Salinity and Hatching Brine Shrimp Eggs (page 2)

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Author: Tricia Edgar


Before it is born, a brine shrimp lives in a cyst. When conditions are right, the babies will hatch. These babies are called nauplii. If conditions are bad, the females release dormant cysts. These cysts don’t turn into babies and hatch until the conditions are good. That way, the nauplii will have the best chance of survival.

What makes brine shrimp happy? Shrimp develop at different rates depending on the conditions around them. They like to have lots of oxygen in the water – you added oxygen when you stirred the solution. They also like to have a temperature that’s not too hot and not too cold. Of course, the food needs to be good too: brine shrimp use their bodies to move tiny, microscopic organisms into their mouths.

Brine shrimp also need saltwater. They are tough and can handle very different amounts of salt. Salinity is usually measured in parts per thousand (ppt), which means the number of grams of salt in a kilogram of liquid. Brine shrimp do best at a salinity of nearly 2 tablespoons of salt per quart of water. However, whether they grow and reproduce well depends on all of the other factors in their environment as well.

Depending on the conditions of the place where they live, it can take as little as a week or a many as six weeks for the babies to turn into adults.

Scientists in labs use brine shrimp to test for pollution in water. Many animals like birds eat small animals that live in the water. If the water is polluted, the shrimp may not be as successful, or they may die. You can try other experiments using tiny amounts of cooking oil or dish soap to see how brine shrimp hatching rates change when there is pollution in the water.

What other environmental conditions might change how brine shrimp hatch and grow? How else could you make the best home for your brine shrimp?

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