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# Experimental Error

ACTSCI-JYAHO5

A student is running an experiment to determine how light influences the rate of photosynthesis in aquatic plants. The student sets up a shallow dish with carbonated water and some bromothymol blue(BTB) indicator. The carbon dioxide in the water will make the solution acidic.

As the aquatic plants undergo photosynthesis, they will absorb carbon dioxide from the solution and the solution will become more alkaline, or basic. The BTB indicator is yellow in acidic solutions and will change color to blue as the solution becomes more basic.

The student places a sample of healthy water stargrass in each of several containers and then covers the different containers with various light filters. The containers are placed under a solar spectrum light source which is turned on for 12 hours, then turned off for 12 hours, with this light cycle repeated for 3 days.

Trial 1 shows the change in water color for samples with different light intensities, based on the use of different neutral density filters. These filters did not change the color of the light, only how bright the light was.

Table 1

Light Intensity (% of Maximum) Color of Solution Initially Color of Solution after 24 hours Color of Solution after 48 hours Color of Solution after 72 hours
25 Bright Yellow Yellow Yellow-Green Green
50 Bright Yellow Yellow Green Blue
75 Bright Yellow Green-Blue Blue Blue
100 Bright Yellow Blue Blue Blue

Trial 2 shows the change in water color for samples with differently colored filters. In these samples, the light for each sample had the same brightness but had differing color filters.

Table 2

Color of Light Color of Solution Initially Color of Solution after 24 hours Color of Solution after 48 hours Color of Solution after 72 hours
Black Bright Yellow Bright Yellow Bright Yellow Bright Yellow
Blue Bright Yellow Yellow Yellow-Green Green
Green Bright Yellow Yellow-Green Yellow-Green Green-Blue
Red Bright Yellow Yellow-Green Green-Blue Blue

Which of the following errors in the experiments would likely NOT have changed the results?

A

In half the samples, the length of the plant was twice what the lab called for.

B

The volume of water was not the same in each of the samples.

C

The amount of bromothymol blue indicator was accidentally doubled.

D

The student used a different indicator that is colorless in basic solutions.