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Puerto Rico Observations - Mongoose

Submitted by kcapri on Sun, 03/26/2017 - 18:21

There are various mongoose in Puerto Rico. On my vacation, I observed one of them while hiking in the El Yunque rain forest, the only rainforest in the United States. The creature appeared furry, with a long body and a pointed nose. It was small, around two feet long or less.

 

 

Image 1. Photograph depicting a mongoose in the wild. Taken from http://www.livescience.com/52565-mongoose.html .

 

Mongoose live in burrows and create tunnel systems with their colonies, which are the groups that they live in. They are social creatures and usually live in colonies. They travel and fight as a team. Mongoose area tive during the day, and sleep at night. They are carnivores and were not native to Puerto Rico, but were introduced.

The type of mongoose in Puerto Rico are the Small Indian Mongoose, Herpestes auropunctatus. This species is great at fighting snakes and often eats poisonous ones, such as Cobras.

 

SOURCES:

Bradford A. Mongoose Facts. LiveScience. 2015 [accessed 2017 Mar 20]. http://www.livescience.com/52565-mongoose.html

 

Dog Breeds

Submitted by kcapri on Fri, 03/24/2017 - 15:07

There are over 300 different breeds of dogs. Many of them are very closely related because their genetic code is rather simple and can be easily adapted with drastic changes as a result. For example, type of hair or ears is controlled by only a single gene.

If there was only one breed of dog chosen to be saved, I believe it should be the Labrador retriever for a couple of reasons. For one, they are energetic and easily trained, which could be a great way to adapt them to different service dogs that we need in our society, such as dogs for the disable and also for the police force. Additionally, they have a large liter size, which can help replenish the dog population faster. Though, I wish I could save them all.

 

SOURCES:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2588177/The-family-tree-DOGS-From-tiny-chihuahuas-great-danes-infographic-reveals-single-breed-related.html#ixzz4cGsfV07k

 

Perfect Paragraph - Iguanas

Submitted by kcapri on Thu, 03/23/2017 - 20:30

Iguanas are very common animals in Puerto Rico. They are large lizards, around 6.5 feet long and can reach up to 11 pounds. They have long, intimadating claws with green bodies. They often are seen sunbathing on rocks and around the city, and even in places such as El Morro Fortress in Old San Juan. Since iguanas are ectotherms, they need to sunbath in order to obtain energy for their metabolic functions. Iguanas are mainly herbivores and these green, or common, iguanas feed mostly on fruit, flowers, and leaves. Their scientific name is Iguana iguana. Some defense mechanisms of this species are their strong jaws with extremely sharp teeth. These, as well as their sharp tails, help defend off predators. Additionally, if their tail is caught by a predator, they can detach their tail to make a get away. This does not harm the iguana because they will eventually grow another tail back. Another unique fact about iguanas is that they can live up to 20 years.

Observations of Lizards in Puerto Rico

Submitted by kcapri on Thu, 03/23/2017 - 19:51

Also on my trip to Puerto Rico, I observed several different species of lizards that I had never seen before. I learned a lot about them from this vacation. First, I saw many iguanas, which I had never seen before. They are large lizards, around 6.5 feet long and anywhere up to 11 pounds. They have long claws that seem very intimidating. They often are seen sunbathing on rocks and around the city even. My first experience with one was when touring the El Morro Fortress in Old San Juan. The giant lizard was very peaceful basking in the sun, then I looked around and noticed there were around six more throughout fort doing the same thing. Since iguanas are ectotherms, they need to sunbath in order to obtain energy for their metabolic functions.

 

Image 1. Photograph depicting an iguana laying in the grass. Taken from http://animals.mom.me/list-herbs-iguanas-8702.html.

 

Though at first I was intimidated by the creature, I was soon assured not to be frightened because iguanas are mainly herbivores and these green, or common, iguanas are used to people. They feed mostly on fruit, flowers, and leaves. Their scientific name is Iguana iguana.

 

Some defense mechanisms that these lizards have are their strong jaws with extremely sharp teeth. These, as well as their sharp tails, help defend off predators. Additionally, if caught by a predator by the tail, they can detach their tail to make a get away. This does not harm the iguana in the long-run because they will eventually grow another tail back. Another unique fact I learned about iguanas are that they can live up to 20 years.

 

SOURCES:

Green Iguanas. National Geographic. 2017 [accessed 2017 Mar 23]. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/green-iguana/

Observations of Birds in Puerto Rico

Submitted by kcapri on Thu, 03/23/2017 - 19:26

Over spring break, I visited Puerto Rico. During my vacation, I was able to observe a variety of different wildlife that I had never experienced before. First to mention, were these black birds that constantly were surrounding our house. They were not afraid of humans and were quite noisy. Their feathers were black and glossy, with yellow eyes. After further research, I found that they are named the Greater Antillean Grackle bird, Quiscalus niger. I found that it is common for this species to have a glossy black color and bright yellow eyes, as well as an usual keel-shaped tail. This species also nests in colonies on trees together, which is why it was common for me to see lots of them during my vacation outside my home, where several trees were. The birds eat from foraging on the ground for seeds, insects, and small lizards. It is also common for these birds to be bold, noisy, and unafraid of humans because they live in heavily populated habitats, for example the city of Carolina, Puerto Rico, where I stayed. They are not found in deep forests at all.

 

Image 1. Photograph depicting the Greater Antillean Grackle in its natural habitat, perched on a branch. Taken by Daniel Lane from http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p_spp=669516.

 

SOURCES:

Lane D. Greater Antillean Grackle (Quiscalus niger) - Neotropical Birds. Neotropical Birds. 2010 [accessed 2017 Mar 23]. http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p_spp=66951

Research Proposal Work

Submitted by kcapri on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 15:03

Group 1 - TGIF is interested in conducting an experiment that shows the effect of temperature on the growth of moss. The research paper we found is below. We chose this because we believe the methods is doable and in the methods it specifically states it is performed in a greenhouse. Additionally, with the few weeks we have left to perform it, we believe we have enough time to see results. We were not able to find many review papers on the paper who chose about peat moss and the effect of temperature on its growth, yet we will still work to find some.

 

Breeuwer A, Heijmans MPD, Robroek BJM, Berendse F. The effect of temperature on growth and competition between Sphagnum species. Oecologia [Internet]. 2008 . Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2311384/

Perfect Paragraph - Polar Bears

Submitted by kcapri on Thu, 03/09/2017 - 11:43

Polar bears' fur, specifically their guard hairs, prevent heat loss by absorbing heat in the form of infrared radiation. Its fur coat is composed of two layers. One layer is short, dense, and located right next to the skin, while the other is an outer layer that is the longer, coarse guard hairs. These outer guard hairs are transparent, yet the polar bear’s fur color appears white because the guard hairs scatter the sunlight. The key to the polar bear's warmth is the transparent guard hairs because they absorb infrared radiation. Because of this, their coat matches the temperature of the ice and snow in its environment and appear invisible in the infrared spectrum. Through this method, these bears are able to keep their body temperature 37 °C with an environment that can be as low as -40 °C.

Melanism in Animals

Submitted by kcapri on Wed, 03/08/2017 - 15:37

Many people know what albinism is. They’ve either seen a human or animal with the albinistic genes. Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin, a pigment found in the skin, hair, and eyes. Its appearance is a lack of color, and appears white, except with eyes, that seem red.

Image 1. Photograph of an albino alligator. Taken from http://xovictoryxo.blogspot.com/2012/04/albinism.html.

 

Yet, not many people know about melanism. Melanistic coat coloration is a polymorphism that is especially present in the felidae family or cat family. What happens in an organism with melanistic coats? Several genes are involved in pigmentation and when an organism is melanistic, they have increased development of melanin, the dark colored pigment. This creates all-black or all-dark organisms, which is the opposite of albinism. Animals that are melanistic include the jaguar, serval, adelie penguin, certain wolves, deers, squirrels, and chickens.

 

Image 2. Photograph of a chicken that is melanistic. Taken from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/129056345546721490/.

 

SOURCES:

Eizirik E, Yuhki N. Molecular Genetics and Evolution of Melanism in the Cat Family. Current Biology. 2003 Mar 4 [accessed 2017 Mar 7]. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982203001283

 

10 Incredible Melanistic (All Black) Animals. TwistedSifter. 2014 Mar 13 [accessed 2017 Mar 8]. http://twistedsifter.com/2012/02/10-incredible-melanistc-all-black-animals/

 

 

Polar Bear Physiology

Submitted by kcapri on Tue, 03/07/2017 - 11:29

In my comparative physiology class, we discussed the unique qualities of polar bear, specifically their fur and temperature regulation. Polar bears are animals that live in freezing climates in the Arctic Circle. It is common for animals that live in colder climates to have darker fur to absorb more sunlight and warmth. Sun light and its many wavelengths are all observed by black fur and converted into heat, so the animals becomes warmer. It’s so interesting that polar bears don’t have dark fur to increase their heat. White fur, or the color white in general, reflects all wavelengths of light and it is not converted into heat and the temperature doesn’t get as much. Why is this?

 

Image 1. Photograph depicting a polar bear walking in its natural habitat. Taken by Alan D. Wilson via ScienceScience website https://www.insidescience.org/news/new-research-reveals-how-polar-bears-stay-warm .

 

It is because polar bears fur, specifically their guard hairs, prevent heat loss by absorbing heat in the form of infrared radiation. Its fur coat is composed of two layers - one that is short and dense right next to the skin and then an outer layer that’s longer and has coarse guard hairs. These outer guard hairs are actually transparent, but the polar bear’s fur color looks white because the guard hairs scatter the sunlight. The key to the polar bears warmth are the transparent guard hairs because they absorb infrared radiation, because of this their coat matches the temperature of the ice and snow in its environment and appear invisible in the infrared spectrum. Through this method, these bears are able to keep their body temperature 37 °C with an environment that can be as low as -40 °C.

 

SOURCES:

Preciado JA, Rubinsky B, Otten D, Nelson B, Martin MC, Greif R. Radiative Properties of Polar Bear Hair. Advances in Bioengineering. 2002 [accessed 2017 Mar 2]. http://proceedings.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/proceeding.aspx?articleid=1583391

 

Ferguson C. New Research Reveals How Polar Bears Stay Warm. Inside Science. 2016 Jul 1 [accessed 2017 Mar 3]. https://www.insidescience.org/news/new-research-reveals-how-polar-bears-stay-warm

 

Results - Methods Project

Submitted by kcapri on Mon, 03/06/2017 - 17:42

RESULTS

The results of the methods experiment can be quantified through observations of the similarities and differences of the original figure (Figure 1) and its replicated one (Figure 2) from another student following the written methods. Some obvious similarities of the experiment and figures included the color, font, font size, and position of the labels in the lower left corner of each image in Figure 1 and Figure 2. Yet, though they labels were located in the same corners, the positions were not exactly identical because Figure 2 had its labels right on the edge of each image, and Figure 1 did not.

The order of the labelled images was similar in both Figure 1 and Figure 2 in a clockwise direction starting from the lower-left corner with Panel A. They both included Panel A in the lower left corner, Panel B above that in the left upper corner, Panel C beside that in the right upper corner, and below that Panel D in the lower right corner. Yet, it is important to note that the labels of Figure 1 and Figure 2 were not consistent with each image. In Figure 1, the image of the map is Panel C, while in Figure 2 the image of the map is Panel D.

Furthermore, in Figure 1 and 2, there were blank rectangles in the center of the figures that were the same size, yet not the same color. Figure 1 had a rectangle that was white and Figure 2 had a rectangle that was gray.

The differences in Panel A from Figure 1 and Figure include six important observations. Panel A in Figure 1 had some blank space in the upper right corner and the moss only took up half of the size of the image. In Panel A for Figure 2, the moss took up the whole image. Additionally, the labels in Panel A were different in each figure. Figure 1 had labels of “Sporophyte” and “Gametophyte” in red font, while Figure 2 had them with a red background and black font. The font size as well as font type of the labels on Panel A were also different. Panel A in Figure 1 included a larger font size while Figure 2 include one smaller. Panel A in Figure 2 also included black arrows that were thicker and shorter, while Figure 1 had red arrows that were thinner and longer. The quality of Panel A in Figure 2 was also grainier, darker green and more saturation, and more out of focus than the other figure. Figure 2 also included white features on the left of Panel A, while Figure 1 did not.

Panel B from Figure 1 and 2 depicted the same plant, yet had a variety of differences. There are five brown stems located in the Panel B Figure 2, while there are three in Figure 1.  Figure 1 also had a label of the plant that takes up more space and has larger lettering than Figure 2’s and is oritenteated different. Figure 2 features a white pot in the Panel B, while Figure 1 does not. Figure 1 also had lighter green moss featured in Panel B than the darker green in Figure 2 - varying saturations.

Panel C on Figure 1 had an image that is in grayscale - just of features that are white and gray. They also were 2-dimensional features of the location of the conservatory the moss was found. There was also a label of the “Durfee Conservatory” and pin drop in red of the location’s label. The street, Thatcher Road, was also featured in Panel C, Figure 1 to give context of the location. In order to compare maps, Panel C, Figure 1 and Panel D, Figure 2 were compared. Panel D on Figure 2 was three-dimensional and colored with greens. There were no labels on the map on Figure 2.

Panel C on Figure 2 was not a map of where the moss was, but was a setting image of what plants the Hare’s foot fern with the moss was located in the greenhouse. This matched up with Panel D on Figure 2. In order to compare setting photographs, Panel C on Figure 2 and Panel D on Figure 1 while be compared. Panel C, Figure 2 has is brighter in the lower-left corner than Panel D, Figure 1. Figure 2’s Panel C had features that were wider and more stretched out. Figure 2, Panel C was horizontal in contrast to Figure 1, Panel D that was vertical. Also, the white pot of the Hare’s Foot Fern was in the image setting of Panel C, Figure 2, yet was cut-off and not in Panel D, Figure 1.

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