Algae Cage Match - How do nutrients create competitive advantages?
Students will create nutritionally different environments using samples of Chesapeake Bay water (or commercial marine algal culture). They will attempt to characterize species of algae present during and after treatment with differing nutrient "diets."
Objectives
Students will define nutrient environments for successful algal culture. Students will create a series of different environments based upon nutritional needs of algae. Students will monitor cultures and identify relative numbers of different species in each preparation. Students will assess one "best" environment to differentially grow a particular species of algae.
Materials
Vernier TDS Experiment
Scoring Rubric for Report
5 one liter beakers (or cleaned and rinsed 2 liter soft drink bottles)
1 aliquot of Bay water (or a sample of marine or fresh water mixed algae culture)
aquarium pumps, gang valve, and tubing stocks of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients one commercial preparation of fertilizer sterile water
Millipore basic equipment set - aseptic vacuum assembly
CBL and colorimetry probe
Procedure
1.  Students will be assigned groups. Each group will receive one water sample and 5 beakers.
2.  Students will create five experimental conditions designed to test nutrient preference in microscopic algae. In a vein similar to the first growth experiment, they can choose to vary nutrients or nutrient concentrations, light levels, oxygen availability, or temperature levels.
3.  Once they have established their protocol, the students will set up one control and four beakers (two beakers for each condition they test). They will monitor growth as in the last experiment.
4.  The goal is to establish that altering the availability of nutrients will alter the number and type of species present.
5.  Students will filter a sample of each condition, count and then identify specific types of algae present. Students should create a log sheet similar to the one from the first experiment to keep track of their results.
References
Making Quantitative Measurements of Algae Populations - Wards Scientific Millipore Basic Equipment Set - Wards Scientific
State Standards
1.1.1- The student will recognize that real problems have more than one solution and decisions to accept one solution over another are made on the basis of many issues.
1.1.2- The student will modify or affirm scientific ideas according to accumulated evidence.
1.2.1- The student will identify meaningful, answerable scientific questions.
1.2.2- The student will pose meaningful, answerable scientific questions.(NTB)
1.2.3- The student will formulate a working hypothesis.
1.2.4- The student will test a working hypothesis.(NTB)
1.2.5- The student will select appropriate instruments and materials to conduct an investigation.
1.2.6- The student will identify appropriate methods for conducting an investigation (independent and dependent variables, proper controls, repeat trials, appropriate sample size, etc.).
1.2.7- The student will use relationships discovered in the lab to explain phenomena observed outside the laboratory.
1.3.1- The student will develop and demonstrate skills in using lab and field equipment to perform investigative techniques.(NTB)
1.3.2- The student will recognize safe laboratory procedures.
1.3.4- The student will learn the use of new instruments and equipment by following instructions in a manual or from oral direction.(NTB)
1.4.1- The student will organize data appropriately using techniques such as tables, graphs, and webs (for graphs: axes labeled with appropriate quantities, appropriate units on axes, axes labeled with appropriate intervals, independent and dependent variables on correct axes, appropriate title).
1.4.2- The student will analyze data to make predictions, decisions, or draw conclusions.
1.4.3- The student will use experimental data from various investigators to validate results.
1.4.6- The student will describe trends revealed by data.
1.4.9- The student will use analyzed data to confirm, modify, or reject an hypothesis.
1.5.1- The student will demonstrate the ability to summarize data (measurements/observations).
1.5.4- The student will use tables, graphs, and displays to support arguments and claims in both written and oral communication.
1.6.5- The student will judge the reasonableness of an answer.
2.5.1- The student will investigate various physical cycles found in the natural world.
3.1.1- The student will be able to describe the unique characteristics of chemical compounds and macromolecules utilized by living systems.
3.1.2- The student will be able to discuss factors involved in the regulation of chemical activity as part of a homeostatic mechanism.
3.2.2- The student will conclude that cells exist within a narrow range of environmental conditions and changes to that environment, either naturally occurring or induced, may cause changes in the metabolic activity of the cell or organism.
4.1.1- The student will select and use appropriate devices to measure directly or indirectly the length, mass, volume, or temperature of a substance. AT LEAST: centigram balances, graduated cylinders & pipettes, metric rulers, thermometers & temperature probes
6.1.1- The student will demonstrate that matter cycles through and between living systems and the physical environment constantly being recombined in different ways. At least nitrogen cycle carbon cycle phosphorus cycle (rock/mineral) hydrologic cycle
6.2.2- The student will explain why interrelationships & interdependencies of organisms contribute to the dynamics of ecosystems. At least Interspecific and intraspecific competition Niche Cycling of materials among organisms Equilibrium/cyclic fluctuations Dynamics of disturbance and recovery Succession: aquatic and terrestrial
6.2.3- The student will conclude that populations grow or decline due to a variety of factors. At least Linear/exponential growth Carrying capacity/limiting factors Species specific reproductive factors (such as birth rate, fertility rate) Factors unique to the human population (medical, agricultural, cultural) Immigration/emigration Introduced species
Lesson Resources
Scoring Rubic for Report
Vernier TDS experiment