Tortoise Care

Submitted by nskinner on Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:52

Owning a pet tortoise is a long-term commitment. Many species of tortoises live to be 50+ years in age including horsfields tortoises. The first thing you need for a horsefields tortoise is a habitat to live in. It should be at least the equivalent to a 40-gallon tank size. Tortoise boxes, which are wooden boxes with a mesh top designed for tortoise habitats are preferred. Glass tanks can be confusing to the tortoise since they like to burrow and may dig at the bottom or sides of a glass tank for hours not getting anywhere. This can lead to stressing the tortoise and stress can lead to bad health. The substrate in the habitat should be something the tortoise can dig into. It should not have too many rocks pebbles and sand should be avoided so the tortoise does not scratch up the bottom of its shell. Coconut fiber substrate works well because it soft but still good for digging and burrowing. It is holds in moisture better than sand substrate which is ideal for the humidity requirement of 50% that the tortoise needs. The coconut fiber substrate is also, in most cases, digestible in case the tortoise accidently ingests some while eating. Tortoises should have a bowl to eat out of so that they do not ingest their substrate. They should also have a water bowl that I big enough for them to walk into and submerge about half of their body in water. Water should be changed daily since tortoises often soak themselves and defecate or urinate in the water. The habitat should also have a hot side and a cool side. The hot side has a UVA heat lamp hovering over it and should keep the tank around 90 degrees on that side. The other side of the tank should have a UVB lamp and that side should stay around 70-80 degrees and should include a shelter that the tortoise can hide in. The UVB light is important for the tortoises health. It provides the UVB light needed for vitamin D and also helps them metabolize calcium. The tortoise should have a calcium supplement in their food twice weekly. The food requirements are 75% leafy greens (kale, carrot tops, parsley, mustard greens etc) and 25% commercial pellet diet. Most tortoises enjoy mixing up their greens so they get a variety of different greens. Iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce should be avoided because it is not as high in nutrient value as the darker greens such as kale. Fruits can be given as a snack but in small moderation because the sugar content is too high and can cause digestive issues. The tortoise should be offered fresh food daily. Food from the previous day should be cleaned out of the habitat daily and replaced with fresh food. Any stool should also be cleaned out daily. The substrate should be completely changed every 6 months or sooner depending on how good a job the daily cleaning is. The UVB light should also be changed every 6 months to ensure the quality of light is enough to keep the tortoise vitamin D requirements at optimal levels. Overall, tortoises are neat creatures that make lovely pets but do require daily work and most likely a lifetime commitment. Depending on the owners age, the owner may consider putting in their will who will take care of their tortoise after their passing since they live for so long. With the proper care, hopefully they do live a long 50+ years.  

comparing articles

Submitted by ziweiwang on Fri, 09/13/2019 - 01:30

Each section of the shorter article was structured in such a way that each section talked about a new idea on the topic. The different paragraphs also talked about different details that were disparate entities but come together into a single coherent idea. However, the structure of each individual section was not to necessarily have an introduction, main point, and conclusion, but to describe the idea of what the section is about in detail, using as much paragraph as necessary to communicate the information. The role of each section is to add to the previous section so as to help explore the questions that were introduced in the introduction and add to the conclusion that the author makes in the end. The role that first paragraph play is to add the important details that are presented in the title.

the ocular development in humans.

Submitted by ziweiwang on Fri, 09/13/2019 - 01:14

One of the interesting things about the human eye is that it adjusts during the growth of a person. If a person is looking at something close constantly, the person is liable to become myopic. It is the same for the opposite direction. Because of this, currently, the condition is a certain indicator of economic status and the professions of the people who have the condition. People who works at a desk and were university-educated are more likely to be myopic compared to people who are farmers and does not focus on a screen all day. The reason for this flexibility is not originally due to differences in the roles that differing sexes play in society or to allow humans to fit into different niches of society, much in the same way how our sleep schedule differ depending which allow for different roles in our social circles. Another reason that was proposed is that the plasticity of the eye is used for the opposite, that since sight is one of the most important senses for humans it is of absolute importance that everyone has similar eyesight. The plasticity of the eye can help with that by modifying the eye to be more or less the same. 

Because of this plasticity of the eye,  some doctors have suggested that children should get glasses that have a degree of correction that is slightly lower than it needs so that the eye can grow and compensate for myopia naturally. However, it is agreed by doctors that some correction for myopia should be taken.

AQ 9/12 Perfect Paragraph

Submitted by atquang on Fri, 09/13/2019 - 00:03

In the field of biology, understanding the field of genetics can unlock many great things for fields outside of science. An example can be understanding how DNA fingerprinting can be used to convict a criminal. These ideas are sometimes not well-received by the general public at first, but these small ideas can lead to something big. Mammalian cloning is a subject that allows us to dip our toes into what the rest of the world can do with cloning. Dolly the Sheep is the first mammal ever to be cloned. Now, we clone all sorts of animals for both experimental and sentimental reasons. By sentimental, I am referring to the cloning of pets. Modern cloning companies can clone pets after it has passed away. It probably brings up the question, what more can our modern scientists do? Human cloning is on the line, and it brings up a controversial idea of whether we should be doing so. According to NHGRI, no reliable scientific evidence has shown whether human embryos have been cloned.

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. 

Drosophila formation PP

Submitted by zalam on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 23:22

How does the body at an embryonic stage even know where to place all the organs in such perfect order? The drosophila's dorsoventral axis formation is a good model system to give us a general idea. At an early stage, the drosophila undergoes syncytial specification – in short, it is one cell full of nuclei in the same cytoplasm and they signal each other. Along the cytoplasm, there are genes creating proteins in different concentrations to establish different axes, including the dorsoventral axis. Gurken is a protein that starts off a signaling cascade that leads to the determination of the ventral identity. Dorsal protein controls the ventral identity of the embryo. Toll protein assists in transporting dorsal into the nucleus of the ventral side, where it acts a transcription factor to establish the identity. Another protein called cactus helps by preventing dorsal from entering and hence dorsalizing that end. To prove this theory, Roth et al had performed immunolocalization and Western blots to find location of the proteins in the wildtype, dorsalized and ventralized embryo. In short, it is the difference in concentrations of dorsal in the cytoplasm and the nucleus that creates the morphogenic gradient, which leads to the embryo to have a dorsoventral axis. In fact, the morphogenic gradient is a concept that can be seen in other settings too. For example, when our hands our forming, the the placement of our fingers from our thumb down to our little finger depends upon morphogenic gradient of a certain protein. 

protocol and procedure

Submitted by ziweiwang on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 23:10

I think that one of the most interesting things to me about being in the lab is how different it is being taught in classrooms. For example, there are many classes at the University of Massachusetts that teach about how to be in a lab and how to keep records.  The problem with all of this is that I have never really seen anyone who actually follows the protocol to the word. In the lab, especially in a high-pressure lab where there are so much pressure to publish, proper record keeping and following all the safety regulation can go out of the window, mainly because no one has the time to do that. Scientist's time is stretched into overwork as it is. No one wants to stay until 12 keeping records when they are already leaving the office at ten. scientists have actual lives to live, family to raise and bills to pay. I think that in this sense, the portrayal of scientists in the media is very much harming scientists. In the media, a scientist's career is their identity.  it is both what they do and what they are. Because of this, scientists, especially those in academia, is under pressure to overwork in order to achieve excellence. There is no time to achieve proper bookkeeping and safety precaution when putting out the results too late can mean the difference between funding and no funding. The fact that academics (postdocs) are not paid by the university means that they are under constant pressure to procure their own salary. 

so while I do think that it is absolutely important to have safety regulations,  I also think that it is absolutely understandable if those safety regulations are not met all of the time, because somethings just have to go in the name of efficiency and while the idea of trying to keep everyone safe is an honorable one, it is also absolutely impossible. resources are limited, and sometimes when the job needs to be done, something has to go, and it usually isn't the one where it pays everyone's bills.

Draft #7 Methods Introduction Draft

Submitted by ashorey on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 22:54

My initial ideas while developing my project are that I would like my phytophaging subject to be a caterpillar web in a tree where the caterpillars eat the leaves. I have witnesses this phenomenon many times at home, while driving on the highway staring out the window, and in the apple orchards in my grandparents' yard. The tree can be bright green but the very small caterpillars devour the leaves so that they turn brown and decay. Unfortunately, I have never seen this on campus and that means my subject may have to be different matter. I suppose I will first take pictures of trees/greens on campus that have evidence of phytophagy and then decide which to use for my figure. I will also research my specimen in the photos to ensure that I did in fact take images of eaten plant matter and not just some dead leaf. The format for the figure will include the first photo of phytophagy unlabeled on the far left upper corner and next to it with little spacing the distant photo with arrows highlighting the examples. Both photos will be squares and then the map will be oriented on the right upper corner and will be rectangular as to accomadate the shape of the UMass campus. The process of obtaining a guaranteed original map may be of issue, I might consider using illustrator to create my own image with reference photos of other similar maps of the campus. That way the map can include symbols or images of places of reference on campus and the photo of the phytophagy itself. 

Comparing Scientific Literature

Submitted by mpetracchi on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 22:43

The articles Smart behavior of true slime mold in a labyrinth and Monophagous leaf‐mining larvae of Stigmella (Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae) on birch: patterns and differentiation in exploitation of the host have many similarities and differences in their approach to writing a scientific article. 

Informative paragraphs in the introduction are similar. Both articles begin fairly broad and give basic information that leads the reader toward a more in-depth understanding of the subject and what the article is ultimately about. Each article approaches this task differently. The Smart behavior of true slime mold is written in colloquial terms and may be easier to read for someone who is not scientifically oriented. The use of the first person 'we' , and how a question was asked open-endedly 'What sort of behavior could be expected?' are examples. This style is not very common in scientific writing and not present in the Monophagous leaf‐mining article. The Monophagous leaf‐mining article uses passive voice and no first person. It stays focused on the facts. However, this is not to say that the final product of one or the other doesn't achieve what it set out to do. 

Both articles use a level 1 header and some text before the introduction in order to give background information on the study. Both articles have sub-sections and use level 2 headers for their sub-sections. In the Smart behavior of true slime mold article, the subsections give a basic description of what the section will be on, almost like a topic sentence. The Monophagous leaf‐mining article uses a scientific subsection style consisting of an introduction, methods, etc. Both achieve a similar premise of describing what the following section is about by different means. The subsections in Smart behavior of true slime mold usually begin with introductory sentences which give the reader a basic overview of what will be discussed, while the Monophagous leaf‐mining sections immediately introduce the content and skip the 'fluffy' introductory sentences. In both articles, the subsections are used to introduce the new content to continue the flow of the paper. They both follow logical schemes which lead the reader to a final conclusion.


Submitted by mlabib on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 22:28

My draft today is something I have always been curious about and would like to know more about. SSRI's, which stands for Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitor. I have been on these for almost a year yet I do not exactly know what they do inside our body. They ease depression by increasing levels of seratonin in the brain, which is usally what people taking this medication need. Seratonin helps you feel happy, and if you have too little of it, you will feel down. Since information is communicated between brain cells, there needs to be a connector, which is a neurotransmitter. Seratonin is a neurotransmitter. It has a neuron called seratonergic neuron. As seratonin releases, it gets released into the synapse. Then, it can either keep going through the post synaptic neuron, or get reuptaked. When enough seratonin goes through the post synaptic neuron, you can finally feel happy. However, if you are depressed, not enough seratonin will go through. So, SSRI's will travel through the pre synaptic neuron, and will block the seratonin from going back up. That leads to a buildup of seratonin in the synapse, and when the body detects it needs seratonin, there will be seratonin available in the synapse to go through the post synaptic neuron. This is a very interesting finding for me, as I never really discovered the true function of SSRI's. I believe this is the best kind of antidepression to prescribe to patients, as there is a guarantee that the seratonin will not go through the reuptake channels. This can be tricky though however, because the body will always want more, which is why individuals tend to increase their dosage after being on a certain dose for 4-8 weeks. They are also called selective as they work only with the seratonergic neuron, and not with other neurotransmitters. They do have side effects, but these side effects are not proven to be from the medication itself, and rather could be coming from the history of the patient.


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