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Journals Reflection PP

Submitted by maurabenson on Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:35

For this assignment, we wrote about three hours a week of scientific writing about biology. From these journal entries, we were assigned to take one paragraph a week and revise it to a “perfect paragraph” and comment on three other perfect paragraphs with suggestions or revisions. Before we started this project, I thought it was going to be difficult to make the time to write in small portions over the week in order to journal. However, once starting, I found it was easy to use things from other classes that you had to write as journal entries and also if you were running out of material, it was easy to find sources to talk about for a journal. As I did the journals, I found it easier to summarize scientific information in a clear and concise manner. I found it meaningful to read other people’s perfect paragraphs to not only learn new information about biology but also learning to edit other people’s writing. While even though in some cases I had thought I had done everything I could to perfect my paragraphs, there were always some suggestions. This taught me that there is always room for improvement even when you think that there is not. In the future, when I have large projects, I will try to write small sections of it and also revise it multiple times, knowing there is always a better way to write.

Reflection on Poster

Submitted by maurabenson on Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:19

The research project was done by choosing to do a proposal that was suggested and carrying out the methods and getting results. Those results were displayed by a poster using an advanced and reliable poster making software such as scribus. I have previously made a poster using google slides, and it was successful so I was hesitant to try another software that I hadn’t used yet. However, after learning how to use it in class, it wasn’t too complicated and doing the poster in class wasn’t that hard. It was nice to learn what parts of a scientific process were and how they get displayed in an image rather than a block of writing. I also learned how to analyze data and create charts in excel that correctly reflected the data. In the future, not only will I know how to create a poster in google slides, but I also will know how to create a poster in scribus, which is more reliable when printing to not have any formatting errors. The actual presenting and defending of our poster was a fun experience and ironically on the same day that I presented my poster for my independent study, which was also a good experience.

 

Reflection on Journal Entries

Submitted by maurabenson on Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:18

For this assignment, we needed to write about three hours a week of scientific writing about biology. From these journal entries, we were assigned to take one paragraph a week and revise it to a “perfect paragraph” and comment on three other people’s perfect paragraphs with suggestions or revisions. Before we started this project, I thought it was going to be very difficult to make the time to write in small portions over the week in order to journal. However, once starting, I found it was easy to use things from other classes that you had to write as journal entries and also if you were running out of material, it was easy to find sources to talk about for a journal. As I did each journal, I found it easier to summarize scientific information in a clear and concise manner. I found it meaningful to read other people’s perfect paragraphs to not only learn new information about biology but also learning to edit other people’s writing. While even though in some cases I had thought I had done everything I could to perfect my paragraphs, there were always some suggestions. This taught me that there is always room for improvement even when you think that there is not. In the future, when I have large projects, I will try to write small sections of it and also revise it multiple times, knowing there is always a better way to write.

 

Reflection on Proposal

Submitted by maurabenson on Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:18

In the research proposal, we were to create a potential methods for an experiment pertaining to moss in groups. I had never written a research proposal before, nor written a paper in a group so I was not sure how to do this. I thought that learning how to do a review of primary literature was useful because reading scientific papers that are peer reviewed is something that I will have to do in any scientific career. Creating a potential methods was a frustrating experience due to being steered in many directions, but putting in the work we eventually were able to come up with a cohesive plan and actually carry out our methods to test it. Writing a paper in a group is hard due to the voice changing frequently but learning to come together with others was an important skill. Our particular project took many twists and turns from the beginning of the assignment to the final product, but that is usually the case with writing and it is important to realize that. Having our group’s project picked for the class as the most persuasive was a good feeling of accomplishment, even though people were deterred from actually carrying out our methods. 

Sox9 Evolution PP

Submitted by maurabenson on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 23:56

 There is substantial evidence that Sox9 functions in the development of the male gonads in many species. Sox9 is mostly expressed in male gonads in the developmental stage of mouse fetuses, regulating the Mis gene which codes for production of the anti-mullerian hormone that stops the mullerian ducts from forming into the uterus and the fallopian tubes. Even in transgenic mice with two X chromosomes that were then engineered to induce the overexpression of Sox9, the mice still developed testes. However, in non-mammalian vertebrates, the Sox9 has a slightly different function. For example, in mice the Sox9 gene is expressed prior to the Mis gene, but in other species such as chicken, it is actually the opposite. This sugests that Sox9 is not essential to express Mis in chicken. Zebrafish also have two versions of the Sox9 gene where one version is expressed in the oocytes of the ovaries and the other is expressed in the sertoli cells in the testes. This does not happen in all other vertebrates.   Another difference is in the medaka, which are Japanese rice fish as well as vertebrates and they express the Sox9 in the oocytes but not in the gonads. They also have no Sox9 expression in their somatic cells but expression in their germ cells.

Sox9 Evolution

Submitted by maurabenson on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 23:49

The SOX9 gene is essential to the development of sex and skeletal development. It codes for a transcription that plays a part in multiple different pathways that contribute to formation of testes and cartilage. SRY (sex determining region on chromosome Y) works with Sox9 to begin development of the testes from the bipotential gonads, meaning they can either form ovaries or testes. It is also expressed with Coll2a1 which is a type 2 of collagen. Sox9 also contains the SRY-related HMG (high mobility group) box. Many species have a variation of this gene in their genomes, including mammals and birds. More specifically, the role of Sox9 in gonad differentiation is highly conserved in chicken, sea turtle and alligator, but can function differently in other vertebrates.

      There is substantial evidence that Sox9 functions to develop the male gonads. Sox9 is mostly expressed in male gonads in the developmental stage of mouse fetuses, regulating the Mis gene which codes for production of the anti-mullerian hormone that stops the mullerian ducts from forming into the uterus and the fallopian tubes. Even in transgenic mice with two X sex chromosomes was engineered to induce the overexpression of Sox9, the mice still developed testes. However, in non-mammalian vertebrates, the Sox9 has a slightly different function. For example, in mice the Sox9 gene is expressed prior to the Mis gene, but in other species such as chicken, it is actually the opposite. Zebrafish also have two versions of the Sox9 gene where one version is expressed in the oocytes of the ovaries and the other is expressed in the sertoli cells in the testes. This does not happen in all other vertebrates.   Another difference is in the medaka, which are Japanese rice fish as well as vertebrates and they express the Sox9 in the oocytes but not in the gonads. They also have no Sox9 expression in their somatic cells but expression in their germ cells.

      From this study and many others, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that while Sox9 plays a role in sexual determination in vertebrates, the mechanism for which this occurs can vary from species to species. This also would make sense due to the different types of sex determination, such as the XY system or ZZ/ZW for other species like chicken. Due to Sox9’s importance in skeletal formation, it also would make sense for the sequence  to be highly conserved in vertebrates in order to maintain proper bone (including spinal cord) formation. 

Poster Background

Submitted by maurabenson on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 23:47

 

Mosses are a multipurpose plant that provide services both ecologically and economically. Economically, mosses serve as fuel in some countries, as well as a landscaping tool. Ecologically, mosses help with insect shelter, absorbance of oil spills, and flood control(Rochefort). Unlike other plant species, mosses do not contain a vascular system, meaning they do not have vessels for conducting water. They are capable of uptaking water, through capillary action and absorbing it directly into their bodies (van Breemen). Mosses that live in a moist environment are  more susceptible to water absorption, therefore Sphagnum is expected to have the highest water capacity.

Sphagnum is a genus of moss that is adapted to wet and bog-like environments, and grows in large patches on a water’s surface (van Breemen). D. H. Boelter comments on the overall absorption of Sphagnum saying that the surface of the moss can absorb 95-100% water by volume at saturation. The leaf-like structures on the Sphagnum allow for high water absorbance in a small amount of time, making this experiment a valid way to test its absorbance capacity.    

    While Sphagnum has various environmental uses, Rochefort discusses the various functions Sphagnum can have in commercial materials. Through the last few decades it has been increasingly used as a buffer to fight flooding, a source of seeds after forest fires, a way to preserve artifacts, and a source for atmospheric regulation. These materials have positively affected aquatic areas especially during rainy seasons. With Sphagnum possessing the quality to be such a good absorbent, it poses the idea on whether it can be a better adsorbent material than other synthetic materials, such as sponges. Sponges could be potentially used as a synthetic material by humans to help in flood prevention in vulnerable environments.

This experiment was based off of the research of T.J.K Dilks who performed an experiment regarding the photosynthesis, respiration and water contents of bryophyte moss. In this experiment, the author took moss from outside a greenhouse to test the effects of water content on photosynthesis and respiration. In order to quantify how much water the bryophytes contained, they were all saturated and then dried to different water contents using an oven. Theses were verified with osmotic stress calculations using a Warburg apparatus. With this procedure in mind, methods were designed using the same principle, but an opposite approach.

D.W. Larson also had methods that are replicated in this experiment. This research analyzed the role of morphology in the wetting of lichens and mosses. Samples used were originally dried or contained 3-5% water weight, and time intervals were used to measure the absorbance of the lichen or moss. Some techniques were replicated for this experiment with both Sphagnum and other materials. Since Sphagnum is physiologically capable of absorbing high quantities of water, the research will be conducted in order to determine if it is the best material to control potential floods.

Poster Abstract

Submitted by maurabenson on Tue, 04/25/2017 - 23:46

This research tests samples of Sphagnum to determine which is the most favorable water absorbent in a controlled environment. Sphagnum is a multi purpose moss genus that is known for its high absorbance capacity. In recent years, Sphagnum has been developed to be used commercially as an absorbent board, which is turned into sanitary towels, and absorbents for oil spills and floods. Live and dead sphagnum were analyzed for their absorbance capacity. Materials were left in a controlled environment for a period of time and the absorbance was measured. The data was analyzed to conclude if live or dead Sphagnum was the most successful material for flood control.  

 

Brainstem PP

Submitted by maurabenson on Sun, 04/23/2017 - 18:42

The brain stem is an essential part of our central nervous sysem connecting the  cerebrum, cerebellum, and spinal cord. There are three different parts of the brainstem: the medulla, pons and the mid brain. The medulla regulates unconscious actions such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure. The midbrain deals with the auditory and visual processing and sends the information to the prospective cortexes. The pons is important in regualting the sleep wake cycle and arousal. Like the spinal cord, white matter is on the outside of the brainstem and gray matter is on the inside. The brainstem also contains long tracts which as long axons that all go together to the same place, including upper motor neurons and somatosensory tracts. Without the brainstem receiving important information and sending it to the correct portion of the brain, neccesary functions for life would nto be possible. 

The Brain Stem

Submitted by maurabenson on Sun, 04/23/2017 - 18:35

The brain stem is an essential part of our central nervous sysem connecting the  cerebrum, ccerebellum, and spinal cord as well as all the cranial nerves. There are three different parts of the brainstem: the medulla, pons and the mid brain. The medulla regulates unconscious actions such as breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure. The midbrain deals with the auditory and visual processing and sends the information to the prospective cortexes. Like the spinal cord, white matter is on the outside of the brainstem and gray matter is on the inside. The brainstem also contains long tracts which as long axons that all go together to the same place, including upper motor neurons and somatosensory tracts. 

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