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THE

EFFECT

OF

CAFFEINE

ON

THE

HEART

RATE

OF

DAPHNIA

HYPOTHESIS:

As the caffeine concentration rises, so does the mean heart


rate of daphnia.

RISK ASSESSMENT:

In this experiment there are the following risks both for the
human that carries out the experiment and the daphnia:
The human that carries out the experiment should be
cautious not to touch the lamp with wet hands since it uses
electricity.
Also, be careful not to spill any of the pond water on the
floor.
As for the daphnia, there is a chance for them to die as
when they are exposed to light, they are also exposed to heat
in which they arent used to.
Moreover, when they are given caffeine of a high
concentration their heart may beat so fast that will cause
their death.
Furthermore, there is the risk of the daphnia to dry up,
which may kill it in the middle of the experiment.

METHOD:

These are the steps that we followed when doing the


experiment:
1. Use a pipette to transfer the daphnia to a cavity slide
containing pond water of known volume.
2. Add some cotton fibres to the cavity slide and move them
with a fine paint brush in such a way that the daphnia cant
move.
3. Use a calculator to calculate the heart rate. Set its reading
to zero and add 1 to the answer.

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THE

EFFECT

OF

CAFFEINE

ON

THE

HEART

RATE

OF

DAPHNIA

4. One student will use a stopwatch to count 30 seconds

which is the time during which the measurement of the heart


rate will take place.
5. Turn the microscope lamp on and locate the heart of the
daphnia through the microscope.
6. Measure the beat rate.
7. Repeat steps 1-6 about 4 or 5 times and get an average.
Then calculate the heart beats per minute (just by doubling
the average).
8. Clean the cavity slide using a tissue and make sure there is
no pond water left.
9. Use a pipette to transfer a known volume of caffeine
solution of concentration 0.125% to the cavity slide.
10. Transfer the daphnia to the cavity slide using the pipette.
11. Measure the heart beats of daphnia per 30 seconds,
following the same procedure as before.
12. Repeat
steps 9-11 using caffeine solutions of
concentrations 0.25% and 0.5%
Notes for the experiment:
Pond water is used as the daphnia are used to living there
and we want to keep as many aspects from their normal life
as we can, so that the results are more accurate. This is also
the reason for which they should be kept in pond water.
The microscope lamp should only be on while counting the
beat rate as it might alter the temperature and when the
temperature is increased the heart rate may go up because
of this and not because of the aspect we are investigating.
A cavity slide and NOT an ordinary flat microscope slide
shall be used, as the cavity slide will help keep the daphnia in
a small volume of either caffeine solution or pond water and
not letting it escape.
Cotton is used to keep the daphnia still so that the heart
rate can be easily counted.
This experiment involves a living organism so we need to
be careful with it. So, we should leave it in conditions similar
to those that it was used to live: 5 oC up to 20oC (ice can also
be used to lower the temperature). Furthermore, we
shouldnt give it caffeine solutions of high concentration
immediately as they might kill it.

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Page 2

THE

EFFECT

OF

CAFFEINE

ON

THE

HEART

RATE

OF

DAPHNIA

The independent variable for the experiment is the


concentration of the caffeine thats given to the daphnia. The
dependent variable is the beat rate of the daphnia.
Just like every other experiment, this one also includes
some limitations. These are the following:
the heat produced when the lamp is on cannot be
handled and might be the reason for the heart rate to
increase
the heart rate might increase because of the effort of
the daphnia that is trying to escape from the cotton
fibres

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THE

EFFECT

CAFFEINE

OF

ON

THE

HEART

RATE

OF

DAPHNIA

RESULTS AND ANALYSIS:

This table summarises the results that we got by doing the


experiment.
Mean from
each
Heart Rate per 30
Treatment
experiment in
seconds
heart beats
min-1
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Trial Trial Trial Trial
Pond Water 122 164 188 185
341
Caffeine
410 440
/
/
425
(0.125%)

Caffeine

200

204

404

Caffeine

162

324

(0.25%)
(0.5%)

These results are better depicted by the following chart.

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THE

EFFECT

OF

CAFFEINE

ON

THE

HEART

RATE

OF

DAPHNIA

CONCLUSIONS:

The chart does not confirm what our hypothesis was: that the
higher the concentration of the caffeine solution the more the
beats per minute of the daphnia. This, though, might be a
mistake since the caffeine solution may not have been
exactly as we wanted it in each occasion, hence making the
results inaccurate. Also, when trying to press the = button
of the calculator faster, many of those additions were not
calculated since the calculator cant add as fast as we press
the button.

EVALUATION:

If I were given the opportunity to repeat the experiment these


are the parts of it that I would change:
I would repeat the experiment with the caffeine solution
more times, so that the results I would get will be more
accurate.
The same person would calculate the beat rate for all the
experiment, as some may be able to press the = button
more quickly and others may not have been able to keep up
with the fast rate.

GOING FURTHER:

To further analyse the effect of a drug, like caffeine, on the


heart rate of a living organism, like the daphnia, these are
some changes in the experiment that could have been done:
Use another species of daphnia, to see if the results are the
same
Use different concentrations of caffeine, such as 0.375%
and 0.0625%

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