Termite Lab

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Termite Line Width Preference
by, Kat

Lab Group: Eliot, Sarah, Nathalie
September 21, 2012

Justification & Hypothesis
During initial observations of termite behavior on a number of flat white sheets with varied lines [color, pattern etc...], there was a reported perceived termite preference of lines. Teams were divided and free to differentiate their particular white sheet using identical ball-point pens with various lines. Some teams observed termites favored certain lines, either by color, pattern or width. After discussing and analyzing class observations and preliminary hypotheses it was determined to narrow down the factors that motivated termites to follow or stay on particular lines. While there seemed to be a preference of colors within various teams, it was an eliminated as a preliminary experimental factor, as there are too many colors to test. Similarly with shapes and patterns, the possibilities were too numerous to come to a consensus as the best shapes and patterns to test.

Amid conversations of shape and pattern, line thickness came into question, if it had an effect on termites’ line choice. It was then decided to experiment on the attraction of width between two otherwise identical lines. If termites are placed on separate lines, one thick and one thin, they will prefer to stay a longer duration on the thick line. Experimental Design

Independent variable: width of lines
Dependent variable: how long and if termites follow either lines. Standardized: white sheet, flat surface, termites, black ball-point pens, how termites were stored Level of treatment: one treatment [two levels]

Replications: 6
Sample size: 5
Species: Termites
Experimental Design continues….
Every trial two different termites were placed on lines with differentiated widths (one thin pen stroke, and one 5mm line) of equal lengths (20cm) [see Figure 1]. The termites were observed by groups of four or five biology 101...
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