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PROJECT reflection perfect paragraph

Submitted by eehardy on Fri, 12/14/2018 - 00:35


In completing the assignment, “PROJECT,” I sharpened my skills in time management, team work, and scientific writing. Initially, I felt overwhelmed at the prospect of completing the research aspect as well as the write up, but that feeling dissipated soon after my teammates and I developed a solid plan. One reason that we felt particularly stressed in the beginning was because we realized that our recent assignment that we had completed, our “PROPOSAL” was insufficient. This meant that we had extra work to do on the “PROJECT,” since we could not extract much of our text directly from our flawed Proposal.  However, this extra demand prompted us to tap into our time management skills, which I think was a process of growth for all of us. We had to focus extra energy on planning, designating specific days to work on specific tasks, and setting ourselves mini-deadlines. We had to plan what were appropriate times to use the necessary equipment, like the high technology microscope, based on when it was available, and then leave ourselves sufficient time to do the write up. 

This project also drove us to further develop our teamwork and communication skills. We had to revise our initial teamwork strategy of splitting up the work and simply reviewing each others parts, to a strategy where all of us did each part separately, then combined them for the best end product. Sometimes I am quiet and do not voice all of my thoughts, but I think that I did a good job pointing out when something needs to be changed, and I think that I did a good job listening to my teammates as well. I also learned more about scientific writing. I read guides to writing the different subsections of the project in the book “Writing in the Biological Sciences.” I learned useful information about how the subsections should be structured, like for example how scientific introductions should have a funnel structure, starting with general background information and ending with the experimental approach. All of this hard work and learning payed off, because in the end we were all very satisfied with our poster. We were able to effectively measure the spider webs, complete the writeup, and create an aesthetically pleasing and informative poster. We were all very proud of our work, and I am proud of all that I have learned, as well.


Submitted by cdkelly on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 16:11

When I initially heard of the methods project at the beginning of the course, I thought that it was going to be a lot of work. And while I found this to be true, I also learned a number of valuable skills that I didn’t have prior. For instance, the construction of the figure using Inkscape. In the past I would construct all of my figures and graphical elements for reports in Microsoft Paint, but after finishing the methods project I felt much more comfortable using the more advanced Inkscape. In addition, the actual process of writing everything that I did explicitly made me appreciate how detailed a methods section needs to be. If you are expecting repeatability for your experiment, then it it imperative that you include all of the relevant details. This was demonstrated by having another student in the class attempt to recreate my figure based only on the methods that I wrote. In my case, my figure was recreated with few errors, but there still were some areas that could have used more clarity in my methods section. It was really neat to see what the other person came up with, as well as comparing my replicate to the original. Overall, this project taught me a great deal about methods writing and will most certainly help me with writing scientific papers down the road.

Tetraodontiformes - PP

Submitted by mtracy on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 14:43

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.


Submitted by cgualtieri on Wed, 12/12/2018 - 16:23

The results from this experiment were not fully in accordance with my expected results. The tubes containing glucose and sucrose turned yellow after incubation, and a bubble of CO2 gas was present in the Durham tube. These results were expected, and showed that S. cerevisiae was able to ferment these two sugars and produces CO2 gas in the process. However, the tube containing lactose was also yellow and contained a bubble in the Durham tube after incubation, which was not expected. This shows that S. cerevisiae is able to ferment lactose along with glucose and sucrose. I did not expect to see this result because lactose is not present in the natural environment of S. cerevisiae. This result could be explained by a gain-of-function mutation in the strain of S. cerevisiae used in this experiment. Another explanation could be that the pH sensitive dye used was too sensitive and turned yellow with only a very small change in the solutions pH.

reflection bio 551

Submitted by kruzzoli on Wed, 12/12/2018 - 15:28

As a first semester junior, Biology 551 was my first upper level course in my college career, prior to this course I only took mainly introductory level courses so this was one of the first challenges I had with taking this course. This class posed mainly challenges for me because it was also one of the first classes I took at UMass that was heavily based on teamwork and outside research projects. My previous two years were filled with lecture and exam style classes where I was not reliable for contributing to a group and most projects were small and individual. Animal communication improved my abilities to work with a group effectively and forced me to take a stronger hold on my education because I learned that I had to do a lot more outside class work in order to succeed in this class. This class improved my academic abilities, professional abilities, and sparked a stronger interest in the science of animal communication and the function of signals and interactions between animals within a species. It has also improved my abilities to think about how to carry out a research project in terms of thinking of a question and coming up with hypotheses and potential answers, and then developing a research method to effectively find an answer to the question.


The Giant kingfisher bat (Pteropus alcedinidus)

Submitted by jmalloldiaz on Tue, 12/11/2018 - 13:52

The Giant kingfisher bat (Pteropus alcedinidus) is a member of the Pteropodidae family, of the order Chiroptera (bats). Members of this family are commonly referred to as megabats or fruit bats, and are characterized by their relatively large size. Like most bats in the Pteropodidae family, the Giant kingfisher bat has lost the ability to echolocate, and relies instead on its sight for locating food. Its diet consists mainly of fish that live in the mangroves and coast of the Malay Archipelago, but usually supplements it with fruit during the weeks previous to the mating season.

Stem cells could be the key to treat autism PP

Submitted by yurigarcia on Mon, 12/10/2018 - 13:05

Stem cells could be the key to treat autism PP

Autism is not considered a disease but a condition that affects 1% of the world population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) that defines the Autistic spectrum disorders as a “group of conditions that is characterized by some degree of alteration of social behavior, communication and language. “ 

A recent study from Duke about Autism and the brain, who have administered stem cells to a group of children between 2 and 5 years old diagnosed with ASD and then evaluated with behavior related tests.  These cells used for this study were from the umbilical cord blood of children with ASD because the parents had opted to store preventively. This technique was done is that through intravenous, these cells are passed as if they were a serum and through the signals that send the neurons so it can generate a connection between them. This experimental treatment seeks to induce maturation, proliferation and formation of new neuron connections that allows the children’s brain to have a better change of developing. This will of course, will depend on the symptoms and the severity of the disorder. Hopefully by doing more clinical trials we can discover ways to improve treatment options. 


Perfect paragraph

Submitted by jkswanson on Sun, 12/09/2018 - 19:32

If the apple maggot flies preference for the apple is decreased so much that it has equal preference between the two trees, then the incipient species will begin to interbreed. This is because there is now no reason for them to not mate, the previous prezygotic barrier is now abolished. They are able to mate freely resulting with a viable offspring and no natural selectiuon against them. They will no longer remain separated, they will over time either grow into one species as they continue to interbreed, or another barrier will be formed through mutation or a behavoirial change and reinforced. This allows for the separtion back into the two trees they prefer.



Sarcopterygians - PP

Submitted by mtracy on Sat, 12/08/2018 - 19:32


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.


Submitted by cdkelly on Fri, 12/07/2018 - 13:21

Like eukaryotic DNA, prokaryotic DNA (plasmids) must segregate during replication. This idea is interesting because of the structural differences between eukaryotic DNA and plasmids. Plasmids are essentially circular pieces of DNA the attach at both ends. A plasmid is generally condensed, similar to how a rubber band twists up. The potential energy stored in the condensed plasmid configuration can be used to propagate certain interactions. Since our eukaryotic cells utilize microtubules in chromosomal segregation, I wonder how microtubules interact with plasmids; their structure is different, so I imagine their segregation is similarly different when compared to eukaryotic DNA.



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