up on this forum a while back, someone had claimed that there were less mosquito larvae in outside containers that had floating plants in them. A bit more ecology then biochem...

You'll likely have to wait a bit till things warm up there, but this would be pretty easy to set up, likely have little to no regulations, and pretty easy simultaneously run multiple sets so you get a decent N. Could give you a lot of avenues for further investigation if you want to maybe look at some independent study/research or something later on.

at least 3 identical containers, one empty, one with surface floaters (frogbit, water lettuce, etc.), and one with subsurface floaters (like hornwort or something).

periodically check for mosquito larvae, come up with a regular, repeatable way for quantifying the amount/size of larvae, etc.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:52 PM   #8
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The shrimp idea would be really cool.

Maybe you could do something with a self sustaining tank that can support more advanced aquatic life and not just things like brine shrimp, goldfish, ghost shrimp, algae, etc. You might need more time on that though since you have to record it for a while to show that it worked.

Right now even though I am still in middle school I am doing a science project on how natural aquatic filters like plants and porous things (lava rocks) work to keep nitrates down. I have been doing water tests every other day for a little less than a month. I only have 4 more left.

Good Luck!!!!!!!
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:13 AM   #9
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A biochem major proposing a genetics experiment? Anyone else catch that.

A very basic genetics study for one trait requires two uniform fixed lines as parentals. Then you create the F1, followed by the F2 and BC1 to each parental. This means that there is a minimum of 2 generations. Depending upon the shrimp species, conditions, water termperature, etc each generation can take 2 to 6 months. You also need have as high of population as possible. So 500 each of the F2 and both BC1's will give you very accurate numbers.

If you want to do an experiment in Biochem and a planted tank, I recommend that you don't bypass the plant hormones reaction so readily. Setting up a series of identical high tech tanks and then adding different hormones, growth regulators, might be very interesting.

Ethylene, gibberrellins, abscisic acid, auxins, and cytokinins, react differently with each species. Don't even think that all of this work has been done or is understood. Personally I've been wondering what effect etheryl would have in aquatic plants.
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Old 02-12-2014, 05:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clincoln9 View Post
So I'll start by saying that I'm a sophomore in a university as a biochem major. I've been presented with a possible opportunity to conduct a research project of my choosing. Naturally, my first thought was something related to aquariums. I was hoping to get some suggestions on some possible ideas related to and having anything to do with fish tanks, plants, or shrimp.

I want to do something that hasn't been done before. We know the effects of certain compounds on plant growth. We know the role co2 plays in plant growth.

I was thinking possibly something along the lines of selectively breeding shrimp to make a new variety, if there are any left undiscovered. Is it possible there are still unknown varieties? Something else that intrigued me was the genetics of shrimp. To my knowledge, it seems shrimp genetics aren't very scientific and little seems to be known in terms of dominant genes vs recessive and what not.

Research with vertebrates is possible, but just requires a little more paper work.

Just a few possibilities I thought of. Any and all suggestions are welcome!
For red aquatic submersed plants, you might look at anthryocyain production with 3 concentrations of jasmonic acid. No one has done that. That would tie in to the Biochem and molecular aspect of your degree. The cost for the JA is not too bad if you are at a research facility. Analyzing AC is not too bad either. Very little has been done with aquatic plants generally.

Shrimp genetics/breeding can be done but if you need several generations or you hope to develop a new type, well, what happens if it does not work out? What do you have left? Is there a back up plan in other words? They will want to be fairly sure you will get some useful data out of this. So you NEED back up plans, whoever is supervising or funding this, will be much happier if you address each step and a have alternative back up plans should things not go as planned, as is often the case. Happened to me many times, so I went with whatever came along and have always been rather quick to develop a new method or idea to use. Some folks have that knack, others, well it takes them a long time or they have fragile egos and need more personal time between failures. Fear not, most get over that after they finish grad school

Might be okay for some research projects, but I'd move away from this one.


Plants often can provide good short term alternatives vs critters.

I wanted to do Rift cichlid genetics when I was 10 and spoke with a few professors, they were encouraging, but they also mentioned the time involved and the tanks I needed.

Mutations in shrimp, now you are talking.
Seeing if you can identify a specific gene that controls the color in RCS, or white in CRS or or.........in the wild type vs the Fire Red inbreed. This will be most useful later for any Molecular Biology and I think you have PLENTY of other genes to check out between various shrimp types this way and you can also add chemical or environment stress to treatment shrimp and see if they upregulate different genes to help survive etc, Heat shock proteins etc are useful etc and other sub lethal stress genes.

The cost for that research is much more than the plant test I suggest, but also you have many good options and good grad school resume/good research skills. Be cool if you could transform the genes for color from CRS to RCS also, or an Amano with a RCS.

So we'd have these large red Amano shrimp.

those would be a couple of good ideas where'd you would have some options if the 1st test did not go so well/as expected.

I agree with the V, stay away from all that, JA is a more interesting plant growth regulator(hormones is really more a critter name).

Ethylene is well understood for it's role in flood/submergence response by plants in rice and many other species of wetland plants. Basically tells the wetland plant it is under water and to bolt for the surface if ethylene concentrations builds up internally, as gas diffusion is 10,000X slower in water than air, so it builds way up suddenly.

See Jackson et al for more on Rice, Ethylene, flood response, pant growth regulators.
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Ethylene is well understood for it's role in flood/submergence response by plants in rice and many other species of wetland plants. Basically tells the wetland plant it is under water and to bolt for the surface if ethylene concentrations builds up internally, as gas diffusion is 10,000X slower in water than air, so it builds way up suddenly.
Question: Would increased ethylene concentration prior to flooding in a DSM cause a faster adaption to submerged growth?

i.e. Put a bunch of banana's in the tank and seal the top for a week prior to flooding. We'll have to call it "Feeding the Monkey". LOL
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:21 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone for the ideas! You all saved me tons of time and money convincing me selectively breeding shrimp isn't really a logical choice. I guess I was just too excited about the idea that I didn't really think it through thoroughly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plantbrain View Post
For red aquatic submersed plants, you might look at anthryocyain production with 3 concentrations of jasmonic acid. No one has done that. That would tie in to the Biochem and molecular aspect of your degree. The cost for the JA is not too bad if you are at a research facility. Analyzing AC is not too bad either. Very little has been done with aquatic plants generally.

Shrimp genetics/breeding can be done but if you need several generations or you hope to develop a new type, well, what happens if it does not work out? What do you have left? Is there a back up plan in other words? They will want to be fairly sure you will get some useful data out of this. So you NEED back up plans, whoever is supervising or funding this, will be much happier if you address each step and a have alternative back up plans should things not go as planned, as is often the case. Happened to me many times, so I went with whatever came along and have always been rather quick to develop a new method or idea to use. Some folks have that knack, others, well it takes them a long time or they have fragile egos and need more personal time between failures. Fear not, most get over that after they finish grad school

Might be okay for some research projects, but I'd move away from this one.


Plants often can provide good short term alternatives vs critters.

I wanted to do Rift cichlid genetics when I was 10 and spoke with a few professors, they were encouraging, but they also mentioned the time involved and the tanks I needed.

Mutations in shrimp, now you are talking.
Seeing if you can identify a specific gene that controls the color in RCS, or white in CRS or or.........in the wild type vs the Fire Red inbreed. This will be most useful later for any Molecular Biology and I think you have PLENTY of other genes to check out between various shrimp types this way and you can also add chemical or environment stress to treatment shrimp and see if they upregulate different genes to help survive etc, Heat shock proteins etc are useful etc and other sub lethal stress genes.

The cost for that research is much more than the plant test I suggest, but also you have many good options and good grad school resume/good research skills. Be cool if you could transform the genes for color from CRS to RCS also, or an Amano with a RCS.

So we'd have these large red Amano shrimp.

those would be a couple of good ideas where'd you would have some options if the 1st test did not go so well/as expected.

I agree with the V, stay away from all that, JA is a more interesting plant growth regulator(hormones is really more a critter name).

Ethylene is well understood for it's role in flood/submergence response by plants in rice and many other species of wetland plants. Basically tells the wetland plant it is under water and to bolt for the surface if ethylene concentrations builds up internally, as gas diffusion is 10,000X slower in water than air, so it builds way up suddenly.

See Jackson et al for more on Rice, Ethylene, flood response, pant growth regulators.
These ideas are quite intriguing. I could certainly do a basic DNA electrophoresis in agarose or polyacrylamide gel, but then trying to transform the red from an RCS to an amano, that I'm not sure is something I could pull off...that would be incredible though.

As for the anthryocyain production in red plants with the presence of jasmonic acid, that also seems like it could be an interesting project. I was curious so I read a few experiments done in a similar manor with terrestrial plants. I read that anthocyanins have been found to inhibit growth of cancer cells...how has more research not been done on this??? Basically the problems I read were that there was no commercially viable process to grow and extract the anthocyanins. One study found jasmonic acid and intense light to be best for production. Could be fun to test this with aquatic red plants!


Quote:
Originally Posted by THE V View Post
Question: Would increased ethylene concentration prior to flooding in a DSM cause a faster adaption to submerged growth?

i.e. Put a bunch of banana's in the tank and seal the top for a week prior to flooding. We'll have to call it "Feeding the Monkey". LOL
Does that mean if we could induce this while still emersed(not sure how that could be done), then by the time of flooding, the plant would be more ready for slower gas diffusion that occurs in water?
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:26 AM   #13
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See if the plants grow faster when you clamp headphones to the tank playing actual music versus American music.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:07 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clincoln9 View Post
These ideas are quite intriguing. I could certainly do a basic DNA electrophoresis in agarose or polyacrylamide gel, but then trying to transform the red from an RCS to an amano, that I'm not sure is something I could pull off...that would be incredible though.
What Tom suggested would be extremely difficult to do. You would first have to isolate the gene that gives colouration (is this known?). Isolating it and cloning it into a vector would be relatively "easy" but can still take time. This in itself could be fine for your project. Then again, if you have access to funding, you can order custom made genes nowadays (all the cloning would be done for you).

Trying to get it into the target is another steep problem.

Doing an electrophoresis on shrimp lysate (grinding up a shrimp) would generate a smear, which would not really tell you anything informative.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:56 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by clincoln9 View Post
Does that mean if we could induce this while still emersed(not sure how that could be done), then by the time of flooding, the plant would be more ready for slower gas diffusion that occurs in water?
That is exactly the idea - will or work or not? Don't know.

Ethylene is a gas - Seal the top of the tank and pump it in from a tank like CO2. Or as I mentioned: climacteric fruit like banana's, tomatoes, pear's, peaches, cherries, muskmelons etc. produce this gas during the ripening process. Banana's produce the highest concentration I believe.
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