Environmental Sciences Fair Project
Fluoride Effects on the Survival Rate of Daphnia


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Project Information
Title: Does Fluoride Affect the Survival Rate of Daphnia?
Subject: Environmental Sciences
Grade level: Middle School - Grades 7-9
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Experimental
Cost: Low
Affiliation: Selah Intermediate School
Year: 2001
Description: Daphnia are placed in Petri dishes filled with different concentration of water / fluoride solution. Daphnia is checked every ten minutes with a microscope to see how many are still alive (their heart will stop beating if they die).
Link: www.selah.k12.wa.us...
Background

Daphnia

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. The following are listed as vulnerable by IUCN: Daphnia nivalis, Daphnia coronata, Daphnia occidentalis, and Daphnia jollyi. Some species are halophiles, and can be found in hypersaline lake environments.

Fluoride Health Benefits and Toxicity

Fluoride therapy is the delivery of fluoride to the teeth topically or systemically in order to prevent tooth decay (dental caries) which results in cavities. Most commonly, fluoride is applied topically to the teeth using gels, varnishes, toothpaste/dentifrices or mouth rinse. Systemic delivery involves fluoride supplementation using water, salt, tablets or drops which are swallowed. Tablets or drops are rarely used where public water supplies are fluoridated.

The fluoridation of water prevents tooth decay and is considered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as "one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century".

In high concentrations, soluble fluoride salts are toxic and skin or eye contact with high concentrations of many fluoride salts is dangerous. Referring to a common salt of fluoride, NaF, the lethal dose for most adult humans is estimated at 1-10 grams. A lethal dose is approximately 28 mg per kilogram of body mass.

For more information:
Fluoride background, pictures, experiments and references
Fluoride Poisoning

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License)

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