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Science fair ideas?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Virginian_ants - Posted November 1 2023 - 11:22 AM

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I am planning on joining a local science and want to do one on ants because I love them. If you have ideas then post them here. I might try to find a cure for the dieses that has killed two and maimed one of my Aphaenogaster colonies but I would need a sample of it and I don't want to get one. Thanks for your time.

 

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#2 Offline bmb1bee - Posted November 1 2023 - 12:05 PM

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Try ant colony growth rates. For example, like heating one queen or colony for a certain period of time and leaving another off heat for the same period of time. Then you could record data of how long it took for brood development and growth of both colonies.
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#3 Offline Serafine - Posted November 1 2023 - 12:41 PM

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Colony development speed varies wildy even within the same species.

Someone here made a test with Tetramorium queens under identical conditions and after 2 months they ranged from 5 tiny larvae to 30 workers (and about a third of them died without ever laying eggs).


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#4 Offline Virginian_ants - Posted November 2 2023 - 4:59 AM

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Thanks for the ideas but it is in January and I don't think I can get my hands on a large group of queen ants. 



#5 Offline Full_Frontal_Yeti - Posted November 2 2023 - 7:39 AM

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based on the ant type you could do food tests to see how sensitive the ants are to sugar/fat levels of foods.

 

Like for sugar drinkers you could mix up controlled batches with varying amounts of sugar in each dispenser, setting all out to see if the ants get picky about which ones they go for first/at all.

Do they have an exacting gauge of how sugary it is and do they have a specifically desired "just right" amount they can show us when they choose one dispenser over others with more and less sugar in them?

 

Something similar but for protein/fat content could be worked out for hunter ants if that's what you were working with.

 

 

 

Or you could do something along these lines:
antthing.jpg

https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B09KCN9WF7/

 

Internally this is a maze that loops back over itself constantly, and the ants can't figure out how to get on the top part with the food bowl.
Every now and then you'll see one up there that managed it, but they can't achieve a foraging chain up to the food and back due to the way the maze loops their own sent trail back onto itself over and over again.

You could make scaled up open face mazes of similar designs to the product, to demonstrate what kinds of mazes ants can and can't solve.


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#6 Offline UtahAnts - Posted November 2 2023 - 9:06 AM

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I'm not sure what level of science fair you're considering, but back in the day I had some ideas. Such as, how do individual factors (food, species, colony size, seasonality, heat, water, etc.) affect response rate in colonies? Or, What species-specific Hydrocarbons if any could be used to encourage non-agressive behavior between colonies of the same species? Specifically in Harvester ants. Or maybe you want to measure growth rates as mentioned above. Just be sure to have a large sample size - with multiple colonies you're getting data from - to make your evidence more accurate in representing the population of choice (the species you're testing).

 

In regards to the cure of that disease, perhaps you could try some common remedies for your afflicted colonies, a process which wouldn't involve a sample. Or if you have access to some personal protective equipment, culturing the disease and trying differing treatments. If you choose that route, your teachers or local professors would be the best people to help you (unless the resident microbiologists want to chip in). I would not recommend trying to culture a pathogen by yourself - a bit of mentoring can go a long way.


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#7 Offline Virginian_ants - Posted November 2 2023 - 11:56 AM

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Wow. The people here have many ideas. I will consider and brainstorm for the next few months and will update after I decide. Thanks
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#8 Offline Serafine - Posted November 2 2023 - 12:11 PM

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You can get a few colonies (big ones will do better for this) and then offer them different foods like crickets, flies, shrimps, wet cat food, chicken breast, minced meat, melon cubes, apple slices etc. and see what they like most.

Make sure to place them all at the same distance from the entrance (like in a half-circle) to avoid that the ants just pick the closest one.

There's high chance the individual colonies will show very different preferences.


Edited by Serafine, November 2 2023 - 4:35 PM.

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#9 Offline Serafine - Posted November 4 2023 - 9:28 AM

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Here's another idea but it needs 2 colonies of at least medium sized ants and a bit of time.

 

Take a colony and train them to use a thin rope to get through a steep piece if tubing to a piece of food.

Then get another colony that has never before seen a rope and put their setups next to each other. You will see a very clear difference, and that's a proof that ants aren't just born with all required skills but learn to adapt to new circumstances.

 

(It doesn't really work with small ants because they're so lightweight they don't really experience gravity at all and can hold on to almost any surface by default.)


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#10 Offline ANTdrew - Posted November 4 2023 - 9:36 AM

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Here's another idea but it needs 2 colonies of at least medium sized ants and a bit of time.
Take a colony and train them to use a thin rope to get through a steep piece if tubing to a piece of food.
Then get another colony that has never before seen a rope and put their setups next to each other. You will see a very clear difference, and that's a proof that ants aren't just born with all required skills but learn to adapt to new circumstances.

(It doesn't really work with small ants because they're so lightweight they don't really experience gravity at all and can hold on to almost any surface by default.)

This gave me a thought: how about making a fluon “maze” of some sort?

Edited by ANTdrew, November 5 2023 - 2:54 AM.

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#11 Offline Virginian_ants - Posted November 4 2023 - 9:56 AM

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That is a good idea. I would need two medium sized colonies if the same species.

Edited by Virginian_ants, November 4 2023 - 9:56 AM.


#12 Offline 100lols - Posted November 4 2023 - 11:16 PM

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Fluon maze would make awesome footage as well for content creators.

#13 Offline raydr - Posted November 5 2023 - 9:44 AM

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Maybe do exponential growth/logistical growth rates? Its related to ecology/science. For example, different growth rates between Sp 1:Sp 2. Or comparing 2 different colonies, exact same species but with different habitats, and heating.



#14 Offline Serafine - Posted November 6 2023 - 10:40 AM

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Maybe do exponential growth/logistical growth rates? Its related to ecology/science. For example, different growth rates between Sp 1:Sp 2. Or comparing 2 different colonies, exact same species but with different habitats, and heating.

As i've mentioned above colony growth varies WILDLY even within the same species under the same circumstances.

We're talking 2 months = 5 tiny larvae to 2 months = 30 workers level of difference here. With the same species, in the same conditions.

And it gets even worse from there - when I got my first colony i tried to find data on the species (Camponotus barbaricus) online. The ONLY journal that went on for longer than a few months was that of a 7 years old colony with around 3000 workers. My colony reached those numbers in less than 3 years, and they didn't stop there.

 

You'd need THOUSANDS of colonies to get a reliable average.


Edited by Serafine, November 6 2023 - 10:46 AM.

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#15 Offline Ernteameise - Posted November 6 2023 - 11:16 AM

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Well, when I won my state science fair 30 years ago with my wood ants, my topic was „Attack and hunting strategies of Formica wood ants“. I was 14 years old then.
I did many experiments with different live insects as prey items and did very minute notes and observations how they approached different prey.
This might however pose some problems in present times, since at least here in Europe, woods ants are even stricter protected ( I had a permit back then) and live feedings might be an animal welfare issue now.
But just as an example of a very successful ant participation 30 years ago, won me local competition, qualified me for state and won me a great expensive telescope in the end.

Whatever you decide on, good luck! There have been some great suggestions by the others here.
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#16 Offline Virginian_ants - Posted November 13 2023 - 5:50 AM

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This may be a little wild and over my limit but I know venom from scorpions and other animals are expensive because they are precious from medical users. What about ant venom it would be very hard to collect even just a little bit it could help medical science.
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#17 Offline 100lols - Posted November 13 2023 - 8:34 AM

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This may be a little wild and over my limit but I know venom from scorpions and other animals are expensive because they are precious from medical users. What about ant venom it would be very hard to collect even just a little bit it could help medical science.


That would indeed be tough, but it is possible. Check this out…

https://www.scienced...041010112008380

#18 Offline ZATrippit - Posted November 18 2023 - 11:12 PM

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I think anything that will allow you to discuss their societies and interactions could 'wow' the judges. Any experiments that involve the ants showing problem solving, cooperation, hierarchies, etc.


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#19 Offline ZATrippit - Posted November 18 2023 - 11:14 PM

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This may be a little wild and over my limit but I know venom from scorpions and other animals are expensive because they are precious from medical users. What about ant venom it would be very hard to collect even just a little bit it could help medical science.


That would indeed be tough, but it is possible. Check this out…

https://www.scienced...041010112008380

 

Imagine showing up to the fair, presenting a vial of pure fire ant venom...  :yahoo:


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FROM NEW ZEALAND YEAHHHHHH!!!!!!!Species I have:3x Iridomyrmex undescribed2x Ochetellus glaberFree Queen Ants- 100% Legit (not a scam):<p>https://blogs.mtdv.m...free-queen-ants

#20 Offline Virginian_ants - Posted November 21 2023 - 6:38 AM

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 While researching I found that their venom can cross-react with other insect venom. https://www.scienced...ience/ant-venom

 

I also need a research question or problem. Right now I have a solution looking for a problem. 

I think that extracting the venom seems complicated and needs special materials and machines. I don't think I can do this.


Edited by Virginian_ants, November 21 2023 - 6:44 AM.

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