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Environmental sciences science fair project:
The Effect of Acid Rain on the Survival Rate of Daphnia at Various pH Levels




Science Fair Project Information
Title: The Effect of Acid Rain on the Survival Rate of Daphnia at Various pH Levels
Subject: Environmental Sciences
Grade level: Elementary School - Grades 4-6
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Affiliation: Selah Intermediate School
Year: 2004
Description: Daphnia are put in petri dishes with different pH water levels. Then the number of remaining living daphnia in each petri dish over time is recorded by monitoring heart pulse with a jewelry loupe.
Links:
http://www.selah.k12.wa.us/SOAR/SciProj2004/MichelleM.html
http://www.selah.k12.wa.us/SOAR/SciProj2004/MeganM.html
Short Background

Daphnia are small, planktonic crustaceans, between 0.2 and 5 mm in length. Daphnia are members of the order Cladocera, and are one of the several small aquatic crustaceans commonly called water fleas because of their saltatory swimming style (although fleas are insects and thus only very distantly related). They live in various aquatic environments ranging from acidic swamps to freshwater lakes, ponds, streams and rivers.

The lifespan of a Daphnia does not exceed one year and is largely temperature dependent. For example, individual organisms can live up to 108 days at 3C while some organisms live for only 29 days at 28C. A clear exception to this trend is during the winter time in which harsh conditions limit the population in which females have been recorded to live for over six months. These females generally grow at slower rate but in the end are larger than ones under normal conditions.

Sometimes Daphnia may be used in certain environments to test the effects of toxins on an ecosystem. This makes Daphnia an indicator species, particularly useful in that area because of its short lifespan and reproductive capabilities. Because they are nearly transparent, their internal organs are easy to study in live specimens (an example might be to study the effect of temperature on the heart rate of these ectothermic organisms). They are often fed to tadpoles or small species of amphibians such as the African Dwarf Frog, Hymenochirus biettgeri. Daphnia are also a popular live food in tropical and marine fish keeping.

Several water flea species are considered threatened.

Some species can be found in hypersaline lake environments.

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License)

For More Information (Background, pictures and references): Daphnia

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