Lab report

You will read about a lab activity for which you will be provided data; you will write a lab report as if you had completed the lab with a group. The Lab Report will be completed in multiple stages:

Compose the Methods and Results sections of the lab report for peer feedback.
Compose the Discussion and Introduction section of the lab report. Be sure to include in-text citations.
Based on our classroom discussion, revise and/or compose a References section for your lab report as well as an Abstract. Remember that an abstract must be complete and stand alone in its content.
Based on peer review feedback and your own thorough review, revise your lab report. Submit your final copy via Canvas by the date and time indicated in the syllabus.
The following should be included in your lab report. Instructions on how to complete each component can be found in this document.

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Title page with appropriate title (first page)
Abstract (second page)
Introduction (starting on the third page; no page breaks should appear from the Introduction through the Discussion)
Materials & Methods
Results
Discussion
References (starting on new page)
Purpose: 1. To practice revising; 2. To gain further experience at writing lab reports; this will 1) help with future classes and with formal science reporting and 2) provide insight to how scientific papers are constructed.

Topic: A prior lab experiment.

Audience: Biology professor for the purpose of grading.

The full details of how to complete the lab report assignment are contained in this document. This section is to tell you about the lab itself. In the face-to-face class, we conduct a lab using sandpaper squares as prey, and a blindfolded individual (actually they just keep their eyes closed) has to pick up as many as they can in a minute. To keep the number constant, another individual takes all the collected squares (captured and eaten prey) and returns them to the table. There are tables with different numbers of squares (10, 20, 50, 100, and 200), and students complete each table three times.

There are two pieces of data that are collected for each trial:

number of squares collected (or number of prey eaten); there is only one number for each trial; the three numbers for each density (10, 20, 50, 100, and 200) can easily be averaged to get one number for each density
handling time (the amount of time it takes to pick up a sandpaper square each time one is found–this represents the amount of time it takes to kill and eat prey); for each trial, there are as many numbers for handling time (in seconds) as there are number of prey collected; to evaluate this, determine the average handling time for each trial, and then average those three handling times together to get the average for the density
Read the laboratory instructions carefully (they can be found below). Although you will not carry out the laboratory experiment, you will write a lab report as if you had done the laboratory. If you have questions, be sure to ask them on the Discussion Board. I will provide the data for the lab (see below).

The purpose of this assignment is not merely to write a lab report, but to learn about the components of a lab report and what should be included. For classes, of course, you will also need to adhere to the desire of each professor. Please note that lab reports closely resemble primary journal articles.

After conducting a laboratory and gathering the results, you have enough information to write two sections of the lab report: the Materials & Methods and the Results. That is why these sections are written first, even though it is out of order. You will then write the Introduction and Discussion sections, and finally the Abstract and References (download the paper herePreview the document; it should be used as one of your references).

Here are the data for your lab.

Prey density: 10

Trial 1, number of prey killed: 4

Trial 1, handling times (in seconds): 1.1, 0.9, 1.5, 1.1

Trial 2, number of prey killed: 6

Trial 2, handing times (in seconds): 1.2, 0.7, 1.7, 1.1, 1.0, 0.9

Trial 3, number of prey killed: 7

Trial 3, handling times (in seconds): 1.9, 0.8, 1.9, 1.2, 2.5, 1.5, 1.1

Prey density: 20

Trial 1, number of prey killed: 12

Trial 1, handling times (in seconds): 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 0.7, 2.0, 1.2, 1.1, 2.1, 0.9, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2

Trial 2, number of prey killed: 11

Trial 2, handing times (in seconds): 0.6, 1.6, 2.6, 2.2, 1.6, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.0, 1.1, 0.9

Trial 3, number of prey killed: 16

Trial 3, handling times (in seconds): 0.9, 0.9, 1.5, 0.8, 1.6, 1.2, 1.5, 1.4, 2.8, 1.0, 1.0, 1.7, 0.8, 1.1, 1.1, 1.7

Prey density: 50

Trial 1, number of prey killed: 21

Trial 1, handling times (in seconds): 0.8, 0.9, 1.0, 1.9, 1.8, 1.7, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, 1.5, 1.4, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.3, 1.2, 1.1, 1.1, 2.1, 0.6

Trial 2, number of prey killed: 19

Trial 2, handing times (in seconds): 0.6, 1.6, 2.6, 2.2, 1.6, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.0, 1.1, 0.9, 0.9, 1.5, 0.8, 1.6, 1.2, 1.5, 1.4, 2.8

Trial 3, number of prey killed: 24

Trial 3, handling times (in seconds): 1.4, 1.5, 1.0, 1.1, 0.9, 0.9, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 0.7, 2.0, 1.2, 2.2, 1.6, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.0, 1.4, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.3, 1.2

Prey density: 100

Trial 1, number of prey killed: 32

Trial 1, handling times (in seconds): 0.8, 0.9, 1.0, 1.9, 1.8, 1.7, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, 1.5, 1.4, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.3, 1.2, 1.1, 1.1, 2.1, 0.6, 0.6, 1.6, 2.6, 2.2, 1.6, 1.3, 1.4,1.2, 1.5, 1.4, 2.8

Trial 2, number of prey killed: 38

Trial 2, handing times (in seconds): 1.9, 0.8, 1.9, 1.2, 2.5, 1.5, 1.1, 0.8, 1.6, 1.2, 1.5, 1.4, 2.8, 1.0, 1.0, 1.7, 1.5, 1.0, 1.1, 0.9, 2.0, 1.2, 2.2, 1.6, 1.1, 0.9, 1.5, 1.1, 0.8, 1.9, 1.2, 2.5, 1.5, 1.4, 2.8, 1.0, 1.0, 1.7

Trial 3, number of prey killed: 33

Trial 3, handling times (in seconds): 1.5, 1.0, 1.4, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.3, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 1.0, 1.1, 0.9, 0.9, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 0.7, 2.0, 1.2, 2.2, 1.6, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.0, 1.4, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.3, 1.2, 3.5

Prey density: 200

Trial 1, number of prey killed: 39

Trial 1, handling times (in seconds): 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 0.7, 2.0, 1.2, 1.1, 2.1, 0.9, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 0.7, 2.0, 1.2, 1.1, 2.1, 0.9, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.2, 0.7, 1.7, 1.1, 1.0, 0.9, 1.9, 1.2, 2.5, 1.5, 1.1, 0.8, 1.6, 1.2, 1.5

Trial 2, number of prey killed: 40

Trial 2, handing times (in seconds): 1.4, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.3, 1.2, 3.5, 0.6, 1.6, 2.6, 2.2, 1.6, 1.3, 1.4, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 0.7, 2.0, 1.2, 1.1, 2.1, 0.9, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 2.2, 1.6, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.0, 1.1, 0.9, 3.3, 2.7, 1.5, 1.0, 1.0, 1.0

Trial 3, number of prey killed: 31

Trial 3, handling times (in seconds): 1.5, 1.0, 1.4, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 1.3, 1.2, 1.1, 0.9, 0.9, 1.5, 0.8, 1.6, 1.2, 1.5, 1.2, 0.7, 1.7, 1.1, 1.0, 0.9, 1.9, 1.8, 1.7, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, 1.5, 1.4

Laboratory instructions for functional response experiment
Reference: Holling 1959.

The relation between prey population density and predator feeding rate (individuals eaten/hour) is called the functional response of a predator. At low prey density, the feeding rate is proportional to prey density. At higher prey density, the predator cannot eat all of the prey that are available, because of limitation by handling time, or the time it takes to kill and eat the animal. This means that no matter how many prey are available, the feeding rate is constant.

The current experiment will determine the functional response, using a human as “predator” and squares of sandpaper as the “prey.” Blindfolded human subjects will be presented with different numbers of sandpaper squares in a given area such as a tabletop. They will be allowed one minute to collect as many squares as possible, handling just one square at a time. The relation between number of squares collected and the density of squares (number per given area) is the functional response.

This experiment is defined by the relationship y = aTx, where y = the number of prey killed and eaten (or the number of squares removed), a is the functional response (based on the rate of searching and the probability of discovering prey [or squares]), T = time, and x = the prey (or square) density. The variable y will vary with each experiment. The variable a will be calculated, based on the other variables. The variable T will be one minute, as that will be the length of each experiment. The variable x will be given for each experiment. Thus, x will change for each experiment and is the independent variable, and y will be measured for each experiment and will be the dependent variable. You will also record the handling time, b, for each experiment.

Directions:

Form groups of 3–4 students, and provide one of the following assignments to each one:

Predator: This individual will be blindfolded and will collect the sandpaper squares from the table.
Timer: This individual will measure the handling time.
Manager: This individual will collect the squares as they are found by the predator and will then return the square to the table.

Conduct the experiment:

When told to start, the blindfolded Predator will tap the table in front of them with only a single fingertip to search for squares. When they find a square, they should pick it up and pass it to the Manager. They can them resume looking for other squares in the same manner.
When the Predator locates the square, the Timer will start the stopwatch; when the Predator has successfully passed the square to the Manager, the Timer will stop the stopwatch. The Recorder will record the time on the stopwatch using the attached paper.
The Manager needs to be ready to accept the square when the Predator finds one. After receiving the square from the Predator, the Manager then returns it back to the table. (This allows the prey density to remain constant.)
Stop after one minute.
Be sure to help re-set the table for the next group.

The first run will be a trial run. Do NOT use these data in your final analysis. After the trial run, you will repeat the experiment three times each for 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 squares. Be sure to record the data for later analysis.

At the end of each experiment, you should have or be able to calculate the following data:

The average time to pick up the sandpaper and pass it to the Manager. This is the handling time.
The average number of squares collected per minute for each density.

Assignment I: Complete the Materials & Methods and Results sections
All verbs should be past tense. This lab was already conducted.
The methods are not a list of instructions. They are a description of how the lab was performed. There should be sufficient detail for someone else to replicate the experiment, but you are not writing instructions for them.
There should not be a list of materials. The materials should be incorporated into the writing of the methods.
Only include pertinent details. Omit non-pertinent details. See the Discussion board.
Divide your methods section into two parts with subheadings: “Procedure” and “Data analysis”. How you analyze the data is part of the methods. What you get from those data are the results.
In the procedure, describe how the experiment was conducted.
In the data analysis, describe how you analyzed the data. For instance, you are using the mean prey collected for each density, but you are calculating the mean handling time for each trial and then averaging the three means together to determine the overall handling time for each density. In both cases, you are also calculating standard deviations. If you do not know what this is, please look it up.
In the results section, you should NOT include the raw data. You MUST start with a description of the data. Do NOT merely repeat the numbers, as these will be available in a figure and table. How did the data change? Start with prey collected? What happened as density increased? What type of relationship was this? Did handling time noticeably change (it really shouldn’t, but sometimes data may not show this)? The results text does not have to be extensive, as there really is not a lot of data.
The figure showing the relationship between prey density and prey collected must include the following: labeled x- and y-axes with appropriate units, correct data, error bars for each data point, line of best fit (probably logarithmic). The title should come beneath the graph (not at the top). Any symbols or abbreviations must be defined in a legend below the figure. Follow the instructions here on how to organize your data in Excel and create the figure. Be sure not to copy the data, as these are different.
The table showing the relationship between prey density and handling time must include the following: title at the top (why different between tables and figures? I have no idea), appropriate headings with the correct units, correct data showing the standard deviations. Any symbols or abbreviations must be defined in a legend below the table. Follow the example given here on how the table should appear. Be sure not to copy the data, as these are different.
The Materials & Methods Section
The materials and methods section should clearly outline the methods used in the experiment.
There should be sufficient detail that a student who is unfamiliar with the experiment could repeat the experiment.
However, unnecessary details should not be included. We will discuss which details are necessary in class.
There should be a subsection for Procedure. This section should describe how the experiment was conducted.
There should also be a subsection on Data analysis. This section should describe how the data were analyzed. Note that analyzing the data is how the results are achieved, so analysis is still part of the methods. However, the resulting data are part of the Results section.
The methods should be written in third person, using past tense.
The materials should not be provided as a list. Instead, the materials should be incorporated into the description.
The section should be clear and readable by someone who has not performed the experiment.
The information should be presented in a logical manner.
The Results Section
The following components should be present:

The main results should be presented in paragraph form with references to figures or tables as appropriate.
There should be a figure showing the results of prey density vs. prey killed.
The figure should be complete enough that a reader can understand it without reading the text.
Each of the following components should be included with or in the figure: figure title and legend below the figure, x- and y-axis labels with appropriate units, error bars, trendline (linear or logarithmic, dependent upon your original hypothesis), and r-squared value for the trendline.
There should be a table reporting the results of handling time vs. prey density. The necessary components of the table can be found below.
The following file will provide further information on how to analyze the results and present them in the results section. As this is a key component of a lab report, please be sure to review this file carefully. Remember, you should use the data found above.
How to evaluate the resultsPreview the document

Assignment 2: Complete the Introduction and Discussion sections
The Introduction Section
The introduction starts on the third page and should have three paragraphs. The first paragraph should introduce and cite authentic sources regarding the predator-prey relationship, particularly in relation to prey density (note that these instructions are not an appropriate source). The second paragraph should discuss the 1959 paper by Holling. The third paragraph should discuss the purpose of the current experiment and the hypothesis. As at least three sources must be cited in the report, it would be helpful if at least three sources were cited in the introduction. Please note that the in-text citation format must be the same as previously discussed in class.

The Discussion Section
The discussion should be five paragraphs in length. The first paragraph should discuss the findings in relation to what was expected and compare them to the findings of Holling, using the following questions to guide your writing: How do your results compare to Holling’s? Are they qualitatively similar (do the graphs have a similar shape)? Are they quantitatively similar (do your data fall on the same lines as Holling’s)? Why or why not? The last paragraph should be a conclusion and should reiterate the main findings and their potential importance. For the other three paragraphs, consider the following questions. Your discussion should provide answers to these questions, but do it gracefully; do not write the questions followed by responses in a point-counterpoint style. You are not answering an interviewer – you are writing a discussion about your lab experiments. The questions are here to guide you in thinking about what you need to discuss; each question could be considered at length in a paragraph. Note that there must still be a logical flow of information with appropriate transitions, so ordering of this information is up to the student. You may choose to cite references for some of these points (remember: you must cite at least three in the report).

What is the relation between average handling time and the maximum number of sandpaper squares collected in 1 minute?
How confident are you in your results? Did your replicates show the same pattern?
Holling used randomly distributed prey. What do you think would happen if prey were clumped?
What do you think would happen to the graphs if the square were not returned to the table each time?
What other variables may affect the outcome of the experiment?
What kinds of organisms do you think would show this kind of functional response?
How can these data be used for ecological purposes?

Assignment 3: Complete the Abstract and References sections; create a Title
The References Section
You must cite at least three appropriate references in your report.
I have provided one reference in his document. You are responsible for finding and incorporating the other two.
Remember that in science, the reference list is usually called “References”, not “Works cited” or “Bibliography” or “Sources”.
Each reference used should be cited at the appropriate place(s) in the main text.
The in -text citations and reference list should be in the proper format for this class.

The Abstract
Write an abstract for your lab report (maximum 250 words). Abstracts usually have a maximum, rather than a minimum, word count. You will probably do not need to worry about exceeding the word count, as there is not a great amount of data for this lab.
The abstract should stand alone from the report. This is a characteristic of all abstracts; they are not really considered part of the entire paper. Rather, they are a summary that can be published separately and through which the reader can still gain an overall understanding of the paper. That is, a reader should be able to read the abstract and obtain an overall understanding of the experiment, including the purpose, method, main results, and conclusion. Thus, the abstract should be a summary of the experiment or paper.
Some abstracts are “structured”, that is, they have subheadings such as “Purpose”, “Methods”, “Results”, and “Conclusion”. You may use these if you would like to help organize your abstract, but it is not required.
Regardless, you should start the abstract by reviewing the purpose of the experiment. You do not need to provide substantial background material here.
You then need to provide a brief description of the methods. The fine details are in the main text of the paper, but you should convey enough detail so that the reader has a general understanding of how the experiment was conducted.
You then should discuss the main results. For the current experiment, this means you will need to reiterate the findings concerning the relationship between prey density and prey collected as well as between handling time and prey collected.
You need to write a one- to two-sentence conclusion to end your abstract.
Title
Choose an appropriate title for your lab report and ensure it is on the title page. Please note that there are no specific directions for the title, but it should adequately convey the subject of the report. Many journals prohibit using questions for the title; other journals encourage it. Some journals want the subject of the report; other journals want the main finding. Therefore, there is not a single best way to write a title, other than it should not be colloquial.

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