Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Amir Palermo

Is my Biology EE against IB's animal experimentation and ethics policy?

I'm a May 2014 IB candidate, and currently working on my Biology EE and first draft.

My research question is "What are the effects of colour and design of a sticky flytrap on the effectiveness of trapping Musca domestica (houseflies) ?"

My teacher and I both think this is a great EE to embark on since it gives such a significant impact to my local community and environment as my boarding school is located deep in the palm oil plantations of Malaysia. Houseflies come in large swarms all day and pose a threat to the health of my fellow friends and school staff.

Anyway, one of my methodology in collecting data is to build and design my very own sticky flytraps of different colours. They are placed in my school cafeteria, and for a fixed amount of time, I will lay out the traps and come back to tally how many flies have landed. The colored trap which traps the most flies will be considered as the most effective color.

The second part of the RQ is the "design" of the traps, which is pretty much the same thing as colour, but I vary the shapes and orientations of the sticky flytraps instead.

I am feeling very optimistic about this EE, but now I'm worried that it might infringe and violate IB's animal experimentation and ethics policy because it involves trapping and immobilising houseflies. Afterwards, the houseflies die of course.

My supervisor thinks that's alright since their pests, but I'm not so sure of what to believe after reading the guidelines again today:

http://ib-biology-labbank.wikispaces.com/file/view/Animal+Experiment+Policy.pdf

http://ibbiologygjis.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/ib-ethical-guidelines-for-ee-and-ias/

"[EEs should aim] to alleviate any harm or distress to the animal; and reduction in the numbers of animals involved."


Is my EE considered as violating the policy as the flies are stressed? If so, how should I go about and modify my methodology if I were to stick to my original RQ? I'm already in the write up stages for my EE, is it too late to redo the RQ you think?

Much appreciated, thank you!


(p.s. I would also appreciate if you'd comment on my EE and methodology. Is it good and novel enough to get an A?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd first like to point out that I'm not a biology student - so I'm just looking at the guidelines now. I can't help you with the EE question or methodology, but you seem to have it well-sorted out now, so you're probably going better than most people :)

I would say that although your RQ does seem good and interesting, there is a harm to the flies. I'm guessing they won't survive long once trapped. You are 'changing the environment' and causing the flies to essentially die. I guess one could argue that experimenting on flies is of a lesser magnitude than monkeys or something. IB however makes it quite clear that damage to any 'vertebrates' or 'non-vertebrates' is unacceptable.

Has your biology teacher ever supervised anyone for a similar style of Biology EE topic? If they have experience, then that's good. However, I would still recommend you ask other teachers, and your IB co-ordinator about the ethics of your topic. Because it's generally quite bad if you fall foul of the guidelines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm guessing they won't survive long once trapped. You are 'changing the environment' and causing the flies to essentially die.

I set traps before class and I only come back to check on the traps after class has ended... by the time I get to the cafeterias, the flies are dead already.

In an effort to control the fly population in my school, the cafeteria workers in my school place brown sticky flytraps all over the cafeteria- even before my whole experiment started. The brown sticky flytraps are somewhat of a default feature in my cafeteria already.

If there are sticky flytraps in the cafeteria already, I'm not really changing the environment, right?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems interesting, but how do you plan to control variables other than the color and shape of the trap? I would imagine the exact spot to which to place each trap also plays an important role as well as the conditions of the particular day of the experiment (weather, temperature, moisture, wind etc etc.).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a May 2014 IB candidate, and currently working on my Biology EE and first draft.

My research question is "What is the effects of colour and design of a sticky flytrap on the effectiveness of trapping Musca domestica (houseflies) ?"

My teacher and I both think this is a great EE to embark on since it gives such a significant impact to my local community and environment as my boarding school is located deep in the palm oil plantations of Malaysia. Houseflies come in large swarms all day and pose a threat to the health of my fellow friends and school staff.

Anyway, one of my methodology in collecting data is to build and design my very own sticky flytraps of different colours. They are placed in my school cafeteria, and for a fixed amount of time, I will lay out the traps and come back to tally how many flies have landed. The colored trap which traps the most flies will be considered as the most effective color.

The second part of the RQ is the "design", which is pretty much the same thing as colour, but I vary the shapes and orientations of the sticky flytraps instead.

I am feeling very optimistic about this EE, but now I'm worried that it might infringe and violate IB's animal experimentation and ethics policy because it involves trapping and immobilising houseflies. Afterwards, the houseflies die of course.

My supervisor thinks that's alright since their pests, but I'm not so sure of what to believe after reading the guidelines again today:

http://ib-biology-labbank.wikispaces.com/file/view/Animal+Experiment+Policy.pdf

http://ibbiologygjis.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/ib-ethical-guidelines-for-ee-and-ias/

"[EEs should aim] to alleviate any harm or distress to the animal; and reduction in the numbers of animals involved."

Is my EE considered as violating the policy as the flies are stressed? If so, how should I go about and modify my methodology if I were to stick to my original RQ? I'm already in the write up stages for my EE, is it too late to redo the RQ you think?

Much appreciated, thank you!

(p.s. I would also appreciate if you'd comment on my EE and methodology. Is it good and novel enough to get an A?)

I like your idea, it sounds pretty awesome to me, but I think you should have a talk with your DP coordinator to confirm if it is against the IB regulations.

You're going well...btw i seriously don't think that killing some as useless as flies should be that big of an issue...especially in Malaysia, they're like everywhere there. You are doing a good deed! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems interesting, but how do you plan to control variables other than the color and shape of the trap? I would imagine the exact spot to which to place each trap also plays an important role as well as the conditions of the particular day of the experiment (weather, temperature, moisture, wind etc etc.).

Of course, the location of each trap, the distance between one another, temperature, weather- all that put into account. I consulted the local meteorological department for weather forecasts in choosing my experimental dates to make sure the weather temperature is constant for all the experimental trials.

To test the Independent variable of colour, I have 9 chosen sites in the cafeteria, and I will be conducting the experiment for 9 days. For each new day, the trap will be situated at a new site. This eliminates bias (i.e. Site A is near the garbage disposal area, Site B is near the kitchen, etc.)

I like your idea, it sounds pretty awesome to me, but I think you should have a talk with your DP coordinator to confirm if it is against the IB regulations.

You're going well...btw i seriously don't think that killing some as useless as flies should be that big of an issue...especially in Malaysia, they're like everywhere there. You are doing a good deed! :D

I shall go all Rambo in the teachers' room and bombard them with this problem first thing tomorrow morning! Huzzaaah!!!

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites