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I Need Help! - January 12th 2011, 11:06 PM

In my biomedical Science class we have to come up with a Grant Proposal for an experiment and write like...8 pages over it and request for funding (lol and I'm a senior in High School) The only problem is I don't know what to experiment with and the proposal is due this Friday!

At first I was going to do an experiment over Tardigrade, and my teacher was fine with that before Christmas break. Then today I brought it up again and THEN she tells me it wouldn't be a good idea. TWO DAYS before the Grant Proposal is due and she tells me this.

Now I'm looking through the catalouge she'll order through, trying to figure out what I'm going to do so that I can write a paper and get things ready!

I want to do something with animals- like frogs, salamanders, or something, because they are relatively cheap in the magazine and I'm really fascinated with animals- and of course there would be no killing them.

But I have no idea on what I could possibly do with them! All that comes to mind is their diet!

I really need some ideas- any will be appreciated!


   
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Re: I Need Help! - January 12th 2011, 11:12 PM

I really enjoy tardigrades. I think they're the coolest things ever.

I always enjoy reading about sexual selection in my science blogs. Do you think you could do something with the sexual selection mechanisms of animals, e.g. which traits females prefer in males?


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Re: I Need Help! - January 13th 2011, 12:05 AM

I know, they're adorable <3 and so interesting!

But I'm sorta leaning towards how food intake in toads would affect their energy level. Like having one eat just crickets, another eating mealworms, and another eating both. Then I could test their energy maybe by how high they jump or how active they remain when they are out of their tanks. I'm thinking of using big toads, since it will be easier to test them.

But I'm wondering if I should remain consistent and get 3 tanks that are the same size. We have two tanks, but they are both different sizes. Then again, toads are very chill and I don't know if the size of their tank would affect their energy levels or not. But then again it might.


   
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Re: I Need Help! - January 13th 2011, 03:51 AM

Since you're in high-school, I think the easiest way you could measure the frog's energy is by measuring its amount of mating calls. Reasoning behind this is frogs with more energy spend more time doing the mating calls as the calls are energy expensive. A better way to measure it, which is easier to quantify is measuring its oxygen metabolism because as you know, more metabolism from more energy means more oxygen is used. The only way I've read to do this is using a method you wouldn't use in high-school, of injecting radioactive 18-O2 and measuring the radioactive decay (i.e. like a PET scan).

Having the frog move around may show the energy used but you need to keep the temperature stable and need to know the baseline amount it jumps around. This you probably could find online and compare it with your frogs to ensure it's similar. I don't see why you need 3 tanks, as if you're going to measure the amount it hops around, 1 tank is used for measuring individual frogs and the other is for storing them. If you're going to measure the amount of mating calls by the male, you'd need 3: 1 for the male being examined, 1 for containing the female and 1 for general male frog storage. You'd need to know the baseline amount the male frogs of that species give mating calls, which probably is found online also.

Remember, if you use big toads, they're not going to hop around as much as smaller ones because movements are more energy expensive if you're a bigger heavier thing than a small lightweight thing. So if you want the big toads to move a lot, don't expect them to be bouncing all over the place, in theory at least.

Another idea, which would take longer to do but still is based on this same idea is getting pregnant female frogs or toads and controlling their energy intake from the diet. You can observe the effects of under-nourishment on the baby frogs or toads and any stresses on the mother. You'd need a male frog and I have no idea how long it takes for them to have sexy time until the female gets pregnant. You'd also need to know when the female is actually pregnant so you don't fiddle with the diet before the fetus is there, unless you want to do that, which would be a bit easier.


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Re: I Need Help! - January 13th 2011, 05:42 AM

Hmm... there are lots of things I could suggest, but with high school resources and such, it might make things a bit hard. Obviously, you would make this much easier on yourself if you didn't use live animals, but there's still some stuff you could do.

For example:

-effects of various environmental factors on tadpole maturation (how fast do the tadpoles mature based on water temperature, salinity, contamination, etc)
-you could get really deep into it and find out the acceptable PPM of various chemicals for your local rivers and lakes, test the actual water, and then do a life cycle study using ideal, control, and actual water.
-The first experiment I ever did was a study of "green" cleaning chemicals and their effects on the growth of lemna duckweed. Just dilute the chemicals, add them to water, and toss in some duckweed, then do some stat analysis, and voila!
- Development of tadpoles based on high protein/low protein diets.

OR you can do what I did for my AP bio project, which I do not recommend for people with standards or morals.

1) Go to a university bookstore and purchase a intro biology lab manual. This may be a little pricey, but worth it. Pick out an experiment.
2)Go online and google "class schedule spring 2011+(university name)" find a corresponding lab. Email the TA and tell them you are a student who wishes to observe an experiment. They will most likely agree.
3)Go to said class. Observe experiment. Write up results. Hand in to teacher, get an A.
   
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Re: I Need Help! - January 14th 2011, 02:28 AM

Unfortunately my teacher would not go for vertebrates. She just won't let us do it and wouldn't give an answer.

BUT I can use things like Planaria, but I'm unsure of what to do because it seems like EVERYTHING has been done to these little critters. My teacher is super finicky about what experiment I do, especially if it's been done for (which makes me want to cry and just scream, because the Grant Proposal is due this Monday [she extended the deadline for me].)

So...Planaria, any ideas?


   
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Re: I Need Help! - January 14th 2011, 07:08 AM

One option would be examining factors that affect regeneration after certain parts have been severed. Before you mentioned you wanted to test how diet can affect the frog, so do that for planaria. You can also fiddle with the temperature, pH of the water, etc... . For the pH, you can relate to humans how we have a narrow range of pH that we can function in, so attempt to find that for planaria via regeneration. This would mean you'd be cutting up some animals but it's no complex dissections.

Alternatively, test how their behaviours are affected when they have to navigate through a maze to obtain a reward to test its memory.

Both of these ideas have been done before because there's not a lot you can do in high-school. I'd say doing something on plants would be better than for planaria because there's more options of things to do.


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