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My leaf PP

Submitted by kheredia on Fri, 09/20/2019 - 13:14

The leaf I chose to represent phytophagy on campus displayed more characteristics for evidence than others I examined. The exact location of this leaf was 1 foot away from a nearby tree across from Recreational center. I was intentionally searching for fallen leaves, as I predicted they would be easier for insects to eat without having to expend much energy climbing a tree.

The leaf exhibits a dark green color. I predicted the leaf had recently fallen, due to its stiff texture. On the leaf there are various sized holes. The smallest was only some millimeters long while the largest had been approximately 2/10ths of a centimeter. Around the holes are small bumps which are discolored. They are lighter in color than the lear’s entirety, with hints of brown. This does not look like a typical display of leaf decay, so it is highly likely that those areas are where phytophagy occurred. I kept the sample with me in the case it is needed in the future.

My leaf (5/6)

Submitted by kheredia on Thu, 09/19/2019 - 11:01

The leaf I finally chose to represent a phytophagy example on campus had a better display more than any of the other leaves I examined. The leaf itself was from a tree nearby. I was purposefully looking for fallen leaves, because I predicted they would be easier for land insects to eat without having to expend as much energy as it would have been if the leaf was still attached to the tree. The leaf itself is a vibrantly deep green color which I had guessed had recently fallen because the texture of it was just beginning to become stiff. On the leaf there are various sizes of holes with the smallest being some millimeters long and the largest being approximately 2/10ths of a centimeter. Around these holes are minuscule bumps. The bumps have noticeable discoloration. They are a faded light green with hints of brown. This does not look like a typical display of leaf decay, so it is highly likely that those areas are where the insects ate parts of the leaf. I kept the sample with me and plan to keep it in my bag in case I need to refer back to it in the future. 

Methods, factors to consider (4/6)

Submitted by kheredia on Thu, 09/19/2019 - 10:35

In order to find evidence of phytophagy on campus, I needed to research photos and skim a few articles so that I had enough knowledge to be able to distinguish a regular leaf from an eaten one. When I gathered enough research, I took photos of leaves around campus and compared them to ones on the internet that displayed phytophagy. By carefully comparing and contrasting, I began to eliminate the photos of the leaves that were questionable rather than clear. It was difficult because some leaves at first sight resembled photos I saw online, but they were more likely just decaying. Though there could have been evidence on those leaves, I was more interested in finding a leaf that would unarguably display phytophagy without other factors to consider. Due to the cold change in weather, there is an increasing amount of leaves dying, so I had to be very careful when determining whether a leaf had clear evidence or not. When I did determine a leaf was eaten, I would compare it to another leaf of the same species and measure the differences between the two just to be sure that the leaf I chose was a good example. 

Introduction (3/6)

Submitted by kheredia on Thu, 09/19/2019 - 10:24

There is a wide variety of trees, plants, and shrubs on campus that display evidence of photophagy on campus. Choosing where to go can be complicated, because there are many factors to consider. For example, students are walking around in large numbers throughout the day, whether it is on sidewalks or cutting across the lawns to make it to class. There is less of a chance to find clear evidence in areas where it is congested, because students tread over leaves and bushes that can get rid of the evidence and there will also be less bugs during the day time when there are people constantly walking over and killing them. Not to mention that being in a heavily populated area can be distracting and impede in the search for phytophagy. This is why I sought out an area on campus where considerably less students walk by and where nature is left more often untouched. I plan to search the courtyard of grass and trees in between the rec center, the Dickinson hall building and the George N. Parks Minuteman Marching Band Building. With more room to move due of the lack of people and by visiting during class time, I will have enough time to efficiently seek out various leaves on trees and those that have fallen for the evidence. 

Innate vs. Learned Draft 3/6

Submitted by kheredia on Wed, 09/18/2019 - 21:04

It is often difficult to distinguish the difference between a learned behavior or something that is innate. If it is instinctual, it is present from birth and likely has evolved in an organism to better help it survive in harsh or changing conditions. For example, the Clark Jay has the ability to bury over 30,000 nutcrackers regardless of the weather and be able to retrieve 90% of them within the span of months. Their spatial learning is not a behavior that was learned over time through experience but rather is behavior that has a genetic basis. 

Another example of this is depth perception. Though they are not born being able to perceive depth. humans eventually develop the pathways needed to obtain the ability of depth perception after the age of 5 months. Otherwise, they fail to distinguish how deep something such as a ledge could be. The only difference is that it takes a little bit of time. Nonetheless, it is not a learned behavior, but rather an innate feature of mind that develops post-birth.

One classic example of a learned behavior is conditioning. A famous example of this is Pavlov's experiment with dogs. Dogs do not know to salivate when they hear a bell, but if you present food as a stimulus paired with the ringing of a bell, the dog will eventually associate the ringing of the bell with food and will salivate even if the food is not present.

Physiological response to a Bee (draft 2/6)

Submitted by kheredia on Wed, 09/18/2019 - 14:46

A bee was found inside of my car while I was on the way to class. It reoriented its body to the driver’s side and landed on the steering wheel. This caused me to react in fear. An instantaneous physiological response occurred from the sympathetic branch of my autonomic nervous system. As a result my heart rate increased, adrenaline was released, the sweat glands on my hands were stimulated and my muscles began to contract at a rate in which my body began to shake. Action potentials were occurring at a higher frequency in order to prepare my body to escape from the stressful situation. In this state, my levels of blood calcium increased and the amygdala in my brain triggered activity in the hypothalamus. The stimulation in my hypothalamus sent signals to the pituitary gland to release the ACTH hormone into my blood. 

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. 


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