The Competition Between the Two Green Algae:

Topics: Species, Population, Carrying capacity Pages: 6 (1544 words) Published: October 8, 1999

This experiment tested the hypothesis that the pure algae populations of Ankistrodesmus and Chorella will show growth in the number of organisms, and the mixed population will establish a dominant species. Each population should also reach its carrying capacity. All of the populations had the same resources available.

The sampling of 0.5ml of each population was used to count the number of organisms. A Neubauer slide and microscope will be needed to do this. From this count, determine the number of organisms in 1ml. After doing this procedure for three weeks the organisms in the pure samples should have grown in size and reached a carrying capacity. The mixed population of the two algae species should show that one species is dominant over the other. The results of the experiment support this hypothesis.

Both the pure samples of Ankistrodesmus and Chorella increased dramatically in size and then reached their carrying capacity. The mixed population showed that Chorella is the dominant species over the Ankistrodesmus.


This experiment was conducted by using the green algae: Ankistrodesmus and Chorella. Most species of green algae live in shallow freshwater environments. The can live on moist rocks, trees, and soil; some can inhabit shallow ocean waters. Green algae usually occur as single cells or as multi-cellular, threadlike filaments, hollow balls, or flat sheets (Postlethwait and Hopson).

This experiment was used to study the growth of the algae and the effects of competition when grown in a limited resource. Competition is a contest between rivals for the same resource and habitat. The experiment was concerned with counting the number of algae in 1ml. There was a pure sample of both Ankistrodesmus and Chorella. There was also a population that contained a mixture of the two algae.

Two types of competition were observed. Inter-specific competition occurs within a population of different species. Intra-specific competition occurs within a population of the same species (Starr and Taggert). If a resource is abundant then there is no competition. Gauses Law states that one species will always have an advantage over the other when competing for the same resource (Marshall and Walton). The species that has the advantage over the other will establish itself as the dominant species.

During the experiment a carrying capacity will be observed for all populations of algae pure and mixed. After a period of rapid growth the population will start to level off. This leveling off marks the carrying capacity of the environment. Carrying capacity can be affected by several factors. Birth rate and immigration can increase the size of population. Death rate, natural disasters, and emigration can decrease the size of a population. The amount of available resources can also affect the carrying capacity (Marshall and Walton).

The biological question was the effect of growth of algae and the competitions in the populations. The justification of this experiment is to study how competition affects the different populations.

Methods and Materials

The independent variable tested was the time used for the observation, which covered three weeks. The dependent variable was the number of algae counted. There are three side-arm flasks containing the populations of algae. There is one population of Ankistrodesmus and one population of Chorella each in a separate side-arm flask. The third side-arm flask contains a mixture of equal parts of the two types of algae previously mentioned. The control group was the pure samples, while the experimental group was the mixed population (Marshall and Walton).

After the Neubauer slide and cover slip were sterilized with ninety five percent ethanol, the materials are to be placed on a clean paper towel. Using a sterile 1ml syringe, remove 0.5ml of the population from the side-arm flask. Samples were taken from...

References: Marshall, Joseph A., and Walton, Cheryl L., 1999, Micro-sampling 1-4, Competition 1-3, Explorations in Biology.
Postlethwait, John H. and Hopson, Janet L., The Nature of Life, 3rd Edition, p. 481.
Starr, Cecie and Taggart, Ralph, 1998, 8th Edition, Population Ecology, Biology: The Unity and Diversity of Life, p. 793-803.
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