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Seaweed. (1hr writing session for missing a day)

Submitted by rbudnick on Sat, 09/21/2019 - 22:59

There are 7 types of popular edible seaweed: Wakame, Kombu, Nori, Dulse, Hijiki, Irish Moss, and Sea Lettuce. Seaweed is a part of the diets of many cultures which border the sea, and is especially popular in Japan. Seaweed has a salty, rich, and savory taste due both to the environment it grows in and amino acids called glutamates which greatly enhance its unique flavors. Often labeled as a super food, seaweed contains a wide variety of minerals (sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iodine, and iron to name a few) and important vitamins including A, C, E, and B12. Seaweed is not only a relatively easy and abundant food to grow, but one which will offer excellent nutritional benefits to those who consume it. 

From an agricultural perspective, the cultivation of edible seaweed is far more environmentally conscious than traditional farming and traditional foods. It can either be maintained and harvested from naturally occurring clusters, or grown in isolated areas specifically for cultivation. No deforestation and fertilization of land is needed to successfully grow seaweed crops. The plant itself is excellent at absorbing CO2, which has continued to build up in the ocean along with increasing acidity. Since seaweed absorbs so much carbon, it can also be used as a carbon donor to other environments which are very carbon poor. Seaweed also has great potential to be used as a biofuel and if brought into the energy industry could provide an extremely environmentally conscious alternative to traditional fuels. 

Currently, Asian-Pacific countries lead the world in agricultural seaweed production, with countries including Australia joining in on the process. If the coastal countries of the would invest in commercial seaweed production, the impact could be drastic. The problem is that not every culture has accepted seaweed into its diet. For most of the eastern world, seaweed is not considered a particularly valuable food source. If cultures and societies could accept seaweed, production would increase dramatically. 

Over the past few years, scientists and farmers alike have become more aware of the positive effect seaweed cultivation has on the environment. As the planet continues to change both on land and in the sea, it is important to do all we can as a species to try and reverse the damage we have caused. Agricultural production of seaweed is just one step in the process. 

Midterm Paper ideas pt 2

Submitted by rbudnick on Thu, 09/19/2019 - 21:35

I think I have decided to write my paper on using seaweed farming to help reduce a country's environmental impact. In the coming years, it is imperative that the amount of excess carbon in the atmosphere is reduced, which is where seaweed faming comes in. Seaweed farming is regenerative farming, which is so sustainable it actually helps inprove the area it's grown in. The seaweed can be grown on land or in the ocean, providing benefits to both and returning some of the carbon back into the plants and ecosystem. Not only will the farms be small and produce little waste, but it will also help local farmers and small businesses which already or plan on creating seaweed farms. Importantly, I've read that seaweed farming does not use fertilizer or pesticides, and of course no land will need to be cleared since it is grown in salt water. On top of that, seaweed and kelp help reduce ocean acidification which has been an increasing problem associated with worsening climate change. When you think about it, widespread seaweed farming will help a few of the world's biggest problems: climate change, economy, sustainablility, and world hunger. 

Midterm Paper ideas

Submitted by rbudnick on Wed, 09/18/2019 - 20:09

With midterm peaking the horizon, its time to consider the topic for a midterm paper for New England Flora. The prompt is to write a research paper about how climate change is affecting plants. You can choose any plant or type of plants from anywhere in the world. Because of this, I plan to choose something unique that peers might not think of immediately. Here, I will brainstorm some ideas over the course of the time leading up to when the paper is due. Initially I thought of the affect of global warming on plants of the far north, mainly trees and how their respiration is affected. During the winter, trees need to conserve as much water as possible as humidity is low. With global warming air temperatures rising steadily causing snow and ice to melti at an alarming rate. This would affect the amount of humidity in the air, therefor influencing how these tundra tree-line trees store water and even respirate. 

Another idea I had was to evaluate aquatic plants. Specifically oceanic plants. Here, I could look at this relationship in a more positive light. There have been many articles and papers published about seaweed and climate change, specifically how growing vast plots of seaweed can help fight climate change. Increasing and expanding the seaweed farming industry can be beneficial to reducing a country's greenhouse gas emmission. While I think the negatives associated with climate change are extremely important, and as a realist I was tempted to write about a negative, I want to give myself and other who read  my paper a bit of inspiration and hope about the future. 

Avicularia avicularia draft 1

Submitted by rbudnick on Sat, 09/14/2019 - 19:52

The focus of this analysis is a one year old Avicularia avicularia specimen (pink-toe tarantula). The arachnid is kept as part of a meager personal insect collection, consisting of mantids and arachnids. The specimen is male, and named Mr. Snuggles. When elongated, the leg span is about 3.4 inches. The tarantula is an unassuming black mass in the corner of the tank, rarely moving from the chosen location. The plain appearance is deceptive, as when the light hits it in the correct way parts of the insects legs shine with a blue-green irridescense. The notable features are the pink-salmon coloured toes which the species is named for, standing out against the black hairy form. On the underside, the hairs and exoskeleton around the fangs is the same pink-salmon colour. The fangs are small but intimidating around .5 mm in length and remain tucked against the body until the tarantula catches its prey.

When feeding, a cricket or superworm of decent size is dropped into the tank. The tarantula will slowly climb down to the substrate (it is an arboreal species and spends most of its time in the upper corners of the tank) and wait for the prey insect to move by upon which it pounces down on the prey, locking it in place with strong fangs. The spider finds a position with a good hold and slowly digests the insects insides and drinks them. The specimen is fed once a week as tarantulas are prone to overeating. 

Comparing Scientific Literature (late)

Submitted by rbudnick on Sat, 09/14/2019 - 19:36

For a broad comparison, the articles Monophagous leaf-mining larvae of Stigmella and Smart behavior of true slime mold in a labyrinth are similar in principle. They are both scientific articles designed to convey results and the hypothesis of research to the reader. Overall, Smart behavior of true slime mold in a labyrinthwas far less dense than the other article and used more colloquial speech which seems to make it easier to read and understand to someone not from a scientific background. Monophagous leaf-mining larvae of Stigmella on the other hand was a well fleshed out scientific article detailing the research and results. Both follow similar formats, where the beginnings of the paragraphs and subtitles act to both draw a reader in and provide a base amount of information on what the rest of the section will be detailing. Paragraphs were used to either begin a new idea on the topic or provide more detail for whatever was talked about in the previous paragraph. In this way, all information was thoroughly explained. The sections worked to create a smooth transition from idea to idea throughout the article. Both works had a level 1 header and used level 2 headers to again act as a guide for following the information given.  

Average Day

Submitted by rbudnick on Fri, 09/13/2019 - 15:26

The categories I created were: sleep, food, academics, and leisure.
I am not providing a list of all my daily activities.

The category I will be detailing is academics. This encompasses anything to do with school and my education.
This begins early in the morning when my alarm goes off, always set an hour and a half before my first class to give ample time to do anything else I need to do before class. It takes about 5 minutes to check over my email for information about the day’s classes and to check the class websites for announcements and check on assignments. Next, I head to class, between 10 and 1 depending on the day. Walking to class takes between 10 and 15 minutes depending on the class location. Class each day can take between 3 and 6 hours. This includes the 5-10 minute walks needed to get from each class to the next. Once class is over I head home, where I write a list of what homework needs to be done for the evening or for the next few days. I spend 60 to 120 minutes initially doing homework that needs to be done, usually that time is spent doing readings for the course. I continue doing homework for another 120 or more minutes after a short break, and if needed continue after dinner break. I will spend around 5 minutes before bed sending emails or asking questions to classmates or professors as needed. This has an upper estimate of 281 minutes a day spent on academics.

Aromatic Sumac PP

Submitted by rbudnick on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 15:23

The sprig I was given is about 73 mm in length from the end of the stem to the top of the longest leaf. There are three leaves on the sprig, one in the center, and two on each side of the stem in the same location. The one in the center is both wider and longer than the side leaves. The cutting seems relatively fresh, the leaves are still firm and not drooping. The cut or torn end of the stem is still green inside and produced a small amount of moisture when pressed against the paper. The stem itself appears slightly hairy and is a brownish-red colour which persists into the main leaf vein, turning to a whitish-yellow about half way up each leaf. The upperside of the leaves appear glossy and deep green resembling leather in appearence and texture. The undersides of the leaves are dark lime green and are noticably more matte than the topside of the leaves. Both sides show dense veins and can be penetrated by light.

The sprig has a noticable scent, likely coming from the leaves and not the stem, which is earthy and slightly spicy. The shine noticed on the top of the leaves could be an oil produced by the plant which also produces the scent. The top of the leaves are slightly oily to the touch supporting this idea. The leaves are oblong and obtuse shaped, with each leaf having 5-6 notches spread over the upper end of the leaf body. The leaf in the center of the leaflet is noticably more symmetrical than the two side leaves. Based on the small size of the leaves and orientation, I think it is a leaflet from a smaller plant like a young tree or a bush. 

There are abnormaities presented on two of the three leaves. The center leaf has a black/brown winding pattern on the left side,  which I had guessed was due to some boring insect  and turned out to be correct. It also has a protruding nodule close to the base of the leaf. The left leaf has these same abnormalities as well. The bore pattern on this leaf is far less large, but there are three nodules spread over the leaf body. The nodules are small, around the size of the head of a pin, their base is whitish green coming to a brownish-red point. The nodules protrude from both sides of the leaf but primarily from the topside. It looks like the nodules could be some type of other organism such as a fungus or the eggs of the insect that created the bore marks. However, the identical colouring of the stem and leaf to the nodules lead me to believe the plant produced them itself and they are not due to another organism. 

Aromatic Sumac

Submitted by rbudnick on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 15:14

The sprig I was given is about 73 mm in length from the end of the stem to the top of the longest leaf. There are three leaves on the sprig, one in the centre, and two on each side of the stem in the same location. The one in the centre is both wider and longer than the side leaves. The cutting seems relatively fresh, the leaves are still firm and not drooping. The cut or torn end of the stem is still green inside and produced a little moisture when pressed against the paper. The stem itself appears slightly hairy and is a brownish-red colour which persists into the main leaf vein, turning to a whitish-yellow about half way up each leaf. The upperside of the leaves appear glossy and deep green, resembling leather in appearence and texture. The undersides of the leaves are dark lime green and are noticably more matte than the topside of the leaves. 

The sprig has a noticable scent, likely coming from the leaves and not the stem, which is earthy and slightly spicy. The shine noticed on the top of the leaves could be an oil produced by the plant which also produces the scent. The top of the leaves are slightly oily to the touch supporting this idea. The leaves are oblong and obtuse shaped, with each leaf having 5-6 notches spread over the upper end of the leaf body. The leaf in the centre of the leaflet is noticably more symmetrical than the two side leaves. Based on the small size of the leaves and orientation, I think it is a leaflet from a smaller plant like a young tree or a bush. 

There are abnormaities presented on two of the three leaves. The centre leaf has a black/brown winding pattern on the left side,  which I had guessed was due to some boring insect  and turned out to be correct. It also has a protruding nodule close to the base of the leaf. The left leaf has these same abnormalities as well. The bore pattern on this leaf is far less large, but there are three nodules spread over the leaf body. The nodules are small, around the size of the head of a pin, their base is whitish green coming to a brownish-red point. The nodules protrude from both sides of the leaf but primarily from the topside. It looks like the nodules could be some type of other organism such as a fungus or the eggs of the insect that created the bore marks. However, the identical colouring of the stem and leaf to the nodules lead me to believe the plant produced them itself and they are not due to another organism. 

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