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Measuring the rate of respiration against mass, in with Earthworms

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Introduction

Measuring the rate of respiration against mass, in with Earthworms Background Gaseous exchange in Earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) occurs through the skin where the capillaries transport the blood close to the external environment, the epidermis of the skin consists of a columnar epithelial cells and mucus secreting cells. The epidermis is covered by a protective layer and is also the main respiratory surface. The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether there is a relation between mass of the earthworm and the rate of respiration. Results Using the equation ?r2h = volume of oxygen used (cm3) for the five minute period, it is possible to work out oxygen consumption per hour by multiplying this by 12, as 12*5min=60 mins (Where: r= radius of manometer h= distance moved by fluid) ...read more.

Middle

to the fact that the larger worms have a larger surface area and as mentioned the earthworms take in oxygen through their epidermal skin layer. Although the data appears to have quite a wide spread we must take into consideration the small values we are dealing with, which are both hard to measure accurately and do not effect the results very dramatically as we can see all the results are in the same range. There do not appear to be any anomalous results as all the results are coherent and variation is expected as we are dealing with living organisms which are unpredictable and if the experiment where to be repeated with the same worms the results would probably differ slightly. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also by using potassium hydroxide pellets we may have affected the results as these are hydrophilic and I found they attracted the mucus secreted by the worm, which could have indirectly affected the worms rate of respiration because the worm may have had to increase the rate of producing mucus. Also the results would have been more accurate if for a week before hand the worms where all feed a certain amount of food which was proportional to there body mass, this way all the worms would have roughly the same metabolism rate. To back up the results of this experiment further work could be to repeat the experiment and also to see if the pattern we have observed in earthworms is also consistent in other organisms. Steven Spencer ...read more.

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