Lesson Plans

The Brine Shrimp Project

The Brine Shrimp Project was field tested with 10th grade biology students, but it can be adapted for use with all levels of students, from elementary to high school. This project gives students the opportunity to develop a question from which they will design an experiment, conduct an investigation to answer their question and analyze their results to determine if their hypothesis is supported by the data collected. This project supports the National Science Content Standards A and C for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12.

To design and conduct a laboratory investigation to determine how different factors may affect the hatching and development of brine shrimp eggs.

The Brine Shrimp Project is an investigation in which you and your partner will gather and analyze data about how different factors may affect the hatching and development of brine shrimp. In addition, all students will have the opportunity to design an experiment, conduct an investigation using the scientific method, analyze the results and share the results with the rest of the class in the form of an oral report. Students will also be required to write a formal laboratory report using the format we discussed the first day of class.

Brine Shrimp Facts
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Crustacea
The common brine shrimp (artemia) are closely related to zooplankton such as Daphnia and are often used as live food for aquariums. The artemia life cycle begins by the hatching of dormant cysts which are encased embryos that are metabolically inactive. The cysts can remain dormant for many years as long as they are kept dry. When the cysts are placed in salt water, they are rehydrated and resume their development.

After 15 or 20 hours at 25 degrees C (77 degrees F), the cysts burst and the embryo leaves the shell. For the first few hours, the embryo hangs beneath the cyst shell, still enclosed in the hatching membrane. The embryo will grow and progress through 15 molts before reaching adulthood in approximately 8 days. Adult artemia average about 8mm long, but can reach lengths of 20 mm under ideal conditions.

Other variables of importance are pH, light and oxygen. A pH of 7.5-8.5 is optimal, and can be lowered with muriatic acid or increased with baking soda. A minimum amount of light is necessary for hatching and is beneficial for increased adult growth.

Two liter soda bottles with the tops cut off and filled with tap water make great hatching containers. To the bottle filled with water add 10 to 20 grams of salt without iodine and a pinch of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).

Feeding the brine shrimp is necessary, if the culture is to be used for several days. A solution of baker's yeast and fish tank water to form a milky solution is an ideal food for the growing brine shrimp. The brine shrimp culture only needs a few drops of the yeast solution as they are not big eaters and overfeeding can foul the culture. The yeast solution can be placed in a dropper bottle and stored in the refrigerator.

--->page 2 of 5, Brine Shrimp Project

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©1998 April J. Cleveland for Science Junction, NC State University. All rights reserved.
URL: http://www.ncsu.edu/sciencejunction/terminal/lessons/brine.html
Last Modified: 5/5/98

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