Ardgillan College Make a Presentation to the Young Scientists of 2nd & 3rd year.

October 2, 2011 0

Star of the year, Eanna Reynolds is this years: Sentinus, Northern Ireland, Junior Runner-Up, 2011. Éanna Reynolds had fun observing and monitoring the behavioural habits of the common slugs and snails.

Principal, Michael O Leary, Eanna Reynolds,and Young Scientist Teacher, Theresa Gannon

Principal, Michael O Leary, Eanna Reynolds,and Young Scientist Teacher, Theresa Gannon

The project titled, “The behavioural patterns of the Helix Aspersa and the Gastropod Mollusc colony in the horticultural habitat of the North Dublin area-an ecological study” was already awarded a highly commended in the Biology and Ecology category.

He chose this project because his dad is a farmer and slugs and snails are a pest in the north county Dublin area. He finds it a real nuisance to have to go out every year to spread slug pellets.

Adult brown garden snails lay an average of 80 spherical, pearly white eggs at a time into a hole in the soil. They can lay eggs up to 6 times a year, and it takes about 2 months, depending on the species. On sunny days they seek hiding places out of the heat and the bright light. Often the clues to their presences are their silvery trails and plant damage. In areas with mild winters, such as southern coastal locations, snails and slugs can be active throughout the year during cold weather, snails and slugs hibernate in the topsoil. During hot, dry periods or when it is cold, snails seal themselves off with parchment like membrane and often attach themselves to tree trunks, fences or walls.

The aim of this project was to find a natural alternative to pesticides, in order to prevent snails damaging crops.

For the experiment he made a quadrant and filled it up with soil, then placed foods around the edges of the quadrant, he placed the snails in the middle of the quadrant an equal distance from the foods. The snails were tested for a food preference by placing in many different types of food such as sugary food, oatmeal (as this was an old tradition), different coloured foods, foods with a strong odour, Natural plants, spices, and marine vegetation.

The final experiment proved most successful. The objective of this experiment was to establish if you could keep away the common helix aspersa and the mollusc gastropod by using marine vegetation, the quadrant contained lettuce surrounded by seaweed and red apple. In twenty four hours none of the lettuce was consumed and all the helix aspersa and the mollusc gatroppod were found dead on the seaweed, this shows that the seaweed was the only component that kept the slugs and snails away, also none of the red apple was consumed. Interesting results given the snails were placed equal distances from the food choices.

The Principal, Michael O Leary, Proudly presented the prestigious certificates to the students and remarked on their wonderful achievements and the originality and creativity involved in researching the topics chosen. He strongly believes that students should have fun learning And there is plenty of evidence of that in the college as interest in the sciences and maths is growing with both student and teacher involvement. Teacher, Theresa Gannon says the students enjoy being members of the Young Scientist Club and are incorporating Maths, Physics, Ecology, Biology and Environmental Sciences to a very high level in a fun manner.