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An Investigation into a Woodlice's Preferred Choice of Environment.

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO A WOODLICE'S PREFERRED CHOICE OF ENVIRONMENT. SCENARIO When he was gardening, Kevin noticed that he rarely ever saw woodlice, but when he lifted stones or wood etc. The woodlice found underneath seemed to run in all directions. HYPOTHESIS Woodlice prefer dark, damp and warm surroundings to light, dry and cold environments, by setting up a choice chamber with all of the available conditions within, I will determine that woodlice do prefer a wetter, darker environment to a lighter, drier one. And I predict that you will find that the woodlice mover quickly to the wet/dark compartment, more so than the other three. Null Hypothesis:- Woodlice do not have a preferred environment for living in. Any difference that occurs will be due to chance factors. BIOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE Woodlice appear as insects but in fact they are crustaceans. They are one of the only crustaceans known that have adapted to living on land instead of water. Like other insects, they have no shell, and they possess no waxy cuticle, which helps prevent water conservation. Because of this, woodlice are prone to losing water easily via evaporation due to their outer skin being very permeable. This is why they prefer to remain in damp environments. It is said that in dry air, within two hours they will be dead, (www.science.org.uk). By observing them in different environments (e.g. light/dark, wet/dry), a significant difference in their behaviour and reaction should be seen. Woodlice tend to move quicker in dry places than damp places. You may also see them 'clump' together. This helps them to reduce their water loss as it reduces the surface area that is in the open air, as by less air passing their outer layer, less water is lost in that way. This is the same as when some plants that may have adapted to hotter climates have sunken stomata. This serves the same purpose. ...read more.


> Silica Gel - to put underneath the muslin in the dry section of the choice chamber, it will ensure that all moisture is absorbed by it and not by the woodlice. > two identical containers, one for the damp scenario and one for the dry scenario that some woodlice will be placed in via to the experiment. METHOD 1. 10 woodlice will be placed in dry conditions in a container for ten minutes - this will be achieved by placing silica gel underneath some muslin before introducing the woodlice to the container 2. Another 10 woodlice will be placed in wet conditions in a container for 10 minutes - this will be achieved by placing some damp cotton wool/tissue underneath some muslin before introducing the woodlice to the container. 3. Another 10 will be drawn from the other container containing all the woodlice. (Meanwhile the other 30 will remain in the container with things from their natural habitat with leaves, rocks and food.) 4. Whilst the woodlice are in their different conditions, I will begin preparing the choice chamber for each condition by placing damp cotton wool into one half of the choice chamber, and into the other half, I will place some silica gel. 5. Muslin will then be placed all over the choice chamber to ensure the woodlice aren't walking on the cotton wool or the silica gel so they don't experience any discomfort whatsoever. 6. I will then put black paper over half of the choice chamber, this will be the dark region. It will have to ensured that the black paper covers a quarter of the cotton wool and a quarter of the silica gel. All four conditions are now set. (see appendix 1) 7. Once the woodlice have been in there different conditions for the ten minutes, I will move the woodlice from their separate containers 10 out of each condition into the choice chamber. ...read more.


I then put a lamp over the choice chamber and put in twenty woodlice. By counting how many woodlice were visible in the light section of the choice chamber I could then deduct this number from 20 to work out how many were in the dark section. I counted this every 30 seconds for 10 minutes as I had planned to do before. I then repeated this again using another 20 woodlice and placed the other 20 into a container containing things from their natural habitat and some damp cotton wool at the bottom. I did the same thing again with the next twenty and recorded the results in the tables you have just seen in the results section. I then took all the woodlice out and placed them another container with dampness and soil. I then had to change the choice chamber around. By placing the lid back on with the damp cotton wool section underneath the dark region of the chamber. I then used the woodlice that I had used first before and placed them in their and timed and counted again, and then repeated it again but using the woodlice from the second container. This way proved to be a lot more efficient in counting the woodlice. They did seem to clump a lot thought, in all conditions. Thus proving that they do clump to conserve water as was said in the biological knowledge. They also showed a thigmokinesis, they always ensured that they were against something. On occasions it was other woodlice, but in the results where you can see that one woodlouse was on its own at some point it was always up against the edge of the choice chamber. I would therefore say that my experiment had not been a success as the chi-square test proves. Perhaps in order to change it, I would attempt to use a bigger choice chamber, with more woodlice and I would try to change conditions more, and possibly introduce wind into it also. Page 1 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

A good description of the investigation although in places more detail would have been helpful. Some errors and inconsistencies in the experimental design throw uncertainty on the results of the statistical test, and account for this only gaining 3 stars.

Marked by teacher Adam Roberts 30/07/2013

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