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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Feeding Habits of Hydra

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Abstract


Hydra is a multicellular organism which feeds on other small multicellular organisms. The main source of food for hydra is brine shrimp, but they can still consume other organisms for food. The goal of this experiment is to determine if the amount of light in the environment of hydra will affect the feeding behavior of the hydra. It was hypothesized that a direct positive relationship would exist between the amounts of light and the feeding of the hydra (the more light, the more hydra would feed). To control the amounts of light, separate petree dishes were wrapped in varying layers of violet saran wrap and groups of hydra with food were observed in each dish.


The different groups of hydra studied in environments with different amounts consumed equal amounts of food within the period of 0 minutes. The results of this experiment indicated that no relationship exists between the amounts of light in the environment and the feeding behavior of hydra. This is due to the fact that the different amounts of light did not affect the amount of food consumed. From this observation, one can conclude that hydra do not depend on light when it comes to feeding.


Introduction


Cheap University Papers on Feeding Habits of Hydra




Hydra is a microscopic multicellular octopus-like organism which mainly feeds on brine shrimp (Muller-Parker, G., 18). The body of a hydra consists of three main parts, a gastrodermis layer on the inside of the body which contains digestive enzymes, a middle layer called the mesoglea, and an outer layer containing sensory, muscular, and stinging cells (Guild, N. and Bever, K., 00). These stinging cells are called nematocysts which are also on the tentacles and immobilize the hydra’s prey. When small organisms brush against a tentacle one nematocyst can wrap around the prey while another can inject a toxin and immobilize the prey (Guild, N. and Bever, K., 00). In a previous experiment the interaction between hydra and daphnia (another microscopic multicellular organism) was observed (Guild, N. and Bever, K., 00). The hydra immediately attacked and consumed the daphnia with its tentacles. The size of the daphnia was equal to that of the hydra, making them easier to observe together. Due to this fact we decided to use daphnia as the food source in further observation of hydra’s feeding behaviors.


The idea of varying the amount of light in the hydras environment to observe feeding habits came from an abstract article which was based on research. The authors used different layers of colored saran wrap to vary the amounts of light in the environment (Grosvenor, W., 18). This is the same technique used in this experiment to vary the amounts of light with 0, , 4, and 6 layers of violet saran wrap.


The purpose of this experiment is to determine if there is a relationship between the amount of light in an environment and the feeding behavior of hydra. The hypothesis is that as the amount of light increases, so will the amount of food consumed by hydra.


Materials and Methods


In order to perform this experiment we needed hydra, daphnia, petree dishes, colored saran wrap, and a microscope (Guild, N. and Bever, K., 00). The procedure we followed is as follows First, obtain four petree dishes. Wrap one with layers of colored saran wrap, a second with 4 layers, and a third with 6 layers. The fourth is a positive control with no restriction to the amount of light ( no saran wrap). Next, place 6 hydra and 1 daphnia in each dish with some water. Observe each dish for 0 minutes under a microscope and record the number of daphnia consumed in each dish within the 0 minutes.


Results


The four dishes with the varied amounts of light all showed similar results.


The hydra in the control dish without any saran wrap consumed the same amount of daphnia as the dish with layers and the dish with 6 layers. The dish with 4 layers only consumed 1 more hydra than the others, which was not a significant difference. The amount of time that it took for the first hydra to feed seemed to very at random.


As shown by the following graph, there is no noticeable relation between the amount of light and the number of daphnia consumed.


Discussion


The results indicate that there is no relationship between the amount of light in the environment and the feeding behavior in the hydra. Also, there is no relation to the amount of time it takes for the first hydra in a group to feed. It is very possible that the reason that the hydra do not depend on light to feed is because they do not use vision to consume their food. Instead they use the sense of touch. These results did not support the hypothesis of the experiment, as the amount of light increased, the number of daphnia consumed by the hydra did not increase. Although the hydra group in the dish with 4 layers of saran wrap did consume 1 more daphnia than the rest, this data seems insignificant.


Other similar experiments that test the same relationship between the amounts of light and the feeding behaviors, such as the one performed by Grosvner, W., also indicate that there is no relationship (Grosvenor, W., 18). This research adds to the credibility of the results of the current experiment due to the fact that the same theory was concluded, there is no relationship between the amount of light in an environment and the feeding behavior of hydra.


Although everything went right for the experiment, there seemed to be a problem. In relation to past experiments, the hydra did not seem as active and did not feed as quickly. Previous batches of hydra were stressed and did not feed, therefore it is possibly that the batch that was used could have also been partially stressed. This could have possibly effected the outcome of the experiment. Further testing of the relationship between hydra and amounts of light in the environment could be performed. For example, one could test a relationship between the budding of hydra and the amounts of light in the environment. When hydra bud they produce nitrogen in the surrounding atmosphere, this could be measured to observe the relationship (Muller-Parker, G., 18). Further investigations could be to study the effects of temperature or chemicals on the feeding habits of hydra.


References


Muller-Parker, G. (18) Biological Bulletin 17, 57-58.


Grosvner, W. (18) Biological Bulletin 17, 46-60.


Guild, N. and Bever, K. (00) From Molecules to Cells, a Laboratory Manual,


10-104.


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