draft saturday

Submitted by mlabib on Sat, 11/30/2019 - 13:13

In this article we find out that mice with a disrupted gut microbiota may be unable to shake off fearful memories – and that gut bacteria that is disrupted affects the memory and learning skills..David Artis at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York and his colleagues studied the effect antibiotics have on the way mice learn and respond to fearful situations. They made mice fearful of this specific sound, as it delivered a small shock to their paws, making them scared when they heard the tone. If the shock was not in the scenario, they can learn to forget the fear, but since there is the shock, it is rather traumatizing. When they had added an antibiotic that clears their gut bacteria and microbes, they were able to forget the fear, and not respond to the specific tone that caused them distress before the antibiotic. Researchers found that with disrupted gut bacteria, had different gene switches on. The ones without the gut bacteria, had lower levels of four compounds related to schizophrenia and autism. Thus, the conclusion of this experiment is that if your gut bacteria is healthy, you are more likely to have a lower risk of developing certain defects, such as fear, schizophrenia, and autism.  


Ant Intro/Methods

Submitted by ekirchner on Sat, 11/30/2019 - 12:53

The activity of P. occidentalis, harvester ants, has been shown to enrich soil nutrients around their mounds due to the ants’ movement of particles1. The rudimentary soil composition in certain areas has also influenced the density and variation of ant populations2. In our experiment, the effects of salinity on the harvester ants burrowing behaviors were tested. 

Hypothesis: The ants will burrow more in the sand where the salinity is lower.

Half of an ant farm was filled with regular, untouched sand, while the other half was filled with sand where the salinity was manipulated to be that of seawater (35 ppt). Eight ants were added to the farm and left to burrow for 6 days, while every few days their food and water were restocked. The burrowing results and general observations were recorded and the Mann-Whitney U test was used to analyze the results. 



Poster Methods

Submitted by ekirchner on Sat, 11/30/2019 - 12:28

Each group received 30 seeds of the same soybean species, totalling 6 species and 180 seeds total. One set of 10 seeds served as a control, 10 were nicked with a small needle, and 10 were manipulated so that the seed coat was completely removed.

We placed each set of seeds in a large petri dish with a wet paper towel. The dishes were labeled with the type of seed and the treatment that the set received. 

The seeds were covered and left to sit for 3 ½ consecutive days, and we checked them for germination at 8 am and 7 pm every day. Each group member re-added water to a paper towel if it had dried out. We recorded the amount of seeds in each dish that had no change, began germination, were germinating, and have stopped germinating at every check-in time. 





Submitted by ekirchner on Sat, 11/30/2019 - 12:06

The gravitational pull of the Moon influences our oceans' tides more than the Sun because it is much closer to the Earth. High tides are created by the moon pulling water up, and low tides are created by water moving away to satisfy those high tides. High and low tides occur almost twice per day, but not quite. This is due to the fact that one solar day is 24 hours, but a lunar day, the time it takes the Earth to reach the same position relative to the Moon, is about 24 hours and 50 minutes. The tides follow a lunar day schedule because the gravitational pull of the Moon is almost twice as strong as that of the Sun. 

The change between tides, also known as the flood tide and ebb tide, are gradual. This means that the line between the high and low tides is a gray area, so one cannot exactly predict the length of each. The speed of water flow varies during te flood and ebb eriods, and it also varies from place to place.


Submitted by ekirchner on Sat, 11/30/2019 - 11:49

Immunostaining is the use of antibody-based methods for detecting specific proteins within a cell. In electron microscopy, immunostaning can be especially useful because elctron microscopy uses very, very thin slices of samples, and proteins can be marked and identified under this method using heavy metal particles. While useful, staining in EM is very difficult, as membrane conservation and replicability is next to impossible. 

In general, immunohistochemistry is used to stain cells in identifying structures, either using fluorescent dyes or non-fluorescent methods like enzymes. Light microscopy can be used to view the effects of the staining, reducing the costs compared to EM. Like EM, replicability and fixation protocols are still being adjusted. 

Hummingbird genetic basics

Submitted by rbudnick on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 23:35

The trigger that tells the hummingbird how to build a nest is some genetically linked mechanism that has been filtered and passed down through the generations. This mechanism (behavior) has likely been perfected throughout these generations so that the hummingbird automatically knows- or senses- when the nest is correctly made. The four things that Darwin noticed are as follows: “every organism produces more seeds or offspring than will actually survive to adulthood”, “there is variation among these seeds or offspring”, “traits are passed down from one generation to the next”, and “in each generation the survivors succeed- that is, they survive- because they possess some advantage over the ones that don’t succeed, and because they survive, they will pass that advantage on to the next generation. Over time, therefore, the incidence of that trait will increase in the population.” While these traits are perfected and fixed, diversity still must be maintained When two unrelated parents combine genes through their gametes, an unlimited number of genetic combinations happens. Through this process, every offspring produced will have a different combination of these genes till the entire community is individually diverse. Fitness for whatever environment or situation and organism is in cannot be obtained if the best (most fit) genes do not get passed on to the next generation.


Submitted by damianszyk on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 19:24

The Namib Desert beetle from southwestern Africa harvests its water from fog. The beetle lets drops of fog accumulate on his body and drip down his wing case into his mouth. There are a few factors needed for the beetle to be able to catch these droplets on their body. If the surface of the body was lubricated, water droplets were less likely to stick. Texture of the body surface also plays a role in catching these droplets. With this knowledge researchers are trying to figure out ways to refill empty bottles with water from the air, just like these beetles do. First, researchers have to manipulate the properties the beetle has to be able to do this. With these materials, this would be how researchers would be able to design a water collection device that could catch water from the wind.

Significance PP

Submitted by kheredia on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 12:23

Ponds contribute more to biodiversity and ecological processes than any other small aquatic ecosystems. Research has shown that they house the most unique and rare species compared with all others in this category. This information has only recently become available, so further research into pond biodiversity is necessary. From the research that has already been conducted, scientists have suggested that ponds are havens for all plants and organisms involved due to the high biodiversity and well maintained ecosystem.

However, the research is still scarce. So without observing further, we risk losing the opportunity to study these oases of species diversity which are responsible for high levels of biodiversity: and therefore the knowledge and capability to conserve these environments. At the worst, we risk losing these ecosystems altogether. This loss could be detrimental to species diversity on both a local and global scale. With this in mind, it is our goal to determine the health of local pond ecosystems that have yet to be studied, and make suggestions on what kinds of foreign plants could be introduced in order to spread awareness and one day prevent potential catastrophic loss.

Concert report

Submitted by kheredia on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 12:17

Over the course of the last week, I had the opportunity to listen to 3 different pieces from different composers and players in class for the last assignment in the Music 100 course. Before the performances I assumed we’d be listening to similar styles that we heard during class from the composers we studied. However, I did not expect the songs to be nearly as unique or individualized as they turned out to be so it was a very interesting experience to say the least.
The first song the class heard was composed by Jazer Giles. It was titled, Piece for Live Electronics (2017). What stood out about this in particular was that there was no instrumentation involved. It was solely comprised by videos transcoded into music through complex algorithms. This varying frequencies were not pre recorded or rehearsed at all. I enjoyed the fact that there was chance for error because Giles explained that no two performances were the same. This was very innovative. In terms of parameters, the pitch slowly increased and was very monotone for the beginning. What I found interesting was that the pitch and duration reinforced each other to create a bubbling effect during the piece. The dynamics were mostly stable as there was not much variation in softness or loudness. I assumed the tonality would be minor if it did have a “tone.” Lastly, the mood of the piece resembled an outer space, dream like state.This effect was meant to be exciting but not jarring. The message was to get people asking questions about what was taking place within the composition of the music.
Next, was titled Unfolding, for Solo Saxophone (2017), by Victor Zheng. Right off the bat, the mood of the piece was clear. I felt an almost ominous feeling of walking through a mysterious dark forest while listening to the saxophone player. The pitch was all over the place, and unpredictable. There were moments of softness and jumps into louder part during the performance. Similarly to the other piece, the tempo was irregular. I would compare this to a recitative because it was difficult to follow or hum along to. As far as the instrumentation goes, this thin textural tune had a lot of repetition for effect and pauses in the song as well. Overall, this piece differed from the last greatly, even though they both were unique in their own ways.
Lastly, was a more traditional set up, or so I thought. Titled Wind Quartet by Dominick Mrakovich, was a lineup of woodwind instruments (flute, oboe, bassoon), and brass (french horn). I was ready to listen to a piece that was more like the ones we have heard in class. Again, the performance took me by storm quite literally when the players began the song by blowing air into the instruments to create a “wind” effect. This helped set the mood to yet another very unique piece. The theme of minor tonality and free meter like in the others, was in this performance as well. Many dissonances filled the song as the instruments clustered each others’ sounds in both call and response and in a thick texture. I was surprised to see something that looked so typical be so creative.
This was a great opportunity to be exposed to the infinite different styles, techniques, and shapes that music can take. I’ve never heard anything like the performances I saw this week, and was a very different experience than the concert I went to a few weeks prior for the report. This classroom premiere showed me how music does not always have to fall within a category. As a composer and as a player, you have the liberty to transform music into a way you see fit, so I was very surprised by the expressivity in these 3 pieces because it was much different from my expectation of what the premiere was going to be like. Nonetheless, it was different in a great way.. This premiere and the music class in general gave me the ability to explore, and I will definitely remember this in the years to come.

Significance of Biodiversity

Submitted by kheredia on Fri, 11/29/2019 - 12:14

Ponds contribute more to biodiversity and ecological processes than any other small aquatic ecosystems. Research has shown that they house the most species, the most unique species, and the most rare species of all small aquatic ecosystem types. This information has only recently become available, so there is a need for further research into pond biodiversity. Scientists have suggested from early research that these small aquatic ecosystems are havens for high biodiversity and ecosystem use.

Without further research into ponds, we risk losing the opportunity to study these oases of species diversity which are responsible for high levels of biodiversity. If we do not study these environments and how to conserve them, we risk losing these ecosystems altogether. This loss could be detrimental to species diversity on both a local and global scale. With this in mind, we aim to determine the health of local pond ecosystems that have yet to be studied and make suggestions on what kinds of foreign plants could be introduced in order to prevent catastrophic loss.


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