In the past few weeks, my partner (Azja Czajkowski) and I have been working on a science fair project. (We are both 10th graders.) This is the project we took to the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair.
This project was created to determine the impact of the misuse of pesticides on decomposers, as well as our ecosystem in general. Mothballs were chosen because they contain toxins naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene that are still used in some pesticides. Earthworms were left in a container containing either mothballs or wax (another main ingredient in mothballs) for a week, and their initial and final masses were measured. The data showed that mothballs had an adverse effect on the decomposers, eradicating them within the first three days. On the other hand, the wax caused the worms to suffer the effects of intestinal blockage, appearing pale and decreasing their percent mass change, compared to the controlled group, which remained healthy. Thus, it can be concluded that mothballs’ toxins have a detrimental effect on decomposers.
Below is a picture of my partner and me standing in front of our board. I am the person on the right.