Submitted by mlabib on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 13:31

Today I would like to wrtie about the fruit fly and their reproduction cycle. The Drosophilia melanogaster is an organism that is found in the Arthropoda phylum and widely known in our everyday lives. Fruit flies are very resilient organisms because they do not require much time or effort to breed, which explains as to why they are commonly used in our everyday labs. Additionally, due to their quick lifespan and speed of development, they are surprisingly useful organisms for certain types of research. These simple but complex animals have a complex life cycle, as it is comprised of four major life stages, egg, larvae, pupae and adult. This life cycle from egg to and adult can run for about a week. Twenty-four hours after a female fruit fly lays her eggs, larvae hatch. Fruit fly larvae undergo molting stages known as instars, during which the head, mouth, cuticle, spiracles and hooks are shed. During the larva’s third instar, it crawls to a drier area to pupate. The pupa case is formed from the larval skin as it darkens and develops a hard surface. Fruit fly adults develop in the pupal stage. Adults are about 1/8 inch long and usually have red eyes. The reproductive potential of Drosophiliais about is 500 eggs.

Public Sector Research

Submitted by semans on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:58

A recent study by The New England Journal of Medicine has shown that public research institutes have had increased contribution to drug discovery. Since the dawn of biotechnology, it has generally been the case that public research institutions perform the basic research necessary to understand disease mechanisms while corporate research has been focused on developing drugs to treat diseases. However, after two acts passed in the mid 1980s, federally funded institutions and laboratories were granted the possibility to both freely publish their inventions in the scientific literature and convert them into intellectual property for commercialization. With a decade of delay, this change was reflected in the percentage of FDA approved drugs originating in the public sector. Between 1981 and 1999, only 7.6% of the FDA approved biological molecules came from non-industry sources. Whereas, between 1998 and 2007, 24.1% of the FDA approved biological molecules came from public research institutions. Lastly, the study suggests that public sector research aims to discover drugs that are expected to have a large clinical impact.

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. 


Synaptic Plasticity Draft

Submitted by zalam on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:06

Synaptic plasticity is something that always seemed very interesting to me. Even after birth, your brain is capable of changing it's connections and wiring. It best described by Santiago Cajal's words on long-term potentiation: "Neurons that wire together, fire together". The concept of long-term potentiation involves three stages: input, induction and expression. During the input period, the presynaptic neuron fires a single action potential. This causes a small post-synaptic potential. During induction, multiple action potentials are fired repeatedly along the presynaptic potential, leaving very little time for the postsynaptic neuron to fire a small action potential and then die down. As a result, the postsynaptic potentials keep bulidng up and reach a threshhold where the neuron is depolarized, leading to an action potential to be fired. This event of accumulation of potentials over a brief period of time is called temporal summation. Finally in the last stage, we see that a single action potential, like the one in the first stage, is able to cause a full action potential called the excitatory postsynaptic potential. This is essentially how we learn. If we keep introducing the same stimulus over and over again, the wiring in our brain adjusts to fire a strong action potential and so we can learn events. However, our brain does have a capacity for how much we can learn. The neurons can get too saturated with new wirings if there is no way to reverse this process. Thus certain wirings start getting weaker by time and this is called long term depression. This would be another way of saying that we are slowly forgetting what we had learned. 

Draft #8

Submitted by ashorey on Sun, 09/15/2019 - 20:37

Assisted suicide. This is widely debated and I have even written a paper discussing the pros and cons and the politics and reality of assisted suicide in medicine. There are only 10 states that explicitly allow physician assisted suicide. I think that number should be 50. Picture this: you are 35 years old, have a teenage son that you raised alone and through hardship, and the bond you have with him is a life-and-purpose-defining bond. You finally just met the love of your life and got married a year ago. You've always wanted to work as a high ranking nurse in medicine, but the pay wall and lack of a degree held you back until 7 years ago when you made the move to get your PhD in nursing. This month you are going to defend your dissertation and graduate. You'll have the work and career you always wanted and the family you always wanted and life will be PERFECT. Then you have a seizure. You don't know why it happened, and it scares you. You recover. Then a month later, another one happens. You black out and wake up in an emergency room. A day in the hospital later, and you know why you have seizures: glioblastoma, or in other terms, the most deadly brain cancer. The next year of your life now looks very different from how you pictured it. Hospital visits, bills and costs, trials and placebos, etc. Eventually, you know there is just no hope, you're given a month to live and all your effort is just in elongating dying. The cancer starts to impact your speech, your motor control, your bladder control. Everything is deteriorating and you are wondering if you're even still you anymore. Why should it be in the hands of a vote in a court room hundreds of miles away to decide the you must suffer to the end as your family, your cherished son who has always loved you, watches you fade into a hospital bed unable to talk, walk, communicate, or even understand whats going on for the last week of your life? Instead, gracefully and debilberately ending the pain, suffering, and torture that bares down on you as you begin to question, am I even percieving the world as it is or is the cancer making me see that, is a more humane way to be in control of your life and experiences in living. Why should a jury decide that for you?


Submitted by mlabib on Sun, 09/15/2019 - 19:06

The Monito Del Monte ( Dromiciops gliroides), is an endangered is a marsupial native only to southwestern South America. The geographic range of this species is what can help them obtain their optimal ecological success. This means, which range can maximize their reproduction, survival (food, resources) and habitat (prey, niche, etc). In 2001, the marsupial had a population size of 4000. In the beginning of this research study, this species was at its lowest peak of population size. In 16 years, this number almost doubled. I would assume that the species may have been initially under stress when it had first occupied the southwestern part of Argentina/Chile, but with genetic variation and natural selection, this species properly adapted, and is successfully functioning in the new environment. 

Part of ecology assignment

Submitted by mpetracchi on Sun, 09/15/2019 - 15:08

The ‘monito del monte’ (Dromiciops gliroides) will need to shift its range to cooler climates, given a change in its regional climate. Organisms live in climates which precisely fit their ecological needs, whether it be for sunlight, elevation, precipitation, etc. For this reason when climates change the organism must adapt by moving away to a new area with a climate similar to the previous one. According to the given research, ‘Monito del monte’ (Dromiciops gliroides) lives in the southern region of Chile near the Andes mountains in neighboring forests. If temperatures rose enough that D. gliroides would be forced to move it has 2 options. 

First is to move south. In the southern hemisphere the equator will become warmer and every latitude following, towards the south pole, will see an increase of average temperature. As a quick example of one may expect to see, if a species lives at given latitude A in the southern hemisphere at 17 °C and overtime the average recorded temperature rises to 20 °C the species will be forced to move south to latitude B where the previous average was 14 °C, but shifted to 17 °C. Unfortunately, a large species migration may not always be possible and what could occur is the species living far north will simply die out while the same species in the south begin to thrive. Also a few degree change may not seem significant, but it could ruin the survival rates for many primary produces which rely on temperature. A large increase in plant deaths would offset the food sources for primary consumers and then the entire community.  


Plant Location

Submitted by rmmcdonald on Sun, 09/15/2019 - 12:43

Enter the John W. Olver Design Building at UMass Amherst located at 551 N. Pleasant St.

Amherst, MA 01003-2901. Upon entering the front entrance use the wooden, exposed stairs on the left side of the first floor to reach the third floor. After reaching the third floor, walk straight until the hallway splits to left and right. Take that left and a rooftop garden should be visible through windows on your left. A few steps down the hall will be a door to access the garden. Once inside the rooftop patio, walk over to the left side of the patio and look between the two glass pyramid windows. There, approximately 10 inches from the edge of where the wood meets soil is the chosen plant.


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.  


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