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Unit 1 Snail Food-Sensing Behaviour: Report (2016) /45

(worth 5% of final grade)

Names of Group Members: Allen (Haolun Tian), Julian Winterscheidt
The following questions are all related to the snail experiment we conducted for
Unit 1.

1. What is the research question we are asking in our study? [1 mark]

Does the presence of food have an effect on the movement behaviour of Viviparus

2. What is our hypothesis? (Please state the hypothesis using the if then
format, which includes a prediction) [2 marks]

If food has an effect on the locomotion of banded mystery snails, then the average
frequency of the presence of snails in a quadrant with food will be higher than the
average frequency of the presence of snails in a quadrant with no food.

3. In the control group we asked: Is there a preference of the snails to move

to the corners () or the sides () of the tank? or, Does = ?. Explain
(a) what this effect was called and (b) why it necessary to test this. [3 marks]

The effect is called the quadrant effect. Its necessary to test this to limit the
potential confound of the effect. There may have been a bias for either corners or
sides, which would have affected the experimental group.

4. To statistically test the differences between and , (a) what type of test did
we use and (b) why? (c) How can you test whether the variance was equal
between and ? [4 marks]

We used an F-test to test for equality of variance between sides and corners,
followed by a 2-tailed T-test to test if there was a significant difference between the
frequency of presence of snails in sides versus corners. We used an F-test because
we needed to find if there was equality of variance, in order to determine what type
of T-test to use. We can test if the variance was equal between sides and corners
with an F-test.

5. What other statistical comparison was left out of our control group design? [1
6. (a) What is the independent variable? (b) Indicate the state of the
independent variable for the control group and for the experimental group.
(c) When graphing the results, is this variable plotted on the x-axis or the y-
axis? [3 marks]

The independent variable was the presence of food in the quadrant. The
independent variable was not present in the control group, and present in the C3
quadrant in the experimental group. This variable is plotted on the x-axis.

7. (a) What is the dependent variable? (b) When graphing the results, is this
variable plotted on the x-axis or the y-axis? [2 marks]

The dependent variable is the frequency of the presence of snails. This is plotted on
the y-axis.

8. List four potential confounding (or controlled) variables. [2 marks]

- Difference lighting conditions on the sides and corners of the bin

- Interactions with other snails such as social behaviour and competition
- Differences in vibrations between corners and sides of the bin
- Variation in snail activity level and type, such as sleep, due to 4-hour
observation time

9. For one of the confounding variables you listed above, briefly explain what
impact it could have (a) on the data and (b) on your interpretation of the
data. [2 marks]

If the sides of the bin were more well lit than the corners of the bin, and the
snails tested preferred more shaded lighting conditions, snail movement could
be bias towards corners. As the quadrants compared were a corner square and a
side square, its possible that this confound could have skewed the results
towards the corner square with food (C3).

10.Present the results for the frequency of snails your quadrat in the form of
a properly formatted figure, complete with standard error bars and figure
caption. You are welcome to construct your graph in Excel, but also not
discouraged from using another program (such as R) if you are comfortable
with it. Refer to the Queens Biology Department website -> Resources for
Courses (Plotting Graphs and Writing Reports and Essays):
[12 marks]

11.In the lab we assigned behavioural scores (ranked 1-6) to the different
quadrats in order to illustrate the relationship between snail presence in a
quadrat and the distance from the food source. (a) What type of variable
would behavioural score represent here? (b) If we measured the distance
from the center of each quadrat to C3 using the scale bar located on the side
of the tank, what type of variable would this now represent? (c) What is the
main difference between the two units? [3 marks]

Behavioural scores are an ordinal, independent variable. If we measured distance

using the scale bar, this would now be a ratio/interval variable. Ordinal variables are
ranks with a relationship between categories (in this case, behavioural scores), but
without a static relationship between ranks. Interval variables have evenly spaced
intervals between values, such as distance.

12. If the grid used for the experiment was 30cm in length by 15cm in width
(center to center of each quadrat), and using C3 (food pellet) as the origin,
convert the grid (A1, A2... to C3) into the distance snails traveled to the food
source (in cm) for each quadrat. [3 marks]

13.For the sake of simplicity, we chose to measure the frequency of snails in a

given quadrat in the presence or absence of food. Using the same technology
and a similar experimental set-up, we could have asked many other
interesting questions. In future labs we will be asking you to design your own
variation of experiments weve conducted, so heres an opportunity to
practice. Using snails and IDTracker, think of a different variable (or set of
variables) youd like to test and provide: [7 marks]
(a) your research question
Does the mass of a snail affect its rate of movement?
(b) your hypothesis
If a snail has higher mass, then it will travel a shorter distance over a given period
of time.
(c) your independent variable(s)
Snail mass
(d) your dependent variable
Distance traveled
(e) a brief description of your experimental set-up
- GoPro cameras and bins with 1 cm of water and no grid lines set up in an
area with minimal vibrations and even temperatures/humidity
- Snails individually acclimatized in bins, contained with smaller container
A. Assuming linear diffusion of the concentration of chemical cue (Ficks law)
away from the point source (food pellet in quadrat C3), how would you test
whether the time-of-sample (e.g., 1, 2, 3 or 4h) had any significant impact of
the foraging behaviour of snails using the data you already have? [2 marks]

B. What other comparison could you perform with the question Does = ?
using the experimental group data only? [1 mark]

Figure 1. Mean snail presence frequency per 5-minute observation interval in

quadrants A2 and C3 over 240 minutes. Mean snail presence was significantly
higher in quadrant C3 (n = 16, t = 1.796, P = 0.001) than in quadrant A2.