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Evidence of Phytophagy Draft (1/6)

Submitted by kheredia on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:48

I transferred a few of my succulents from my room onto the porch so that they could gather nutrients from the sun outside. The sky was clear with no cloud coverage but to avoid sunburn I had them partially hidden from the sun’s rays. Approximately 30 minutes later I returned outside to find a large grasshopper on top of one of the cacti, eating away at it. It had a very stable balance, because the length of this insect was nearly identical to the length of the cactus it was holding onto. 

I took a few pictures and a video to capture the event taking place so that I could store it in a visual form. The grasshopper did not feel in danger or threatened by my presence judging by how close I was in proximity to it. I left it alone and plan to return today after class to view  evidence of phytophagy from this grasshopper. 

Though this event did not occur on campus it is unlikely that an identical situation will be replicated at the university without the necessary circumstances. The fact that grasshoppers are common in my backyard is a factor that increases the likelihood of viewing more examples of phytophagy at home where I spend the majority of my time. 


A Day In The Life

Submitted by kheredia on Sat, 09/14/2019 - 13:36

What I Did At Home

  • Woke up
  • Washed face
  • Brushed teeth
  • Made breakfast and coffee
  • Got dressed
  • Prepared backpack for class
  • Homework
  • Lunch and Dinner
  • Sleep

What I Did On Campus

  • Went to class
  • Went to office hours


  • Bus to get to and from campus
  • Car for miscellaneous activities
  • Walking to the bus/classes

Errands / Extras

  • Went to USPS to drop off a package
  • Went to Aldi for groceries 
  • Went to a friend's house
  • Played some video games


My activities are broken up into four simple categories which made up my day: being at home, on campus, my transportation, and free time. In the morning, I woke up and turned off my alarm. After making my bed and checking the bus schedule, I proceed to the bathroom and start my routine by washing my face and brushing my teeth. I had time to prepare breakfast before leaving to the bus stop, so I made eggs and packed a granola bar into my backpack for a snack later on. Following this, I get dressed, put my planner and notebooks into my bag and grab my keys before heading out. Once outside, I walked for six minutes to reach the bus stop and waited for the bus. When the bus finally arrived on campus, I spent the rest of the afternoon going to and from classes. Today in particular, I had to stay on campus longer to meet up with a professor. After this, I took the bus back home and immediately had lunch and did some errands with my roommates. We went to usps to drop off a package, and then drove to Aldi to grocery shop for the apartment. When the errands were completed, I had some time to visit a friend and play a few games. When I came back home, I took a short nap before dinner and then started homework for the night. Later on I finished my work, and began my night routine for washing my face. Following this I brushed my teeth and changed into pajamas. I scrolled on my phone for about an hour once I returned to my room, and then finally went to sleep. 

Pumpkin (Draft 6/6)

Submitted by kheredia on Fri, 09/13/2019 - 12:01

Fortunately, there are quite a few specimens around the apartment to observe. As mentioned in the previous draft, there are cows in the distance, several species of insects, and a neighborhood horse. One that was failed to mention is the household rabbit, Pumpkin. The name is derrived from her orange-brown fur coat. She is standard sized in terms of height and general characteristics, though there is one clear distinction that separates her from the norm: She is well overfed and weighs more than the typical rabbit. However, her rotund appearance could be exaggerated from the combination of a well-balanced diet and a change in her coat.  Her fur may have begun to thicken as a response to the recent drop in temperature. 

In terms of behavior, she clearly demonstrates signs of conditioning. When placed on the hardwood floor to test her mobility, she does not move. In the apartment she was raised in, hardwood flooring was nonexistent. Therefore, she became only familiar with carpet. In this new apartment, she will only freely move about when carpet is nearby or underneath her paws. This behavior can be changed by increasing her exposure with hardwood floor and training her to become more habituated to the new scenario. 

Homeostasis (draft 5/6)

Submitted by kheredia on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 23:53

The body is constantly working to maintain a stable internal environment. This is more commonly known as homeostasis. When an imbalance occurs, a negative feedback loop is initiated to bring levels back to their normal function. Within a negative feedback, there are 3 simplified components: a sensor, control center, and an effector which executes a change to bring the imbalance back to a normal state. For example: when candy is ingested in large quantities, blood glucose levels rise. In this case, pancreatic B cells are both the sensor and control center. First, they sense the change. Following this, they respond to the high glucose levels by changing the behavior in cells to release insulin stored inside vesicles through the bloodstream to the effectors: fat and skeletal muscle. The effectors contain an insulin receptor, so that when the insulin does arrive, it binds to this receptor and causes a shape change which then triggers a reaction. Glucose transporters are signaled to be inserted into the plasma membrane of the cell and carry glucose via facilitated diffusion back into the cell to be stored. Thus, the result is blood glucose levels falling by leaving the blood and homeostasis is restored. 

Fake vs. Real (4/6)

Submitted by kheredia on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 20:46

What is it that distinguishes an artificial plant from genuine? An obvious but time consuming method is to observe the plant throughout the changing seasons, and if it does change color based on the weather, that only confirms that the plant is fake. Another way is to neglect it completely. By abandoning the plant, it must decompose. If it does not rot, then it would be correct to say that the plant is not real. What about more direct and quick approaches? Using any of the five senses can quickly determine whether the plant is real or fake. Smelling is more ambiguous, as not all plants give off a notable scent. Sight can be debated, because many replicas of plants are almost identical to the original. This may even deceive insects enough to settle on top of a fake plant. Thus, using insects as a measure for genuinity is not reliable. Touching or taste, however, are more accurate ways to measure the difference between fake and real. Touching is an immediate confirmation, because artificial plants have a fabric-like feel and are very resilient to bending: They can be bent without breaking. Real plants are not as sturdy. They can be torn easily and leaves are fragile. Genuine plants also have an earthy taste, wheras the taste of a replica may be absent or taste like cloth. In summation, there are various ways to test a plant's authenticity, though some bear quick results and are more valid than others. 

Cody Draft 3/6

Submitted by kheredia on Tue, 09/10/2019 - 11:15

Living near farmland can be beneficial as there are several opportunities to observe wildlife in my apartment's backyard. Today in particular I took a close look at the neighborhood horse, Cody. From viewing distance, he reaches six and a half feet tall and looks to be very well fed. Cody's coat is a burnt orange while his mane and tail is more of a blonde. His most notable characteristic is his large hooves. They are easily the size of a human face and have a tough exterior. Usually, his owners braid both his mane and tail, but today that feature was absent in the horse's appearance. Cody almost always allows strangers to get close to him, which is a sign of comfortable exposure to humans as well as confirmation that he is well taken care of. He frequently is let out during the evening to graze for at least an hours worth, and only sometimes is he out and about beforehand. Other than the few random periods where he is out in the mornings or afternoons, his schedule is mostly consistent. 

Aloe Vera Draft 2/6

Submitted by kheredia on Sat, 09/07/2019 - 12:17

Descriptive factors:

spikes, spots, wet, big branches, small home environment, dry soil, not enough soil for the plant to survive, aloe vera pups, some brown spots 

Outside, the aloe vera plant in front of me stands approximately 11 inches high. The plant was store bought, and was in good health when first purchased. Today, two weeks later, the aloe vera is observed for progress. It has a thick exterior resistant to stronger winds. The spikes that peek out on both sides of the succulent are not as sharp as they look. On the flat surface of each branch, there are light green spots that give the plant its vibrant look. Each branch meets at the center of the pot, and closer observation by touch reveals the dry soil surrounding it. Though the plant is large, the pot it resides in is small. One could make the assumption that the aloe vera is living in a cramped environment with little room to breathe. The conditions are not optimal for the succulent, which explains why the plant is beginning to show the first stages of decay. The damage is minimal, but I hypothesize within the next few weeks the decomposed areas will spread. However, at the center of the plant, it is glossy and wet: a sign of self lubrication and health. When lightly pressing on the branches, one could feel the gelatinous liquid inside. In addition, the succulent does not give off any notable scent. 

Leaf observation revised

Submitted by kheredia on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 15:24

In class, a green, unidentified compound leaf was given to each participant. With 3 rounded leaflets in total, two protuded in opposite directions, and the third sat vertically in the same direction as the red stem that connected them. All three were small and asymmetrical, with wavy margins and felt mostly smooth. Looking closely at the flat surface, one would notice the yellow veins and scaly etchings that coursed throughout the leaflets. Despite the beauty, there were some signs of decay marked by the brown spots and squiggles that ravaged the plant. Even with the imperfections, it seemingly did not hinder the plant's ability to produce a pleasant, earthy stench.

Leaf observation

Submitted by kheredia on Fri, 09/06/2019 - 15:08

Draft notes:

-leaf, bulbous, decaying, light green, 3 parts, ret tint on middle leaf, wavy, reddish stem, light reflective, earthy smell..distinct smell, yellow veins, scaly yet mostly smooth


This compound leaf has three leaflets that join at a red-tinted stem. Two are faced opposite to one another and the third sits atop on the same plane as the stem which connects them. The leaflets are bulbous and round with asymmetrical, wavy margins and yellow veins that course through them. A closer look reveals the faint scaly imprints that run across the flat and smooth surface of the top of each leaflet. Though the color of this plant is green, there are some signs of decay. This is shown by some small brown spots and squiggles. Arguably, the most notable characteristic of this leaf is the distinct and earthy smell it gives off.


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