The beauty of butterflies makes their culture particularly charming. Do not believe you will immediately have these beautiful insects, in fact for most of the time you will have to raise caterpillars and preserve pupae. Only at the end will you have butterflies. To culture these pretty insects, you first have to read texts about lepidoptera and practice in the field. In this way you will learn how to find butterfly eggs, to raise caterpillars and to keep pupae, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. Usually, butterflies prefer one or a few kinds of plants called hostplants. Caterpillars feed only on these plants and it is only on these that the adult female lays her eggs. So, in order to find the eggs of a given species of butterfly it is necessary to know which are its hostplants and when they lay eggs.
You should breed caterpillars in well ventilated cages. They have to be closed with mosquito net to avoid predators (figure 14). In fact, many bugs lay their eggs in the body of caterpillars. You have to feed your caterpillars with fresh leafy branches of the host plant. To do this you can pot these plants and insert them in the cage, or you can insert the cage over a branch without cutting it from the plant. If this is not possible, cover a branch of the plant with a cloth bag including the caterpillars. Cure the pupae according the suggestions in the books. When butterflies emerge from their cocoon, free them where you have collected the eggs. If you want to keep some adults to admire them, put them in cages like the one of the figure 14 and nourish them with mixtures of water and honey. Often, the caterpillars you find in nature are victim of bugs which lay their eggs on the caterpillar. In this case, there are little dark spots on the caterpillar skin. You can raise these caterpillars to study their parasites.
Butterfly Gardening and Conservation
The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Conservation Project
Caterpillar Hostplants Database
Unsure About Butterfly Releases?
Internet keywords: butterfly breeding culture.
Drosophila, best known as vinegar fly or fruit fly, is the little fly you see flyingaround vinegar and on fruit during the fall. Why raise vinegar flies? To observe theirdevelopment, to observe the chromosomes of their salivary glands during division, toperform experiments on genetics, finally as food for amphibians that have just completedtheir metamorphosis. In this case it is necessary to breed a species that can't fly. Youcan obtain individuals with vestigial wings (wings which are not fully developed)at a university Biology or natural sciences department.
Culture medium recipe for drosophila: water 83 ml, agar-agar 0.8 g, sugar 5 g, brewer'syeast 10 g, alcohol 1.3 ml, nipagin
0.25 g. Nipagin M is used as a preservative in foods and cosmetics, like agar-agar, youcan buy it at the stores that sell science items for laboratories. Mix the yeast and thesugar, add agar-agar and water and simmer for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Dissolve thenipagin in alcohol and add to the rest when it has stopped smoking. Mix and let it set.
You can find other recipes at the following websites:
Aquick and simple introduction to Drosophila melanogaster
Fruit Flies - Drosophila melanogaster
Drosophila Culture (how to culture flightless fruit flies)
Observing the Development of Drosophila in Apple Juice Agar
Drosophila Genetics Lab I
A bibliography for an insect field biology course
La drosophile (in French)
Internet keywords: drosophila culture -cells, wingless fruit flies vinegar fly.
Ponds are among the richest and the most interesting natural environments to observe. Tomake a pond it is sufficient to have a garden or, a meadow or a wood near your home. It isnot necessary to be large, a square meter (9 square feet) of surface is sufficient, buttwo(18 sq. ft.) are better. Find a shady position in the garden. Dig a hole of about 2square meters, 50 cm(2 feet) deep. At least one side, the border has to gently slope downto allow to little animals to enter and leave, for hedgehogs and opossums to drink and tobirds to bath without being too deep. Put some sand in the bottom. Leave the grass on theside. Bare roots are okay. Waterproof the hole with a tarpaulin of white PVC. Why white?Because you can see aquatic animals better when they come near the shore. Cover the borderof the tarpaulin with the grass sod. Allow the tarpaulin to extend for at least 40 cm (16inches) beyond the sloping shore. In this position you can keep the water in such a way tocreate the typical conditions of a marsh. Fill up the pond with tap water and shovel somesand or soil in the bottom: they will benefit the aquatic plants. Go to a natural pond ormarsh and collect some aquatic plants. If it is possible, carry some gallons of water fromthe pond and pour them into your puddle, which will be enriched with microorganisms,algae, and animals, which live in ponds. In few days, your little pond will become greenwith algae and very rich of protozoa. Rapidly dragonflies will come to lay eggs, boatflies, coleoptera and aquatic spiders also will come. In the spring, frogs and newtswill come to lay eggs. The observation of the life in a pond is fascinating. You canremain for hours watching the organisms, which live in this ecosystem. Buy books torecognize the organisms that live in the ponds. See bibliography (5, 6). These texts willalso give you also useful information on the habits of these plants and animals. For anexercise, note your observations in a book, glue pictures, and sketch drawings. Everyyear, during the fall, you should clear out the pond. Shovel out the stinking mud, washthe tarpaulin, or changed it if it leaks, put some tap water, winter rain will supply theremaining part. In spite of what shopkeepers will tell you, your pond does not need pumpsto circulate water, nor aerators, nor falls, nor fountains, nor anything else. The pond isbetter to be as natural as possible. Little ponds of private gardens are very important toamphibians. Avoid introducing fish. They will eat the eggs of the amphibians and thetadpoles. Moreover, the newts will keep the pond free from the mosquito larvae. When thereare tadpoles, your pond will be visited by water snakes, with difficulty you will noticeof them!... and --- don't be frightened: they are harmless!
Multiple Microhabitat Pond Microcosm (good cross section of a pond)
A Large Pond
Building a Pond
"Pond" Cultures of Microscopic Invertebrates
Internet keywords: pond building homemade.
The soil is composed of many different sized particles. With this simple experiment you can separate the main components of the soil and evaluate their proportions.
1 - Go into a field an collect a sample of soil. Put it in a jar of water. Stir it well and let it settle. Observe and describe the different layers of materials.
2 - In water, particles settle more quickly the bigger they are. It is possible to use this property to determine the amount of each component of the soil. Put 3 parts water and 1 part of soil in the container (try 1 cup soil and three cups of water in a quart jar); shake the container for 5 minutes and let the material set. With reference to the figure 1, after 40 seconds measure the thickness of sediment. Call this A; after 30 minutes measure again and call this B; after 24 hours measure C. Now, by subtraction, you can determine the thickness of the main layers: C-B = layer of clay, B-A = layer of silt, A = layer of gravel and sand. Using a sieve with 2 mm holes (less than 1/8 inches), you can separate the gravel from the sand and determine their ratio. On the basis of these data, calculate the content (%) of each component of the soil sample.
3 - Repeat the same experiment with soil collected in other places or that have a different geological origin (i.e: meadow, wood, river bank) or anyplace the soil has a different consistency or texture (i.e: muddy, sandy). Describe the composition of each soil and try to explain the differences. You can also apply this technique to evaluate the composition of the soil for a potted plant, and correct it. Example: if water doesn't drain well, would more sand help? If it needs to hold water longer would clay or organic matter be helpful?
4 - With a microscope, measure the size of the particles. With a clock, measure the time to drop to the bottom of a jar of water. time of the particles in water as a verses their size. Then graph with the Y-axis for the size of the particle and X-axis the time to fall.
Soil and Environment Activities
Soil description and classification
Internet keywords: soil sedimentation test.
Light intensity and the rate of photosynthesis relate to the sun's position both during the day and during the year, because when the sun is closer to the Earth, the plants grow better.
The bottle garden is a close relative of the biosphere: a tiny garden growing inside abottle, a glass sphere, or a demijohn. The main difference is that soil is the maincomponent not water. The container can be kept sealed or opened like a terrarium. Ourswill be more for just plants whereas the terrarium may have animals. These gardens in abottle, can be cured and perfected as a system, they are also very decorative, in fact youcan treat them as a bonsai with not only a single tree, but whole landscapes. A carefullychosen stone becomes a rock, a small plot of moss represents a great prairie. A contorted,little plant is now a hundred year old tree. Maybe a marsh wetlands with peat moss,mushrooms and ferns is more to your liking. Maybe appropriate succulent plants with sandand rocks for a vast desert landscape. The choice is yours. There is no rigid rule aboutbeing either an open or a closed garden. It maybe useful to keep the lid on to retainwater. Or eventually, the plants grow up and need to hang down the outside.
If the container is always sealed, the challenge becomes quite demanding. In fact, it thenis necessary to obtain an equilibrium between plants and animals in order to keep aneffective cycle of substances and energy, but if this is difficult in a predominantlywater environment, it is even more difficult in a just moist environment. So, the gardenhas to contain a moist soil, plants, little animals like terrestrial isopods (i.e.: sowbug, pill bug), earthworms, etc. Plants have to be resistant to high moisture and have asmall size and limited growth. To avoid roots rotten, you can also try to refer tohydroponics and substitute the ground with small sized expanded clay or with gravel. Inthis case you will have more difficulties in hosting animal species, so it will have to beleft open. It is important you place your garden in a cool and well illuminated place, butaway from direct sunlight. Open or closed, a bottle garden is a fascinating thing, and theidea itself of a little and self-sufficient world is fascinating as well. There are peopleso fond of bottle gardens they work at them a long time, taking care of them using longand thin tools and to observe these environments till they imagine to be one of theirinhabitants.
Then choose among these main options:
1 - Opened bottle garden, containing moist ground, plants and possible little animals. Itis suited for people who love taking care of gardens and who have a flair for
the architecture of little wide spaces.
2 - Opened bottle garden, prepared in hydroponics and containing plants. It is suited forthose who tend to forget to water their plants.
3 - Sealed bottle garden, holding moist soil, plants, and some little animals. Thisexercise is suitable for people who are keen on biology and scientific research. They willhave to find appropriate plants and animals suitable for a sealed ecosystem and will haveto achieve the necessary conditions for a long survival. This research, bibliographic inpart and experimental, will keep students happily busy for long time.
The educational value of these little ecosystems is evident. They can be carried out evenin a school, where the teacher will be allowed to illustrate their characteristics topupils and encourage interesting discussions. In the web sites below, you will findimportant practical information in building your bottle gardens.
Terrariums : Miniature Worlds in a Bottle!
BBC online, how to gardening, bottle garden
Un jardin en bouteille
Le terrarium : Un monde miniature dans une bouteille!
Internet keywords: garden bottle jar, jardin bouteille bonbonne.
A further question for research is, what is the amount of sodium bicarbonate that will not increase the speed of photosynthesis anymore, and the speed of rising punches will reach a plateau?
The purpose of using a solution that consisted of water and soap for one trial of our experiment was to prove that without carbon dioxide present, photosynthesis can not occur.
would be more prepare next time so that I could get ready the
apparatus more quickly and get on with the experiment, I would finally
have left a gap of time between when the lamp was moved to a new
distance and the recording of the bubbles began so that the Elodea
could adapt to the new changes before running straight on with the
next set of the results.
I would also give my self a longer time to
do the experiment in so I could get an even more reliable graph with a
limiting factor which could back up my evidence of photosynthesis.
Industrial societies manufacture huge quantities of goods. Once used, these products arecast away. Hence, on one hand we substract great amounts of resources from nature, on theother hand we make enormous heaps of garbage which pollute the environment. If you thinkof it, a lot of materials which are discarded could be reused. In fact, metals, plasticand glass can be used in manufacturing new items. Paper and fabric can be turned back intopulp and fibers, and reassembled into new products. Organic wastes of kitchen, usuallymade of vegetable and animal substances, and garden material, can be composted and used asfertilizer. Wood can be burned, yielding electrical energy, heat and carbon dioxide whichwill be used by other plants to produce more wood. Recycling of waste materials has thedouble advantage of reducing the need for raw materials, and the amount of rubbish.
Every day for a month, separate the different kinds of scrap of your home, weight them andwrite out a list. At the end, estimate the amount of materials which can be recycled,evaluate the recycling and waste management program of your community. Highlight theproblem areas of the system. Assess the problems created by not easily recyclable things,and by the polluting ones: paint cans, batteries, oils, detergents, medicines, etc. Bringout the difficulties and the questions facing particular problems in the recovery ofwastes. Ask the authorities of your city. Write a guide for families on how treat wastesin the right manner. Show this guide and the report of your research to your teacher.
Environmental Defense, Recycling
Recycling - At School
Recycling Obscure Materials
Global Recycling Network
The Internet Consumer Recycling Guide
Internet keywords: recycling.
I think this because the plant may use up all of the carbon dioxide (Sodium hydro carbonate) and the plant can have as much light as it needs but if it does not have any carbon dioxide it will not be able to photosynthesise....