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Introduction & Purpose

  • INTRODUCTION:
     
    Our 3-tier Eco-column displays 3 different levels of ecosystems containing both biotic and abiotic factors.  The bottom most level of the column is the aquatic chamber. In this chamber we placed a gold fish along with pebbles from a previous tank (adds bacteria essential for decreasing nitrate and ammonia levels), and an aquatic plant (controls oxygen levels.) 
     
    (the aquatic chamber before the fish was introduced)
     
     
    (Finnigan the fish)
     
    The next chamber up is the decomposition level.  It contains detritus (mainly dead leaves and grass), sand and gravel (for less leakage into the aquatic level), and insects to increase decomposition.  The insects included: 1 beetle and 2 worms.
     
     
     (putting gravel and sand into the bottom of the decomposition chamber)
     
     
    (the decomposition chamber)
     
     
    The highest chamber is the only one semi- exposed to outside air. It contains top soil and grass seeds.  Air holes were placed in the bottom of the terrestrial chamber to allow for leaching of minerals into the decomposition chamber, and to allow the gases from the decomposition chamber to make their way into the terrestrial chamber (increasing plant growth.) 
     
     
     (the terrestrial chamber)
     
    Our group's highest priority is to keep Finnigan alive and to do that we must find out the factors that will affect our fish the most.  The water that Finnigan lives in has to be just right for him to survive, and that's why we run a number of tests on his water every class period.  The temperature of the water is always important.   We test turbidty, which is the muddiness created by stirring up sediment or having foreign particles suspended.  The pH test meausres the acidity/alkalinity of the water.  It is measured on a scale of 1 to 14 where 1 is acid and 14 is alkaline.  Water's pH is normally neutral at a reading of 7.  The nitrate test measures the amout of nitrogen is in the water.  Fertilizers contain nitrogen, and if they make contact with the water, eutrophication can occur.  Eutrophication occurs when excessive nutrients from run-off of fertilizers, animal waste, or sewage causes a dense growth of plant life.  This can be dangerous for other aquatic life.  Testing Ammonia measures the amount of feces in the water.  Dissolved Oxygen is important for aquatic life, because every animal needs oxygen to survive.
     

     
    PURPOSE:
     
    To create three ecosystems, (terresrial, decompostion and aquatic), In one column and monitor the abiotic and biotic  factors of each so that two comparisons could be made; comparison other and it comparison to those ecosyetems outside the classroom. Keeping our fish alive is also a huge priority for our group. 
     
     
    (full ecocolumn on day 4)
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    Posted May 18, 2010, 11:05 AM by Amber N
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Materials & Procedure

  • MATERIALS:
    • 4- 2 liter bottles
    • detritus (such as rotting plants or fruit)
    • 1 cup of top soil
    • 1 cup of sand
    • gravel
    • pH monitor
    • nirtrate testing kit
    • ammonia testing kit
    • turbidity monitor
    • dissolved oxygen monitor
    • temperature monitor
    • 1 gold fish
    • grass seeds
    • 1 beetle
    • 2 worms
    • lamp
    • tap water
    • 2-3 drops of water treatment
    • 1/2 cup of aquarium water
    • tape

     

     


     (ecocolumn diagram)
     
    PROCEDURE:
     
    1. Remove all labels from the four 2-liter bottles.
     
    2. Cut your first bottle 2 centimeters below the shoulder.  The top part should be labeled 'A' and the bottom should be labeled 'B'.
     
    3. Your second bottle should be cut 1 centimeter above the hip and 2 centimeters above shoulder.  The middle section should be labeled 'C'.  The top and bottom sections can be discarded.
     
    4. Your third bottle will be cut 1 centimeter below the shoulder and 2 centimeters below the hip.  The very top section will be named 'D' and the middle section will be named 'E'.  The bottom part should be discarded.
     
    5. Your fourth bottle should be cut 2 centimeters above the hip.  The top section will be labeled 'F' and the bottom will be discarded.
     
    6. There can be as many chambers as you need for your stack of habitats. Make sure to punch holes in each of the 3 bottle caps you will be using.  This connects the chambers to allow the leaching of minerals and gas exchanges.
     
    7. On the bottle that is labled B, put in rocks and then water for the aquarium. Once this is done, add 2-3 drops of water treatment. Cut a little square on the bottle, but still attached and away from the water.
     
    8. Place the bottle that is labled F on top of B, tape if needed. In the Decomposition chamber, cut out a circle of a coffee filter that will fit in the bottle cap. Place that at the bottum. We will add one cup of gravel and sand, first we have to rinse them both, using a beaker, untill the water is clear. Put in the rocks first then sand.
     
    9. Select two people to get grass, bugs, worms, etc, for the decompostion chamber. Place all inside.
     
    11. Slide the shoulder labled D down just above F.
     
    10. The terrestrial chamber is C, put in 1 cup of top soil. Dampen the soil, then add the grass seeds. Push them into the soil and cover them. Place this on top of F and tap it.
     
    11. Place the shoulder labled A with the bottle cap down on C.
     
    12. Take the test on the water before putting the fish in. Take test on pH, Turbidity, nitrate, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and ammonia.
     
    13.Take these test once a week and three trails of testing. Observe the fish, feeding, also wether the fish dies.
     
    14. Add water to water the grass seeds when doing the testing.

  • Reminder That it's a Short Week This Week
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In tincidunt nisl felis. Praesent laoreet mollis justo id ornare. Curabitur congue, odio vel faucibus interdum, felis magna euismod ante, id dignissim lectus libero id nisl. Nunc justo arcu, eleifend in congue id, tempus et lorem. In ultricies tincidunt posuere. Duis ut commodo urna. Vestibulum tellus felis, faucibus eget blandit eu, egestas eu mi. Proin posuere adipiscing mollis. Nam sit amet neque erat. Nulla ac fringilla est. Suspendisse lacinia cursus imperdiet. Maecenas id ultricies eros. Mauris lacinia nibh et nunc porta laoreet facilisis ipsum consequat. Praesent id felis in ligula vestibulum hendrerit. Suspendisse tincidunt velit ut mi bibendum nec commodo sem consequat.
    Posted May 18, 2010, 11:05 AM by Amber N
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Data

  • Tests 
     Ammonia levels
    Dissolved Oxygen 
    (mg per liter) 
    pH 
     Temperature
    (°C)
    Nitrates
    Turbidity 
     
    Day 1
     2.5
     7.13
     21.5
     2.2 
     -8.4
    Day 2
     0.1
     1.0
     7.26
     21.6
    2.2
     18.2
    Day 3
      0.2 
     0.7
     8.12
     20
     0.88
     19.5
    Average
     0.1
     1.4
     7.5
     21
     1.76
     9.76

     Watering patterns:

     Dates:
     day 1
     day 2
     day 3
     Amount
    (ounces)
     3oz.
    1oz. 
     2oz.

    Qualitative Observations:
    We observed that as the days went on the ammonia increased and the disolved oxygen decreased. Ammonia started out as zero then increased to 0.1 than to 0.2
    The disolved oxygen started out with 2.5 mg/L and then decreased to 1.0 and then .7 mg/L.
     
     
     
  • Reminder That it's a Short Week This Week
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In tincidunt nisl felis. Praesent laoreet mollis justo id ornare. Curabitur congue, odio vel faucibus interdum, felis magna euismod ante, id dignissim lectus libero id nisl. Nunc justo arcu, eleifend in congue id, tempus et lorem. In ultricies tincidunt posuere. Duis ut commodo urna. Vestibulum tellus felis, faucibus eget blandit eu, egestas eu mi. Proin posuere adipiscing mollis. Nam sit amet neque erat. Nulla ac fringilla est. Suspendisse lacinia cursus imperdiet. Maecenas id ultricies eros. Mauris lacinia nibh et nunc porta laoreet facilisis ipsum consequat. Praesent id felis in ligula vestibulum hendrerit. Suspendisse tincidunt velit ut mi bibendum nec commodo sem consequat.
    Posted May 18, 2010, 11:05 AM by Amber N
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    Posted May 18, 2010, 11:05 AM by Amber N
  • This Week is Science Week
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    Posted May 18, 2010, 11:05 AM by Amber N
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Conclusion

  • Each chamber of our three-tier ecocolumn contained both biotic and abiotic factors.  In the aquatic chamber the biotic factors included one fish, an aquatic plant, and all the bacteria living on the pebbles, the fish and the plant.  The bacteria in the chamber produced carbon dioxide which the plant then exchanged for the oxygen that the fish needed to survive.  It was key to have enough biotic factors in our decomposition chamber.  Having worms, bacteria, and other insects in the chamber increases the decomposition of the detritus greatly.  The very top terrestrial level held soil rich with bacteria and decomposed material that helped the grass seeds we placed in the chamber grow through photosynthesis.

    The abiotic factors in our ecocolumn were mainly measured in the aquatic chamber.  The data from our ammonia tests showed an increase of 0.1 mg/liter for each testing day.  This increase was most likely caused by the fish’s waste.  The off gases from the aquatic plant and the bacteria affected the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.  When testing for DO, our results decreased from day to day.  By the last day, our DO level had decreased 1.5 mg/liter from the level found on the first day.  For our pH test, we found that the acidity of the water had decreased and become slightly more alkaline over the course of each day.  This may have been the result of the leaching of minerals from the decomposition chamber above.  The temperature of the water remained in a certain range for each of the test.  However, on the last day, the temperature dropped by 1.6 degrees celcius.  We believe this is most likely because our fish had been taken out at that point and he had been a small heat source for the water.  Nitrates are closely related to ammonia and the levels may have also have been affected by the fish’s waste.  The test for nitrates remained exactly the same the first two days, but dropped by 1.32 mg/ liter.  We think this was also affected by the fish’s absnce for the last test.  Turbidity is the muddiness created by stirring up sediment or having foreign particles suspended.  These results seemed very inconclusive due to the wide range of results we found. 

    The top chamber was very much affected by the decomposition chamber, because of the carbon dioide created by the decomposition of the detritus.  This helped the grass in the terrestrial chamber to grow.  The decomposition chamber also played a huge role in the well-being of the aquatic level.  The minerals that leached from the decomposition chamber affected the tests taken of the water.

    We think that our ecocolumn was better because our fish is alive an theirs isn’t. Our average temperature was higher then the average of many other groups. This is an odd finding considering that fish live longer in water with lower temperatures. The other group’s ammonia was higher then ours. Also, their dissolved oxygen was higher then our average.

    Personally, our ecocolumn seemed nearly perfect in every way.  It would have been nice if the grass in the terrestrial chamber had grown more, but that might have affected the end results of our experiment.  Out of our whole class of about 24 groups, our fish was the only one to survive.  We were, overall, very proud of our ecocolumn.

    Our group learned just how much each ecosystem works interdependently.  We realized how very important it is to sustain many different types of ecosystems.  The slightest of things can affect one ecosystem greatly, and if one is canged, then every ecosystem is changed in some way.

    Some of the equipment we used for testing, such as turbidity, seemed to malfunction.  We added sand and gravel to the decompostion chamber after the first day because we realized that the leaching of minerals from the decompostion chamber might be effecting the water greatly.

  • Homework For Week Of October 25th
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In tincidunt nisl felis. Praesent laoreet mollis justo id ornare. Curabitur congue, odio vel faucibus interdum, felis magna euismod ante, id dignissim lectus libero id nisl. Nunc justo arcu, eleifend in congue id, tempus et lorem. In ultricies tincidunt posuere. Duis ut commodo urna. Vestibulum tellus felis, faucibus eget blandit eu, egestas eu mi. Proin posuere adipiscing mollis. Nam sit amet neque erat. Nulla ac fringilla est. Suspendisse lacinia cursus imperdiet. Maecenas id ultricies eros. Mauris lacinia nibh et nunc porta laoreet facilisis ipsum consequat. Praesent id felis in ligula vestibulum hendrerit. Suspendisse tincidunt velit ut mi bibendum nec commodo sem consequat.
    Posted May 18, 2010, 11:05 AM by Amber N
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    Posted May 18, 2010, 11:05 AM by Amber N
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