Check your mini-lakes!

It’s been four weeks since the Wisconsin Science Festival where we had visitors build “mini-lakes,” small scale versions of our Winogradsky columns. This means it is time to start submitting your observations! We asked our young scientists to observe their mini-lakes every week for four weeks to see how columns with different nutrient sources change over time. To submit your observations, fill out this form.

Here’s what’s going on with our mini-lakes:

2015-11-20 08.37.40

From left to right: sugar, newspaper, protein

The protein and the sugar columns are producing gas and lots of it. We aren’t seeing many differences from the top to the bottom of the tube, or between the side facing towards the window and the side facing away from the window. However, there is a hint of red growth in the protein experiment, especially right where the sediment and water meet. This is likely red algae! The newspaper experiment seems quiet at first – it is definitely not producing gas like the other two – but if you look closely, there are patches of lighter and darker sediment. Given a couple more weeks, these will likely become more obvious.

What do your experiments look like? Let us know! And of course, you are welcome to observe these for more than four weeks. Since this is a closed ecosystem, it can last for months or even years!

– Alex

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