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Slater's Experiment on Environment

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Elizabeth Russell 11477815 BIO100 - Biology Assignment 3: Isopod Practical Report Date Submitted: 27th April 2011 Slater's response to light Abstract: Slater's (Porcellio scaber Latreille) are terrestrial land-dwelling Isopods, which belong to the order, Isopoda and class, Crustacea. Isopods breathe through their gills, so they are restricted to habitats with high humidity, under rocks or logs, or in leaf crevices (CICEO, 2004). Different species have specific habitat requirements, sensory receptors allow Slater's to detect and show behavioral responses to environmental variables such as light. To test whether Slater's prefer a light or dark environment was achieved by making 2 chambers, each resembling the 2 different surroundings. A container was taken and divided equally by a piece of cardboard, into 2 chambers, making sure each side was exactly the same as the other, except for the stimulus being tested. It was observed that Slater's prefer a dark environment, with majority of the population residing there for both trials undertaken. Introduction: Most Terrestrial isopods are land-dwelling crustaceans, which are commonly known as woodlice, rollypollys, pillbugs, sowbugs or slaters. ...read more.


Once the 10 minutes was up, this was then repeated and recorded accordingly. Results: After placing the Slater's equally in the two chambers of the containers, over time (10mintues) they migrated to the dark side. In all cases, the dark environment had higher migration rates than the "light" environment (figure 1 and 2). It was evident that the Slater's preferred the "dark" chamber in both trials of the experiment. When comparing the results of the light and dark chambers, there was fluctuation during the 10minutes trials, at 4.30 and 5.00 in trial 1 and 5.30 and 6.00 in trial 2 the numbers in both chambers where more even, however still favored the dark side. At other times however, 3.00, 7.30, and 9.00 in trial 1 and 2.30 and 3.00 in trial 2 (figure 1 and 2 respectively), the numbers favored the dark side almost completely. Overall, from this experiment, Slater's preferred a "dark" environment as opposed to a "light" one. Discussion: When comparing the results of the light and dark environments, Slater's favored the darker Habitat. ...read more.


Slater's tend to form their habitats in moist, humid conditions (Massey, 2011) Isopods abdominal legs are modified to form thin, plate-like gills (Massey, 2011). For these gills to function properly they need to remain covered with a thin film of water, which is why Slater's prefer these damp, sheltered type of conditions (Massey, 2011). As seen in any sheltered environment, darkness is always present to a certain degree. Therefore, when the Slater's migrated into the darker chamber, one is unable to completely determine whether the Slater's themselves are assuming water and humid conditions will be present. Therefore light being an insignificant factor. Conclusion: During this experiment of testing Isopods response to certain stimuli, light, it was observed these Terrestrial Isopods prefer a dark environment. Over the 2 trials conducted, there was an obvious preference demonstrated, with over 60% at all times favoring the darker chamber (figure 1 and 2). Due to Isopods having plate-like gills on their legs that they need to keep moist, it could be concluded that Isopods need a humid and moist environment to be surrounded by. Therefore as lighter environments imply higher temperatures and low humidity (Warburg, 1964), Isopods prefer a darker environment. ...read more.

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