BIOL 1406 Scientific Lab Report on the Daphnia magna Experiment (80 pts)
It must be submitted in eCampus where directed in either PDF or .DOCX format. Any other format will result in a deduction in points during grading. Any report submitted more than 15 minutes late will be accepted with a 10% late penalty for up to 1 week. No reports will be accepted after the 1-week late period ends on April 7.
You must write your own lab report – although the lab activities were a group effort and your made one of the two graphs together, writing the report should be entirely your OWN effort, including making the graph ALONE. If you are caught cheating or plagiarizing (ask me if you don’t know what this is) on any part of this report, you will receive a zero on the entire report. This lab report should be about the Daphnia magna heart rate experiments you performed. Select ONLY one drug, either alcohol and caffeine, and write your entire report only about that one drug. Do not discuss the other drug or include any data on the other drug in your report.
General Instructions on how to write a lab report:
· All sections include the heading title and should ALL be the same style/capitalization. Heading titles are Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, & Literature Cited.
· The entire lab report should be presented in paragraph form (it should look and read like an essay-type paper, nothing should look like a step-by-step or bulletted list or otherwise appear disjointed or fragmented). I’d prefer 1.5 line spacing and an 11 or 12 pt font. Note: the length suggestions are just an estimate – you may have more or less to say in each section, so don’t panic if what you write is longer, or even shorter, if you include everything I asked for.
· Even though you need to place it at the beginning in your report submission, I recommend writing the abstract last because it is easier to write a summary of your report after you have a report to summarize.
· I realize this is counter to most English composition instructions, but:
· Most of your lab report should be written in past tense because you already did the experiment, such as saying: “The plants were placed in a window with access to bright sunlight.” The only exceptions are your conclusions and similar statements that transcend the experiment, such as “The results of this study support the conclusion that plants grow better in blue light than green light.”
· Write primarily in a passive voice and avoid the use of “I” completely. When you must refer to the people doing the experiments, since the work was a group effort, as a scientist, say “we” even though you are writing alone, the work was as a group. However, you should still avoid using personal pronouns when possible because the focus should be on the experiment and data, not on you personally. To avoid using personal pronouns when it isn’t necessary, look at my two sample sentences above about plants. I could have said, “We placed the plants in a window…”, but I wanted the focus to be on the plants’ position, so I wrote “The plants were placed in a window…” If you need help with this, come see me!
· When you are stating a hypothesis or conclusions, using we/our is appropriate in these sentences because you are sharing your personal thoughts and ideas. So, use we or our when sharing your conclusions or thoughts, but not when focusing on the background, procedure and results.
· Remember scientific names should be italicized, with genus capitalized and specific descriptor NOT capitalized such as Drosophila melanogaster. Know the formal name of your organism and use it properly – introduce the full name at least once and then you can use the genus name only (keeping italics and capitalization).
· Make sure to record the key equipment and information (What type of microscope was it? What was that special slide called? How long were the Daphnia exposed to each drug before measuring heart rate?)
· Use SPELL CHECK and PROOFREAD! Spell check alone is NOT enough if you typed the wrong word. I expect you to use proper grammar and style for a formal writing assignment, so no contractions, no sentence fragments, and avoid being too casual.
This is a full page, with the title of your report in the middle of the page, in 16pt or greater font. The title should be descriptive (they often state the conclusion of the experiment as a phrase). Scientific titles are usually approximately 5-15 words and summarize the key conclusion or purpose of the experiment. They are similar in format to a sentence, usually containing a noun and verb, but should not end with a period. It should NOT be a question, and it should NOT include words like “lab” or “report.” For example, this might be an appropriate title for an experiment about where mushrooms grow best: Dark and Damp Conditions Promote Faster Mushroom Growth. Under the title should be your name in ~14pt font. Several lines under that, should be the class number and section, and the date of submission. You may choose to create a running head verson of your title, too, if desired.
Abstract (expected length, ~½ page)
· For all sections from here forward, include a heading above the paragraph content of the section, so “Abstract” Whatever format you choose for the “Abstract” heading, you must use the same format for all other sections to follow.
· This section should be on its own page after the title page. All other sections should be together in sequence (no page breaks between the other sections), but the abstract is always alone on its own page to set it apart since it summarizes the entire rest of the report.
· An “abstract” is a fancy name for a summary of the entire paper, typically in 250 words or less. It should be in one single paragraph, and briefly introduce the topic/question studied, including the hypothesis tested, then briefly describe the overall experiment, then briefly summarize the results and and conclusions (was the hypothesis supported or rejected?). There are usually no references in this section because you are focusing on your questions, hypothesis, experiment, and conclusions – no prior or post-knowledge needed. Remember that even though it belongs first in the report, it will be easier for you to write this section after you finish the others.
Introduction (expected length = about 1 page)
Start the introduction on a new page (remember to include its heading title: “Introduction”), but do not insert any additional page breaks between any other sections from here forward. Each section from Introduction through Literature Cited should be continuous now, with just an extra line space between sections and their headings to set them apart. Use your own judgement about where page breaks are located if a heading is close to the bottom of the page.
· The introduction describes the topic/question, explains the background of what you know, why you are doing the experiment, and your hypothesis. It is basically an essay that leads to the hypothesis and why you tested it this way.
· You should assume that the reader does NOT know anything about the subject you are writing about, so introduce the reader to the subject of the lab including the key questions and concepts, and your hypothesis.
· Every time you say something that a reader with NO biology background would not already know, you must provide an in-text citation to document a source where that information is provided if the reader wants to check that information. You can use your textbook as the source for a lot of this background since that’s where YOU learned it, but you need at least one external source for information about how legal drugs like caffeine or alcohol (whichever one you chose) are known to interact with physicological factors like heart rate (or you wont’ be able to address my topics/questions below).
· You need to find a “hook” – What is the central question/problem your experiment was intended to address? This may be different for different students because you can focus on the effect of drugs in humans, using the Daphnia as a model system to apply the results to humans, or you can focus on how drugs could affect aquatic organisms like Daphnia from an environmental/ecological perspective. Write about why you think it should matter how Daphnia respond to this particular drug.
· Remember to make each section flow. Your introduction should not read like a list of definitions, it should make sense as a story of the background for your experiment.
· The topics to address are listed below, but they are not in the sequence that YOU should use. It is up to you to decide how to make your content flow from background/question to hypothesis to the design of the experiment and what you expect to discover/learn.
· Introduce/explain the basic biology concepts under study, any relevant key terms and how they relate (examples: what is caffeine or alcohol? How does they affect normal body function in humans? What about aquatic organisms – is anything known? Have studies been done before? If so, what were the results?
· Introduce any major scientific equipment or experimental concepts you intend to use. For example, if you use a microscope in your lab, introduce it by telling us how is useful for in this investigation.
· Introduce the organism/species (including full scientific name and any common names) and describe the basic characteristics that make it worth using for this study. What about its normal habitat and how that’s relevant to the invesgiation? If you’re focusing on humans, why would we use this as a model organism to tell us information about drugs in humans? If you’re focusing on environmental issues, why is this organism relevant to your concerns? Where does it live? Is environmental waste/contamination a problem?
· Summarize any relevant history on this topic – what kind of data is already out there? Is there existing information on how these drugs should affect heart rates in humans? What about in aquatic organisms?
· A hypothesis that encompasses the information you introduced. Remember that what you write should lead easily into the hypothesis statement, so if it seems out of place, re-arrange the rest of your intro so it flows into the hypothesis.
· After your hypothesis, briefly describe the experimental design to test your hypothesis and the predictions (what you expect to see in the experiment) that stem from your hypothesis. Do NOT give details of the method here, focus on the general design of what you did (variables involved; overall set-up; why; special equipment).
Materials and Methods (M&M, expected length = about 1/2 page)
The M&M section is ALWAYS IN COMPLETE SENTENCES AND PARAGRAPH FORM. Never give a list of reagants or numbered list style materials and methods. It should always be written in sentences just like the rest of the report.
· In the materials and methods, you should (in sentence form) tell the reader what chemicals and reagants you used for this lab, including major equipment (ex. the microscope – what type was it? What magnifications and objectives were used?) and major chemicals. You do not need to list small items such as pipets, glass vials, etc.
· The 2nd paragraph of the M&M section should briefly describe the procedures you followed – again only for the drug you chose. Remember to stay in sentence, narrative format! This should be fairly short, but should generally explain what you did, and the KEY set-up and experimental details (such as how long you exposed the Daphnia to each drug, which concentrations were tested, recovery time, etc.). You can and should refer the reader to your source for the procedure (the lab manual reference) using an in-text citation to refer the reader to details of the procedure, but you still need to include in your writing the key elements of how you set up the experiment, especially the times of exposure to each drug, the number of times you recorded the heart rate, how you confirmed the Daphnia was still healthy and any actions that were different from the lab manual procedure (see below).
· Any deviation from what the lab directed should be clearly explained in this section. Tell the readers what you did and why you did it that way for the parts you modified from the lab manual procedure, especially. It is VERY important that you report what you did accurately, so if you screwed up or changed a procedure from the lab manual, make sure that is clear in this section!
Results (expected length = about 1 page, including figures)
Here, summarize the results in both paragraph text (describing trends, patterns, etc.) and in figures like graphs. The results section should describe the data in words while referring to the figures as they are discussed . Here’s the data (the first row is where you should insert your data when you go to make your graphs.
|Daphnia magna sample #||Heart Rate in 0% alcohol (units = bpm)||Heart Rate in 3% alcohol (units = bpm)||Heart Rate in 5% alcohol (units = bpm)|
|#1||— your data —||— your data —||— your data —|
|Daphnia magna sample #||Heart Rate in 0% Caffeine (units = bpm)||Heart Rate in 1% Caffeine (units = bpm)||Heart Rate in 2% Caffeine (units = bpm)|
|#1||— your data —||— your data —||— your data —|
· In the text portion of this section:
· Very briefly remind the reader what you measured (what was the dependent variable? what independent variables did you vary to see how they affected what you measured?). Then describe the results in words.
· Focus on trends rather than exact numbers – did you see an increase or a decrease? In relation to what change in the independent variable?
· As you describe the trend/pattern in words, refer the reader to your visual representations (graphs and/or tables) by a parenthetical notation such as “(See Figure 1)” at the end of the sentence that describes the trend. Keep in mind you need to include “Figure 1” in the title for your figure so referring to it makes sense!
· Always include your personal observations in this section as well.If you noticed that the model organism looked abnormal in some way other than the characters you were testing, say so. Describe any behavioral and physical observations – they ARE relevant! Go back and re-watch the videos if needed.
· It is VERY important that you do NOT analyze or draw conclusions about the data in the results section. Don’t say why you think the results came out the way they did, and don’t say whether the results support your hypothesis – those are conclusions that you put in the “discussion” section. In science, we like to let the readers see the results BEFORE they read what we think about those results. It gives them a chance to draw their own mental conclusions before being influenced by what we think.
· In the figures portion of this section: You may include the data tables if you like, but they are not required. What is required is some kind of GRAPH of your data that has been created in Microsoft Excel or another computer graphing program. Hand drawn graphs are NOT acceptable in a formal report. Use the lab data you collected plus the provided additional data so you show the results of all 5 Daphnia in your report (remember to only include the drug you chose, not both). A graph is considered a “figure.”
· This is a MAJOR PART OF THE RESULTS SECTION, so make sure your graph looks correct and is properly labeled. Ask for help if you’re unsure – the title and axis labels matter as much as the data itself!
· YOU need to decide what best represents the data clearly, considering my feedback on your first graph submitted in Lab 3. If you hand-drew that graph, remember you need a computer generated one here.
· Every graph must have a figure number that is clearly indicated in the title (such as “Figure 1: _____” where the line is the descriptive part of your title). If you include any, all tables must have a table number that is clearly indicated in the title of the table.
· For every figure and table you include, you must refer the reader to look at it somewhere in the text portion of the results and/or in the Discussion section (see Figure 1). If you don’t find any reason to tell the reader to look at it some time during your report, then you probably didn’t need to include it!
· Copy/paste all tables and figures into the text directly into the Results section – they may NOT be attached at the end of the report or in a separate file.
Discussion (expected length = about 3/4 of a page)
The discussion should be 2-5 paragraphs. Remember to write it in essay format so that it flows naturally – don’t just write individual sentences that answer my questions and then put them together and call it a “paragraph”!
First 1-2 paragraphs of the discussion: Evaluate the outcome of your results.
· Open by VERY BRIEFLY summarizing the data that has been reported in this paper to get an overall view of the results.
· Then, describe WHY you think this result occurred and what it means in relation to the hypothesis at the beginning of the report. This is when you tell the reader whether your results DO or do NOT support your hypothesis.
· Topics you should address somewhere in your discussion:
· What happened and why do you think it happened that way?
· Relate your results to what you told us in the introduction and to your hypothesis: Why did you get the observed results? What does this mean in light of the hypothesis & predictions?
· How do your results compare to the existing literature that you introduced in the Introduction section (the information you originally found on the web or in textbooks and other sources)? Does it agree? Disagree? Why or why not? (remember to include in-text citations again where needed)
· What is your new or modified hypothesis now that you now the results you found?
Last paragraphs of the discussion: Describe what should be done next by addressing these topics.
· How might scientists (or people in general) use these results to benefit humans or the planet?
· What experiments would you do NOW that you KNOW the results that you just reported? Why? (Think like a scientist! What should be done next??)
· How might you improve the experimental design to get better or more valuable data?
After the discussion should be the bibliography, which is usually called “Literature Cited” or “References” in a lab report. If you’ve used a standard citation format, such as APA or MLA, you may use that for this report, but if you do so, you must use it correctly. If not, you MUST follow the instructions below. This will be a major part of your lab report grade. All students, regardless of citation format must use in-text citations with an end of report complete reference list. The in-text citations are necessary to tell me exactly when you used the information you learned from each reference.
How to use references and cite literature:
· When you say any information/facts/ideas in a written report that you did not observe yourself, you MUST provide a reference for that information at the end of the sentence(s) where you say it (directly in the report, not just at the end! This is called an in-text citation.
· You must use an in-text citation for a quoted passage, but you ALSO must use an in-text citation when you explain something in your own words that you LEARNED from an outside source even when not directly quoted. For example, if you read something in your textbook and then explain it in your report, you would put an in-text citation that refers to your textbook at the end of the first sentence you wrote about that concept.
· Using an in-text citation does NOT mean you can directly quote things – I want you to WRITE IN YOUR OWN WORDS, which means that you read something from a source, then explain it in a different way in your report. Explaining it in your own words shows how well you understand it – anyone can quote someone else, but you have to understand it to explain it in your own words. This means I would strongly prefer to NOT see any quotes in your report at all.
· Each in-text citation should be a short note in parentheses at the end of EACH sentence where you summarize ANY information that you read or learned somewhere else. Before the period of that sentence, place in parentheses the citation.
· If you don’t know APA or MLA already, use these examples to follow a consistent style:
· For most publications, online or in print, there is an author or list of authoers. If so, write the author (or editor) and year as in this sample: . . . . We study cells because they are the basic unit of life (Solomon, Berg and Martin, 2005). Cells are visible under microscopes because the lenses in the microscope magnify the cell image. The cells we observed. . .
· If you are referring to information found on a website that has an author and publication date, list the author and publication date. If there is a title to the page, but no author or dedit, use the page title and publication date.
· If the web page does not have a title, an author or an editor listed for the content written on the site, list the entire web address in parentheses, such as “We study cells because they are the basic unit of life (http://www.cells.com).”
· If no publication or “last updated” date is given, use n.d. (no date) in your in text citation and in your full reference, write n.d. where the publication date would go and add a “last accessed: …” and the date you last visited the site to confirm its content (in case the content changes after you submit your work).
By the time you finish writing, you should have used and cited at least three different sources for information (counting your lab manual as one of the three).
For all sources where you used an in-text citation): At the end of your report (under the heading of Literature Cited), list the full information about every reference that you used for an IN-TEXT CITATION in your report. If you don’t have an in-text citation somewhere in your report for a reference, that reference does NOT belong in your “literature cited” list.
· There is really no way to write this report without using something you learned from Lab 9 in your lab manual, so everyone should have a citation in their report for their lab manual.
· Typically, some information comes from your textbook, too, but this source is not required if you find more relevant or helpful information in other places.
· To have found sufficient information for your introduction, you should have located at least one other source of information such as an internet site (see separate handout in eCampus for tips on finding a reliable online source), an encyclopedia (or web version of one), or an additional book.
· If at all possible, try to include at least one primary research article (one providing data from experiments the authors themselves actually performed) to compare their results to yours.
If you don’t know a standard bibliography syle such as APA, use the following style for each kind of reference and put them in alphabetical order. This is not a standard literature style of reference, but a style that is often used in scientific publishing (though it bears similarity to APA).
Required information and order: Authors or editors always go first. Next include the year in parentheses. Then the title of the article or section, if relevant. Then the title of the book/journal. Then the publisher and location of publication, if a book/lab manual. Finally, list the relevant pages. Place a period after each item!
Example of Lab Manual (this is similar to yours, but is not the same):
Perez-Ramos, S. and S. Couvillon. (2014). Lab 3: The Scientific Method. Laboratory Manual for Biology 1406 – Molecular and Cellular Aspects of Life, eCampus edition. Richland College. Dallas, TX. pp 3.1-3.13.
Example of Textbook (This is NOT yours! You need to look yours up!):
Campbell, N.A., J. B. Reece, and L. G. Mitchell. (1999) Chapter 5: Energy and Cells. Biology, fifth edition. Benjamin Cummings. Menlo Park, CA. pp. 213-245.
Example of Published Article Posted on the Internet:
Grayson, George. (27 Mar 2013). Energy Drink Use on the Rise at College Campuses. CNN. Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com. Keywords: energy drinks, popularity, staying awake. *note: this is a made up article, yours must be real! The keywords are what you used to search for it, so I can find it again if the link changes.
Example of Website with no author or publication date:
http://www.cells.com. (Last Updated 28 Feb 2005). The Cell Theory, explained. University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. Keywords: cell, theory, biology. *note: this is a made up article, yours must be real! The keywords are what you used to search for it, so I can find it again if the link changes.
**Important note: If you find a website with a published article (such as on CNN or Scientific American), this is a PUBLICATION that is on the web, not a website. You need to use the published article on the web style!