So, for my AP bio project this year, we're required to do a science fair project. Project is due in early February.
My original plan (that I came up with sophomore year) was to take 3 sets of planaria, and feed one a mix of meats and vegetables, one just meat, and one just vegetables. Then I'd chop them in half and see which half regenerated fastest.
However, I've since decided that that's boring! I have several new plans, and I'm curious- does anyone know which would work best?
Plan A- Drug the planaria! I'd take several groups, expose them to nicotine, caffeine, aspirin, and alchohol. Next comes the chopping. Which ones die, which ones regenerate faster, and which regenerate slower? Does Caffeine really stunt your growth? Would be more fun to do with baby/young mice, but I'm fairly sure that my school's local PETA nutters would be after me.
Plan B- Make PETA angry! Replicate the planaria-maze experiment. Essentially, you train group A to run a maze successfully by using lights and shocks as negative reinforcement, and food as positive. You then chop up group A (killing them, not letting them regenerate), and feed them to group B. You then feed untrained, but stressed, planaria to group C. See what group finishes the maze faster! Is memory encoded in planaria cells? Might take too long to complete, as this supposedly takes months, and the fair is in February.
<-- planaria maze experiment original
Plan C- The boring/unoriginal one. Just put them in different temperatures and give some different food sources. Which one regenerates faster? Due to the lack of druggie/cannibal worms, this is my least favorite.
Plan D- Do something completely different with slightly less animal abuse.
... I'm also fairly interested in making a two headed planaria, but I can't think of any practical scientific use for them.
Does anyone know what conditions planaria like? I was going to keep them (about 50 black planaria, each up to 1/2 inch) in a 5 gallon tank. I did not intend to put in any water filter or heater, but if they need it, that's fine I guess. They would be in my basement, which is damp and about 65 degrees. During the experiment, they'd be in individual petri dishes. I am planning on using artificial pond water and feeding them the usual chopped liver (assuming I don't go with the cannibal worm experiment).
Anything else I should know? Got any decent alternatives to flatworm torture? Photos of your old projects? I'd appreciate it if you'd post them here! Thanks.