The tetraodontiformes includes the puffer fish and trigger fish. However, the boxfishes are also sometimes included in this group. These fishes are commonly called T-Forms. The fish in this order have an interesting dentition in which the maxilla and premaxilla are fused together and have a total of 4 tooth plates. They generally graze on reefs and are slow moving fishes. This is partially due to their short vertebral column, which makes them inflexible. Thus, only the back portion of their body, such as their caudal fin, and their pectoral and pelvic fins are able to move. They may even use their large pectoral fins to grab onto the reef and move in fine scale movements. Many of these fish have modified scales erect as the fish inflates with water and act as a defensive mechanism to protect against being preyed upon. The fish may fully inflate in as quick as 4.5 seconds. Many of these fish have powerful tetrodototoxins which also protect from being eaten. One example of this is the fugu fish, which is, oddly enough, often considered to be a delicacy in japan. The toxin in this fish is so strong that even a miniscule amount of the toxin can kill a person.
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Performing our experiment felt very overwhelming at first. I was not sure how we would catch enough spiders or actually set up the experiment. However, with help from our professor and others we were able to collect the materials we needed and have a space to actually perform our tests. We set up coolers in the BCRC as well as heat lamps over the thanksgiving break. Unfortunately I was not able to help as much as I liked to during the experimental phase due to thanksgiving and other obligations. It was very difficult for me to understand the statistics involved in analyzing our results and data. Luckily our professor once again saved the day and did his best to explain how everything worked. Once we had our results and understood what they meant we began to create our poster. Learning how to make a poster was extraordinarily helpful. I had never done this before and I am sure I will need to make more in the future. I would have liked to be a bigger help in this process, and I did my best to help my fellow team members out with the little time I was allowed to. We went through several drafts of a poster and I made suggestions on what we could improve where necessary. I was fairly happy with our final poster, and I believe our presentation went well. It was interesting to see everyone elses experiments as well, especially when comparing ours to other groups that did similar experiments.
The proposal project was very daunting at first. I had never even thought about doing a task such as this before and I was unsure of where to start. It was difficult for me to think of a topic of study to propose, but once we found something interesting, I got rather excited about the project. There was a lot of research that had to be done in order to properly plan out the experiment of course, much more than I initially suspected. Almost the entire process was admittedly foreign to me, so this project gave me valuable experiments for my future. I never thought of how a study was published in a journal before, and this opened my eyes to that process. I will definitely look back to this project as guidance if I am ever to perform my own research and publish my work in a journal.
I felt much the same way about the perfect paragraph assignments as I did with the drafts. Of course this task seemed much more manageable than the latter as it was only required once a week. For this, the purpose was clear, we take the rough flow of consciousness of our drafts and refine it. This was to further help our writing skill in a way that was more than just practice, but to really think about the details of how our paragraphs were laid out. As I did more perfect paragraphs, I began to notice how I could improve my writing more and more. I noticed little details I may have omitted in previous drafts and improved the overall flow of my paragraphs. I feel as if a little more direction and input into how well my paragraphs were written would have been useful, but regardless I feel as if my writing skills have improved. In the future I will continue to write in this method, especially given my difficulty beginning to write. I will attempt to lay out all the information in a relatively organized way, followed by a refining process where I improve it bit by bit. Just as we did with the perfect paragraph and draft assignments.
I was initially a little apprehensive about writing 6 drafts each week. I understood the purpose of this assignment, to give the students practice writing for the life sciences and help us organize said writing. This seemed like a lot of work though and I was concerned I would not be able to find topics to write about. I also often have difficulty beginning a report, rather than actually finishing it, and so I was concerned I would not know where to start with these drafts. However, as the semester went on I began summarize my notes in draft form. I believe this helped me organize my thoughts better and therefore understand the material better as well. This gave me a lot of practice writing, even if it was not necessarily for any particular report, and I began more comfortable in my writing skill.
The tetraodontiformes inclueds the puffer fish and its allies. These are commonly called T-Forms. The fish in this order have an intersting dentition in which the maxilla and premaxilla are fused together. They generally graze on reefs and are slow moving fishes. They may even use their large pectoral fins to grab onto the reef and move in fine scale movements. Many of these fish have modified scales erect as the fish inflates with water and act as a defensive mechanism to protect against being preyed upon. The fish may fully inflate in as quick as 4.5 seconds. T-form fishes have a very short vertebral column which makes them completely inflexible. The only movement that occurs is at their tail. Many of these fish have powerful toxins which also protect from being eaten. The T-Forms incldes 2 groups, the puffer fish and trigger fish. However, sometimes the boxfish is also included.
Sarcopterygians are one of the two classes of osteichthyes (the other being actinopterygians). This group includes all lobed fined fishes and may be divided into the dipnoi and actinistia. There are four characteristics which unite all sarcopterygians. These fish have monobasic paired fins, in which a singular bone articulates the connection to the fishes body. These fins also have a muscular base. Furthermore the teeth of a Sarcopterygians are covered in enamel. The sclerotic ring around the eye of a sarcopterygians is also comprised of at least 4 bones. Interestingly these features can all be found in humans as well. Technically we can be defined as a boney lobe finned fish. The only exception to this is that the sclerotic ring being comprised of 4 or more bones is often reduced or completely absent in mammals.
The family Sphyraenidae contains the barracudas. This family contains only 1 genus and 29 species. Originally barracudas were considering to be in the genus of esox, though it is now in sphyarena. Small barracuda tend to congregate in schools, however when they become large enough the become solitary fishes. Generally these fish get up to 1.5m in length. Barracudas are specialized to be fast start, rather than distance swimmers. Thus, their fins are located more caudally than rostralling. Ciguatera posioning tends to build up in their tissues, and when eaten it may cause the indavudal to become sick. This is passed from microorgansims which small fish eat, and then the barracuda will eat the small fish. Over time bioaccumulation occurs and the posion builds in the barracudas tissue. One hypothesis about why the poison does not effect the fish, but effects a human that eats the fish is that, the posion itself is in a tissue not being broken down (ie: its muscles, unless under starvation conditions). However when eaten, this tissue is broken down, thus releasing the posion.
Amphiprioninae includes the clownfish. There are roughly 128 species of these fish. Clownfish are generally very colorful and many live as commensals to sea anemones. Usually anemones use their stining cells to sting whatever swims into them. Generally this occurs with small fish, which it proceeds to eat after making contact. There are several hypotheses as to why clownfish can safetly live in sea anemones. One idea is that the slime which covers the clownfish essentially makes it invisible to the anenome. Another assumes the anenome recognizes the clownfish's movements, and thus knowns it is not dangerous and will not sting it. Lastly, it is possible that the anenome gradually learns about the clownfish, as generally clownfish have a little harder of a time when young, so over time the anenome may learn to "accept" them. These hypotheses attribute somewhat human aspects to the organisms however. Regardless, the clownfish lives among the anenome and will clean a portion of the coral at its base, where it will lay its eggs. The after hatching, the young float up into the water column and will eventually find a new anenome to call its home.
Sarcoptyrigians includes all lobed finned fishes and is one of the two classes in which all boney fish are seperated into. Sarcopterygians can be further split into at least lineages: the dipnoi and the actinistia. There are several characteristics which unites all sarcoptyrigians. They have monobasic paired fins, that is, their fins only have one bone connecting the fins. Furthermore, these have muscular fin bases. Their teeth are covered in enamel. Lastly, all sarcoptyrigians have at least 4 bones comprising their sclerotic ring around the eye. Technically, we can even classify a human as a Sarcopterygian, despite it not being a "fish." This is because we, like the sarcopts, have lobed fins. Furthermore, we have enamel on our teeth. It should be noted that the 4+ rings around the sclerotic ring is often reduced or completely absent in mammals.