Not too long ago we began a test in order to see how long a tardigrade could live under the circumstances we need. The test included 1 tardigrade in a small petri-dish with 1.5ml of water ager and 1.5ml of water put in the fridge. Steve (the name we gave the tardigrade) was checked daily and then put back in the fridge overnight. Finally after 23 days (552 hours) Steve died on November 20th. Now that we have done this test we have a rough estimate as to how long we can keep tardigrades before using them. This is great because it means we can keep them at least 10 days because we don’t know how old Steve was and we don’t know how old other tardigrades will be in the future.
Our group has been collecting tardigrades from mosses that were collected in DuPont State Forest. We have collected from High Falls Parking Lot twice so far this year. Each time the moss has been damp from after a storm making it the perfect place to find tardigrades. There was more than enough moss in our collecting area. Each person in our group filled up at least two bags if not more.When we returned to the TIME room we were delighted to find that the moss we collected had an ample supply of tardigrades. The last of the tardigrades we had prior to our second collection had been running short. Now we have plenty of tardigrades to finish out our testing!
Everything is well in the tardigrade group. We recently conducted our glyphosate ( an herbicide) trials, in which we put different dilutions of the herbicide into each well of a 12-well plate. There were also 4 tardigrades in each well. Over a course of 3-4 days, it was discovered that all the tardigrades (except for the control that had no chemical) died after about 3 days of exposure to glyphosate. Starting Monday, November 30, we plan to begin our imidacloprid trials.
Team Tardigrade (Kylie, Emma and Cullen) was about to finish the glyphosate tests when we realised that the bottom of the petri dish is to slippery for the tardigrades to grip and walk around on. As a result we think the tardigrades are dieing because of the stress or somthing similar. All they do is sit on their backs and move their feet, trying to get up. We have decided to take some time to figure out how to solve this problem buy testing agur, fake and real moss, and various other substances so that they are they can go about their daily duties and we can still see them. Although once we find somthing that works we will have to redo the control and the chemicals with the addition.
A tardigrade is not what you might think. No, it is not a late grade. A tardigrade is actually a microscopic organism that lives in moss and lichen and is all around you. You may have heard them referred to as “moss piglets” or “water bears”. Tardigrades are actually pretty cool. They are the first animal ever to survive in space and can survive absolute zero, which is -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit! Tardigrades are also able to go into a dormant state commonly known as cryptobiosis, or more specifically, anhydrobiosis. In anhydrobiosis, all the water in the tardigrade is pushed out; it’s kind of like hibernation. In this state, the tardigrade is able to survive many months–even years without water! But don’t worry–these little guys wouldn’t hurt a fly. You just might want to think twice next time before stepping on that patch of moss!
This year our group is working with tardigrades. Specifically the effects of glyphosate and imidacloprid on the tardigrades. So far we have done our control tests and are about to begin are glyphosate testing. In our control all the tardigrades in test two and test three survived. However in test one, three tardigrades died. This made our survival rate for the control 90%. It is possible that in test one the three tardigrades were dead when placed in the Petri dish. As we continue our experiment we assume that the survival rates for glyphosate and imidacloprid will be lower than 90%.