pparent's science notebook for investigation Massabesic Middle School Campus (Thu, 09/23/2010 - 08:58)

My Research Investigation
Which investigation is this notebook for?: 
Ask your research question: 
Background: After the Aroostook team classes (2010-11) sectioned off the pond area on our Massabesic Middle School Campus and surveyed it for other Loosestrife plants and found none, we were both relieved and felt we had established a good baseline for future study. After sampling the area with quadrats and looking closely, the only Loosestrife plant was the original one found on the edge of the pond nearest the school building. Another discovery was made after closely scanning the evidence pictures of the Loosestrife plant on the Smartboard (good eyes class), there were holes all over the leaves and even what looked like bugs on the plant. The pictures were fuzzy but it sure looked like the plant had Galerucella as well. By the time the beetle evidence was discovered, it was too late to collect beetles or try to get better picture evidence to prove that Galerucella was present as well. The class had a really tough decision to make last year. With the biotic potential of Lythrum solicaria so high ((2.6 million seeds per plant), the chance of this plant taking over the area are great. Do we yank the plant or leave it for further study? After several discussions and lots of soul searching, we decided to leave the plant intact in the hope that the Loosestrife plant would not spread. We were hoping that if Galerucella was present, it may keep the plant in check. Having a second lease on life, this plant was monitored by the class throughout the year. We observed that it dried up and died off in the late fall and was a shriveled up (dead) plant through the winter. A new plant clump emerged in the exact same spot in the spring. We surveyed the pond area in late spring to see if new Loosestrife plants in the pond area were present in other areas and found no new plants (thank goodness). We did find better evidence of Galerucella munching on the new leaves of the plant and this evidence was submitted to Vital Signs in mid summer. We ended the school year with the hopeful conclusion that the Loosestrife did not spread and perhaps Galerucella was able to control the spread of Lythrum salicaria. Questions Aroostook team 2011-12 will tackle shortly... These questions will also be given to last year's class members (Aroostook 2010-11) 1. Has Lythrum salicaria (Purple Loosestrife), a plant first discovered on our our Massabesic Middle School last September, 2010, spread to new areas on campus? 2. Is there still evidence of Galerucella on the original Loosestrife plant or on new plants on campus? Members of the Aroostook Team Science Class 2010-11 are especially interested in finding out the answers to these questions as well. Our decision last year to leave the Loosestrife plant was a tough one to make, especially after learning so much more about invasive species, biodiversity and ecosystem health. We are all hoping that we didn't make a mistake by leaving the Lythrum salicaria in the ground.
Make a prediction or form your hypothesis: 
Last year's class learned a lot about invasive species and how quickly they can take over an ecosystem without predators or other population deterrents in place that keep their populations in check. A survey will be given to this class (Aroostook 2010-11) so they can come up with hypotheses based on their level of understanding of the situation. This year's class (Aroostook 2011-12) will make their predictions based on a quick invasive species overview and evidence gathered by Aroostook 2010-11 over the course of last year. Aroostook 2010=2011: ( information gathered by informal survey at the start of the school year, compiled to get majority opinions (Hypotheses) of last year's class) Loosestrife spread Prediction : Rational: Galerucella on original plant and/or new plants Prediction: Rational: Aroostook 2011-12 (consensus based on evidence gathered by last year's class (Aroostook 2010-11) and quick lesson on invasive species) Loosestrife spread Prediction : Rational: Galerucella on original plant and/or new plants Prediction: Rational:
Reflect and conclude your investigation
State your conclusion: 
As of the fall of 2011, all indicators point to the presence of Lythrum salicaria and Galerucella.