Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fun w/Ecology lab

A couple of weeks back we carried out an experiment that was supposed to teach us about predator-prey interactions. It was kind of fun since we got to essentially play around in an organized way while we gathered our data (not datum :-) ). The experiment consisted of one person closing their eyes and then using one finger to search for nuts and bolts that were to placed somewhere in the general vicinity of the table directly in front of them. Once they located a bolt (with a nut screwed all the way to the top of the screw), they were supposed to remove the nut and repeat the process with as many screws as possible for a duration of three minutes. We did this in groups using at first five, then ten and then fifteen screws. What I got from the experiment was that as the number of prey (or screws w/nuts) increased it was easier to "catch" (or in my case blindly attain) them, but the trade-off was that handling time (the time it took to undo each nut from the screw) increased. It worked out well because I think I got the point of lab even though my fingertips were a bit sore after it all. I was a pretty good predator too because although at first my capture numbers weren't that high when compared to those of my good friend Liz (who was the other predator in my group), with each group I handled, my numbers improved. Liz was insane though, she could 'consume' an average of like eighteen screws/nuts in three minutes! Madness, pure madness! Her fingers just flew over the 'prey'.

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