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Submitted by amdicicco on Thu, 11/08/2018 - 10:49

Pond water organisms are very important in ponds and how they function. They are responsible for things such as nutrient cycling, water quality, disease control and other things like the nutrition of cultured species (Moriaty 2017). Species diversity in microorganisms and things such as protozoans and algae can vary between bodies of water even if they are in close proximity. We wanted to see which pond on the UMass Campus would have a higher diversity index of organisms. We ran a lab and looked at samples from both the Sylvan Pond and Campus Pond and used the Shannon Diversity index formula to figure out which had a higher and more even diversityThe Sylvan pond has murky water and is in a more wooded area than the Campus Pond. In addition, the Campus pond is maintained while the Sylvan pond is not. Before the experiment, we hypothesized that the Sylvan pond would be more diverse than the Campus Pond. After the experiment, we concluded that the Campus pond is actually more diverse than the Sylvan pond, but the Sylvan pond has higher richness. Our results tell us that the Campus pond is more robust, and therefore, better equipped for survival.

Comparative Power Curves Critique

Submitted by jmalloldiaz on Wed, 11/07/2018 - 11:18

Due to using intermediate flight speeds for calibration purposes, pectoralis power data for cockatiels and doves is overestimated at slow speeds and underestimated at fast speeds. A follow-up study could address this issue by using other calibration parameters that do not interfere with slow and fast speed data for pectoralis power. Apart from the pectoralis muscles, data from other relevant wing muscles was not recorded in this study, and the role of the tail in reducing power requirements at slow speeds was unaddressed. This could be easily solved by employing sonomicrometry and other techniques in the rest of the muscles involved with flight, and by analyzing the bird’s use of its tail when flying at slow speeds. Finally, the model struggled to accurately measure drag at faster speeds due to a gap in the knowledge of the components of total drag. This would require further studies in the aerodynamics of flight, perhaps by employing more advanced biophysics software or using new lab techniques that record the components of total drag.

Gadidae - PP

Submitted by mtracy on Sat, 11/03/2018 - 21:57


The family Gadidae contains fish such as the cod and haddock. There are 24 species of fish in this family. All of the Gadidae are marine dwelling fishes, with the exception of the Lota lota which lives in freshwater. This family is united by several characteristics. These fish have a single chin barble, three dorsal fins, two anal fins, and a diphycercal tail. Their pelvic fin is anterior to their pectoral fin, located along the same axis and close to their rostral end.

The Atlantic cod is a very notable species of Gadidae. These are a very R-Selected fish and females of about 5kg will lay 9 million eggs, though the amount will vary depending on the size of the fish. Cod are relatively long lived and live to be about 25 years of age. They are predators and will eat both other fish and invertebrates. Due to their low red muscle and high white muscle content, Cod are the perfect food fish. Their high presence in the north eastern united states have made them an economic staple. Unfortunately commercial fishing has diminished their populations drastically. Unfortunately global warming is making it more difficult for Cod to reproduce and further diminishing populations. Generally  Atlantic Cod only like to reproduce in waters colder than 12C, so even a tiny shift in temperature can have a drastic impact on their survival.

PP Week 9

Submitted by jnduggan on Fri, 11/02/2018 - 17:26

Our experiment studies cellar spider web weight and production in relation to the temperature of the spider's surrounding environment.  This experiment can be used as a microcosm for Earth to show the effects that climate change could have on the survival and location of cellar spiders. Globally, species are expected to shift locations in response to climate change.  When the region an organism resides in becomes too hot or too cold for the organism to thrive, the organism will move towards the poles or equator accordingly to adjust for the change in temperature. If the area becomes too hot to support that species, the members of the species will generally migrate gradually towards the poles in order to stay in an environment that suits their temperature needs.  If the area becomes too cold to support that species, the members of that species will gradually migrate to a warmer area, which is generally towards the equator. Most of the Earth is expected to warm over the next several decades, but there are some areas on Earth that are expected to get colder.



Submitted by fmillanaj on Fri, 11/02/2018 - 13:46

Protein is another macronutrient necessary to promote the health of the body. The body’s growth, repairing of cells,  and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs are all essential functions of the protein, therefore adequate amounts of protein in the diet is necessary to the optimal function of the body. My current food intake indicates a relatively steady amount of protein in my diet, at approximately 21 percent of the total calories I consume in one day. Overall, based on the two days of documenting my food intake, the main sources of protein are chicken, eggs, fish, and pork. The fish, unfortunately, was fried with batter, making a great source of protein that comes along with unnecessary amounts of fat, so in future meals I know to choose fish that’s steamed or cooked differently.The chicken is chicken breast and the pork was a lean piece of boneless pork chop, both relatively healthy options of protein, low in fat and sodium showing that the quality of the protein intake is quite well. Although those options of poultry and chicken are great, I could aim to expand my options and include beans, and nuts to obtain all the essential amino acids. Red meats, like beef, are excluded from being categorized as a healthy protein for it is much higher in saturated fats4. Harvard School of Public Health reported that the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease increased with increased consumptions of red meats, supported with evidence from a study that shows the risk of dying from cardiovascular increasing by 13 percent with every additional 3-ounce serving of red meat4.

Proposal Impact

Submitted by bthoole on Fri, 11/02/2018 - 12:03

This study will serve to identify a key aspect of the crab spider’s vision and whether or not the intensity of blue light affects the spider’s ability to match the color provided. It is known that the spider is able to change from yellow to white, but it is not known if it has a preference of those colors, or if it will change slightly if neither color is presented. The color yellow is seen by the eye as a reflection of white light with the absence of blue, meaning it did not  absorb the red and green light. We wondered if the spider’s ability to see yellow was based on the absence of blue light, and if so, how other colors that matched an absence of reflected light would affect the spider’s ability to change color. We do not expect a color change match, but are looking for variation in color change for different color environments.



Submitted by cwcasey on Fri, 11/02/2018 - 11:25

When defining our sample area, we chose areas of water that seemed to be as similar as possible. At the campus pond, we stood roughly one foot from the water, near an abundant source of vegetation including shrubbery and a tree. When we went to the Sylvan creek, we tried our best to find a location that matched the campus pond as best as possible. Eventually we found a spot that was surrounded by vegetation including shrubs, grasses, and trees, similar to those seen at the campus pond.  To collect our samples from the two locations, we used a plankton net. The net was tossed roughly three meters into the water and reeled in. This process was repeated three times in order to gather as large of a sample as possible. Once this process was complete, the contents collected in the container attached to the net was transferred to a falcon tube and brought back to the lab in order to observe them underneath a microscope.


Evolution question

Submitted by kruzzoli on Fri, 11/02/2018 - 10:28

Idealistically, a world free of congenital diseases would be a miraculous one, but the means needed to create such a world are far too severe to partake in. First, people have to decide what congenital diseases the world will be better without, and then comes the question of who is allowed or not allowed to reproduce. And does anyone have the right to restrict the ability of someone else’s reproductive success? In the past, the United States was home to a world of eugenics. According to the article on Eugenics, the American movement took place in the early 1900’s. In theory, the idea of selecting more desirable traits to rid of certain diseases sounds like a relatively good idea, until you take into consideration the means at which this would be accomplished. The eugenics movement involved many cases of involuntary sterilization and institutionalization. During this movement, we lacked the vast knowledge of genetics and genomes, so they believed certain qualities such as alcoholism, “criminality”, “feeblemindedness”, and epilepsy were traits that possessed a great genetic basis, which is not wholly the case. Also, if these were the traits thought to be undesired, which there are likely many good reasons one might not want to possess them, one can only imagine what type of traits might be considered undesirable now.

abstract PP

Submitted by cdkelly on Fri, 11/02/2018 - 09:17

We aim to observe the effect of temperature on the production of webs for cellar spiders. Across the three temperature groups of our experiment, we want to know how the difference in temperature will affect the size of spider webs. From this, we aim to deduce the ideal temperature for web production in cellar spiders. Previous research has demonstrated that at lower temperatures, spider web production is greatly reduced. In addition, our enclosure design is based on a previous method. We plan to acquire 9 cellar spiders of the same species and place them each in their own enclosure. We will weigh the enclosure with a laboratory-grade scale immediately after the spider is placed inside. Each enclosure will have small air holes at the top, and a slightly larger hole for depositing food without disturbing the spider. Groups of 3 spiders and their enclosures will be placed into one of the three possible styrofoam boxes corresponding to a specific temperature condition. One box will be kept at room temperature, another will be kept below room temperature with the assistance of ice, and the third will be kept above room temperature by a heat lamp. The ice will be changed periodically to ensure a constant temperature over the course of the experiment. Furthermore, fruit flies will be placed into each enclosure at a predetermined interval of twelve hours. The experiment will take place over five days time. The the end of the five days, each enclosure will be weighed again and the weights from the beginning and end will be compared. Our research concerns the effect of temperature on web production and can be related to the global shift in temperature. Global warming is altering the climate and resulting in temperatures that would be considered abnormal in the past. As a result, the behavior and localization of organisms will change. We plan to apply this to cellar spiders to observe how global temperature change will alter their behavior, specifically web production.


newtonian vs einstein gravity perfect paragraph

Submitted by eehardy on Fri, 11/02/2018 - 00:19

Before Einstein developed his theory of Gravity, Newtonian Gravity was the widely accepted theory. Newtonian gravity works out mathematically for most instances. 

Newtonian gravity states that the strength of gravity depends on the distance between two objects. Einstein found fault with this particular idea, since according to his theory of relativity, the distance between any two objects changes based on an observer’s reference frame. Thus, Einstein set force to develop a gravitational theory cohesive with his theory of special relativity. After years of work on “General Relativity,” Einstein concluded that gravity is the result of a curvature in a four-dimensional fabric that makes up our universe, which he termed “spacetime." Space and time are not the distinct and absolute qualities we perceive them to be, according to Einstein. Rather, “Three-Dimensional Space” and “Time” actually exist as a single continuum of four-dimensional “spacetime.” Mass curves this fabric of spacetime, similar to the way a heavy ball would pull down the center of a trampoline. If you were to roll a little ball on the trampoline with the heavy ball in the center, the little ball would be drawn toward the bigger ball would rotate around it in a circle. Normally, the little ball would follow a straight line, but the larger ball in the middle distorts the surface of the trampoline, and thus the path of other objects on it. This is analogous to gravity for us, but the earth replaces the big ball and the objects on and surrounding the earth replace the smaller ball. The earth warps spacetime and this causes the inward pull of gravity that we experience on earth. 


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