Presentation Title

Microtrash and Beetle Productivity

Faculty Mentor

David Mbora

Start Date

23-11-2019 10:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 10:45 AM

Location

95

Session

poster 3

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Within the soil, insects, such as Darkling beetles, help the process of decomposition by eating organic material. Microtrash, microscopic pieces of nonbiodegradable man-made material, has made its way into our soil ecosystems. This detrimentally affects the function of the organisms that inhabit them, raising the question of whether microtrash impacts the productivity of insect decomposers. I hypothesized that when microtrash is introduced to the soil habitat of Darkling beetles, it will negatively impact their decomposing efficiency. In this experiment, crumb rubber was used as an ex­emplar of microtrash. 60g of fruit, 12 beetles, and 500g of soil mixed with varying amounts of crumb rubber were placed in 12 bins. Each trial contained three bins: the control with no rubber, trial one with 25g of rubber, trial two with 50g, and trial three with 75g. I measured the weight of the bins for 27 days, monitoring the change in weight as the beetles ate the fruit. The change in weight represents the productivity of the beetles’ metabolism. Using the slope of the average change in weight over 27 days as the rate of decomposition, I found a correlation between the presence of microtrash and decreased beetle productivity. The control had the highest rate of decomposition at -4.4633g per day, then the 25g of rubber with the second-highest rate at -3.8277g per day, then the 50g of rubber with the third-highest rate at -3.4582g per day, and the 75g of rubber -3.2957g per day. The beetles in the control group were more productive decomposers than the three trials containing rubber. My results showed that the beetles’ productivity decreased as the amount of microtrash present in their habitat increased. These results suggest that as Earth’s soil becomes more polluted with microtrash, our decomposers, and their ecosystems, will suffer.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 23rd, 10:00 AM Nov 23rd, 10:45 AM

Microtrash and Beetle Productivity

95

Within the soil, insects, such as Darkling beetles, help the process of decomposition by eating organic material. Microtrash, microscopic pieces of nonbiodegradable man-made material, has made its way into our soil ecosystems. This detrimentally affects the function of the organisms that inhabit them, raising the question of whether microtrash impacts the productivity of insect decomposers. I hypothesized that when microtrash is introduced to the soil habitat of Darkling beetles, it will negatively impact their decomposing efficiency. In this experiment, crumb rubber was used as an ex­emplar of microtrash. 60g of fruit, 12 beetles, and 500g of soil mixed with varying amounts of crumb rubber were placed in 12 bins. Each trial contained three bins: the control with no rubber, trial one with 25g of rubber, trial two with 50g, and trial three with 75g. I measured the weight of the bins for 27 days, monitoring the change in weight as the beetles ate the fruit. The change in weight represents the productivity of the beetles’ metabolism. Using the slope of the average change in weight over 27 days as the rate of decomposition, I found a correlation between the presence of microtrash and decreased beetle productivity. The control had the highest rate of decomposition at -4.4633g per day, then the 25g of rubber with the second-highest rate at -3.8277g per day, then the 50g of rubber with the third-highest rate at -3.4582g per day, and the 75g of rubber -3.2957g per day. The beetles in the control group were more productive decomposers than the three trials containing rubber. My results showed that the beetles’ productivity decreased as the amount of microtrash present in their habitat increased. These results suggest that as Earth’s soil becomes more polluted with microtrash, our decomposers, and their ecosystems, will suffer.