You are here

dwiley's blog

Thesis Literature Review

Submitted by dwiley on Tue, 12/05/2017 - 16:44

Cortisol, the human stress hormone, earned its name being the primary glucocorticoid for human and non-human primates and the key component in their physiological stress response system. Stress is defined as “any event, whether real or perceived, that acts to disturb the homeostatic balance” according to Lovejoy’s Neuroendocrinology, an Integrated Apprpach. Although one tends to think that stress is primarily a result from emotional circumstances, it can be evoked by invisible stressors that the individual would not realize. These would include situations such as prolonged pain or deprivation from a substance that the body needs.


Perfect Paragraph 11/30

Submitted by dwiley on Fri, 12/01/2017 - 13:29

This ethogram project was completed for the purpose of  discovering characteristics about horse foal play behavior, and studying their parent offspring relationship. The species Equus caballus, more commonly known as Morgan horses, were studied in a field at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students analyzed the hour long footage using a computer program called JWatcher. This program allowed us to more accurately analyze how the foals interacted in their environment and to discover patterns and trends that begin to explain how a foal develops.

Perfect Paragraph 11/9

Submitted by dwiley on Thu, 11/09/2017 - 11:55

Planaria have been used for research on regeneration primarily because of their short regeneration time. However, one thing to consider is whether they regenerate at the same rate in all different types of circumstances. That is what this study set out to determine. In a two-week examination, students in the Fall 2017 Writing in Biology class with Steven Brewer will separate several planaria and put them in different light settings to observe whether light has an effect on regeneration rate.

Writing for Persuasion

Submitted by dwiley on Sun, 11/05/2017 - 23:15

In the event that this retrovirus kills off all but one breed of dogs, it is important to save yellow labs. Though faced with a tragic event, one must be realistic and choose a breed that can be used for more than just being a house pet. History shows that yellow labs are ideal dogs for police use, service dogs, seeing eye dogs, and many more. In the future, it will be very important to preserve these functions to society, and this is why the yellow lab breed should remain.

Perfect Paragraph 10/26 from edited cover letter

Submitted by dwiley on Thu, 10/26/2017 - 19:42

Currently, I am continuing my summer research lab work under Dr. Jerrold Meyer. His work delves into the effects environment has on stress in the body, and levels of cortisol in the organism’s hair can measure this. I trained under Dr. Meyer and his second in command, Mark Menard, to learn the ins and outs of the complete protocol for extracting cortisol from hair samples. In addition I will be conducting my honors thesis project under Dr. Meyer, which will be completed in the Spring of 2018. These experiences helped me gain the valuable organizational and people skills that would be very helpful at Genewiz, LLC.

RPlot 10/20

Submitted by dwiley on Fri, 10/20/2017 - 15:12

Data examining the relationships between hours slept and GPA for students living on the island Enies Lobby. Scatterplots showed low correlation, however the line graphs display a similarity between Male and Female students, on top of a trend of more hours of sleep leading to a higher GPA.

Planarians Summary 10/20

Submitted by dwiley on Fri, 10/20/2017 - 11:59

My partner and I read two articles regarding planarians. The first article simply summarized any information available about planarians. Planarians are long, flat worm-like organisms with very little internal systems (Faber). Usually light brown, adult planarians have a long dark stripe down their back and are slimy to the touch. This slimy texture is the result of constant mucus secretion; the mucus acts as a defense mechanism, as it tastes quite bitter and unappetizing to predators (Faber). Planarians primarily feed upon earthworms, slugs, snails, and soil arthropods, which is easy because of the cool, dark environments they prefer to live in.

            The second article I read delved into the question of whether planarians have the capability to learn and be conditioned. This was tested by puffing 30cc of air for 1 second every 45 seconds towards the planarians’ heads, repeating this process 50 times, and measuring their reactions by the amount of retraction. In order to do this process, planarians were placed into a conditioning trough and allowed to adapt to that surrounding for 5-10 minutes before starting the blows of air. Each time air was blown at the planarians, researchers would record whether the subject either (+) contracted, (-) did not contract, or (T) turned and swam away.



Can Planaria Learn. [accessed 2017 Oct 20].

Faber B. With the Rain Come Land Planaria. 2015 Nov 30 [accessed 2017 Oct 20].

Perfect Paragraph 10/20

Submitted by dwiley on Thu, 10/19/2017 - 11:58

Morgan horses (Equus caballus) were observed and filmed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The purpose of this study was to observe and categorize behaviors performed by the horses. The observed behaviors fell into 4 main categories which were decided by the team. The four behavior categories were as followed; Grooming, Feeding, Locomotive, and Other. The “Other” category is a compilation of behaviors that were distinct enough to not adhere to the formerly mentioned categories. Within each behavior category, there were individual behaviors that were identified and tallied to examine the frequency at which the behaviors were performed. Of the time spent recording, the horses exhibited 43 locomotive behaviors, 19 Grooming behaviors, 5 feeding behaviors, and lastly 13 “other” behaviors, as detailed in Table 1. Locomotive behaviors were by far the most common type of behavior and to be exact, there were 29 different locomotive behaviors record per Table 2. The same process was used to examine the Grooming behavior category, which was the second most common type of behavior exhibited. Within this group (Table 2), “shaking their mane” was the most frequent display at 35 times while “scratching their head against the fence” was the least common at 2 occurrences.

Perfect Paragraph 10/13

Submitted by dwiley on Thu, 10/12/2017 - 13:27

This past weekend I attended my cousin's wedding. It was in Germantown, NY. A picturesque area in the Hudson River Valley, this allowed my family and I to explore the surrounding foliage. We went on hikes, visited old mansions owned by turn-of-the-century aristocrats, and met my cousin Matt at his now-wife's favorite church for his wedding. The leaves had just started to turn, and this combined with the perfect weather made the ceremony one of the nicest ones I have seen. Afterwards, at the reception, the bride and groom shared a first dance and my siblings and I sat in the back at the "kid table". We had so much fun dancing and catching up with cousins we had not seen in a while, making the weekend overall a great memory for years to come.

Perfect Paragraph Week 5

Submitted by dwiley on Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:55

Being a senior Biology student, I have heard about and studied the organisms in the Durfee Conservatory many times. So, I decided to start there for my methods project. On a Tuesday after classes I headed there with my iPhone to look around and find the most interesting plant to photograph. Upon entering, I was greeted with several fauna. It took me a few minutes, but I found a flower with spiky blue and purple petals shaped in a halo around several intricate green and yellow stomata, all sitting on top a lower halo of green oval leaves.  There was also a triad of white and purple spiracles in the direct center. Logging onto the Durfee Conservatory website, I deducted that the flower’s identity is the Passiflora caerulea, or the “Blue Sky”.


Subscribe to RSS - dwiley's blog