slime mold lab report - Slime Mold Growth in Soil vs Sand Aniya Madaris Arati Oli Ciara Combs Madeleine Peck Introduction Physarum polycephalum or slime

slime mold lab report - Slime Mold Growth in Soil vs Sand...

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Slime Mold Growth in Soil vs. SandAniya Madaris, Arati Oli, Ciara Combs, Madeleine PeckIntroductionPhysarum polycephalum, or slime mold, is simple and yet complex. Slime mold is composed of several nuclei, however, it is unicellular. (Beekman, M., Latty, T., 2015). The organism moves by branching out tubular structures that contain a substance called protoplasm (Takamatsu et al, 2009). Slime mold lacks a brain, but has a certain intelligence behind it that is not well understood. Slime mold is similar to other organisms such as ants in fungi in that they all move about their environment with the use of interconnected networks (Vogel et al, 2017). Slime mold forms interconnected networks that resemble veins, as they are thin in nature. Physarum polycephalumis a large unicellular protist most similar to an amoeba. The branching patterns are what make slime mold complex, as it lacks not only a brain but also a central nervous system. Despite these challenges, in certain studies, slime mold has been capable of successfully completing a maze, as well as making ‘decisions’ regarding foraging when a negative stimulus such as vinegar and positive stimulus such as food were involved. Slime mold has also been shown to possess aspects of spatial memory which is evident in its ability to solve a ‘U’ shaped trap with navigational tactics (Reid, C.R. et al, 2012). In a study performed to analyze characteristics of slime mold morphology, it was discovered that slime mold interacts through chemical and nutritional fields much like bacterial colonies (Takamatsu et al., 2009). All of these qualities of the slime mold including spatial memory, branching patterns, motility, and decision making lead to the question tested in this experiment: When given the choice between soil and sand, which environment will slime mold ‘choose’ to inhabit? The hypothesis for this experiment is that the slime mold will branch out or grow towards the soil and the null
hypothesis is that the slime mold will not branch out or grow towards neither the sand nor soil. This experiment adds a plethora of information about morphology and behavioral information of the slime mold to the lacking database. Materials & MethodsThe slime mold (Physarum polycephalum) used in this study are in eight different petri dishes in the lab at the University of Cincinnati. A petri dish is a plastic lidded dish that scientistsuse to culture cells such as bacteria or small mosses. Each petri dish contains slime mold, and some combination of agar, sand, and soil. Agar is a nutrient medium used to help bacteria and

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