Inquiry 4 How Long Does it Take SlimeMould to Solve a Simple Maze? By ASH and SCK
Interesting Facts about Slime Mould Favourite Food: Old fashioned rolled oats Top Growth Speed: 1.8 cm/hr. Preferred Growing Conditions: dark, damp, warm Diet: decaying organisms, other fungi, yeast, rice, pasta Number of Known Species: 450 They are the world’s largest single-celled organism! If cut, slime mould will put itself back together Scientific Name: Physarum Polycephalum
What you Need to Sustain SlimeMould You should also haveRequired Materials for Growing: a dark, dry place for Slime Mould the mould to grow Petri dish and/or sealed container (ex. Tupperware) Old fashioned oat flakes Aluminum foilOther Things to Have On Hand: Paper towels Scalpels Forceps or tweezers Electrical tape Rubbing alcohol / autoclave / pot (method of steralization) Bleach Incubator
Our Experiment…Getting Slime Mould to solve a simplemaze
ProcedureStep 1: Collect necessary materialsfor maze-building(container, lego, agar, oats, etc.)Step 2: Build mazeStep 3: Prepare maze (add oats)Step 4: Transfer piece of actively growingslime mould to mazeStep 5: Check on mould periodically at approximately30-60 minute intervals
HypothesisStep 1: We measured thedistance of the fastest routethrough the maze (About 19cm)Step 2: We calculated the timeit would take using the fastestpossible growth speed (1.8cm/hr.) The result of our calculations was 10.56 hours.
ResultsStart Time: 9:24 am (February 13th)End Time: 7:24 pm (February 15th)It took approximately 34 hours for the mould to solvethe maze.
ConclusionIt takes Slime Mould about 34 hours to solve amaze with a shortest distance of 19 cm.Slime Mould’s growing speed is about 0.56 cm / hr.Possible Explanations for Not Solving the Maze atTop Growth Speed:• Multiple changes in environment• Room temperature – not incubated• Lack of nutrients to start with
Road Blocks Sterilizing petri dishes Sterilizing Lego Contamination Empty nutrient transfers Culture overload! – Too many cultures at once
Future ExperimentsCan Slime Mould Remember a Maze Route? Rebuild the same maze and use the same culturefor it.Tracing Growth Rate Use a permanent marker to trace the growth ofslime mould on the bottom of a petri dish.Different Mazes Try different mazes
A General Recap: What We Did Practiced basic care: Exchanging oats Subculturing Effects of incubator on growth Plated petri dishes with agar Made sclerotia Tested the air for bacteria
Sources (Care Instructions, Requirements & Growing Procedures) A Simple Method of Growing the Plasmodial Slime Mold:http://www.buildingthepride.com/faculty/pgdavison/PHYSARUM%20culture%20for%20web.html Cultivating Slime Moulds:http://www.sciencefairadventure.com/ProjectDetail.aspx?ProjectID=121 Slime Mold Growing Kit:http://www.educationalassistance.org/Physarum/EasyToGrow/Carolina%20Biological%20-%20Slime%20Mold%20Kit%20Instrux.pdf Top Tips for growing Physarum Polycephalum:http://slimoco.ning.com/forum/topics/top-tips-for-growing-physarum Amateur Scientist - Slime mold (care):http://miriam-english.org/files/slime-molds/AmateurScientist_slime-mold.html Education.com - Slime Mold :http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/biology_cultivating-slime-molds/
Sources Cont. (General Information) Slime molds in British Columbia:http://www.geog.ubc.ca/biodiversity/eflora/SlimeMolds.html Slime mold:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slime_mold Introduction to the "Slime Molds":http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/protista/slimemolds.html Types of Slime Mould:http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/phenom_mar01.html#ixzz2F46QXJvZ Why Slime Molds can Solve Mazes Better Than Robots:http://io9.com/5950984/why-slime-molds-can-solve-mazes-better-than-robots Wards Natural Science:http://wardsci.com/images/art/Physarum.pdf Amoeboid:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amoeboid