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Journal #22--Rough Draft Moss Methods Research Proposal

Submitted by skhall on Mon, 03/27/2017 - 14:51

 

     For the past couple of weeks me and my group have been looking for proper literature reviews for our research proposal pertaining to the species of Sphagnum Moss. We were having issues finding a methods that were similar to what we would like to do for the experimental procedure, but were having trouble. We were using key words such as moss, growth, absorbance, absorbance capacity and even lichen. At first it wasn’t successful, but after meeting with professor brewer we were able to narrow down some more search terms in order to find a methods that would work for us. Luckily we were able to find some articles and use them in the biblio and will be able to use these similar methods for our methods. 

 

       The next step for our research proposal was to figure out who we would conduct our methods. Because we were planning on using Sphagnum moss, we needed to find a place where we could get that sample. We figured getting the moss from an outside source because of the weather. Because UMass has other plant resources, we reached out to both the Durfee Conservatory staff and the Morrill Greenhouse staff to see if they had any Sphagnum moss they would be willing to donate for our project. Unfortunately, Durfee does not have any live moss that will absorb the amount of water we are looking for to determine the absorbance capacity. However, the staff at the Morrill Greenhouse believe that the moss they have could work. They said that the moss samples they have are currently dried up but they are used to measure water absorbance so we are going to get the samples we need in order to conduct our methods. Hopefully conducting our methods before our research proposal will help in our presentation of our experiment on Sphagnum Moss.

 

Journal #21-- Shark Research PP

Submitted by skhall on Thu, 03/23/2017 - 10:26

A previous student at UMass, Duncan J. Irschick has been analyzing shark species in Floride to grasp a better understanding of their body shapes. In order to help with his research, Irschick and his team needed to create a technology to create a 3D structure of the body types they are analyzing. “Now, he and colleagues have developed just such a tool, a multi-armed platform that integrates several cameras plus a computer system, which they call the “Beastcam” because it can rapidly and easily create 3D models of living animals and other objects.” The model was inspired when he attempted to make a model of a shark with just one camera, and his creation was not successful. Irschick works with other undergraduates to create these 3D models with the use of this beastcam in their lab. Their technology can take 40-60 photos in about 20 seconds. These structures can be used in various softwares to look at different characteristics of the sharks. Irschick has used this tool to create 3D structures of geckos here on campus and is hoping to take these skills back to florida for his research on sharks. 

 

 

Journal #21--UMass Amherst Shark Research Leads Biologists to Create ‘Beastcam’

Submitted by skhall on Thu, 03/23/2017 - 10:07

While browsing the UMass Biology Newsletter page I stumbled across a previous UMass student doing some remarkable research. Duncan J. Irschick was working with sharks in Florida last spring to better understand their body shapes and decided to create a piece of technology to help create the 3D structure of these body types. “Now, he and colleagues have developed just such a tool, a multi-armed platform that integrates several cameras plus a computer system, which they call the “Beastcam” because it can rapidly and easily create 3D models of living animals and other objects.” The model was inspired when he attempted to make a model of a shark with just one camera, and the model was not successful with his original work. He works with other undergraduates to create these models and take photos in the lab. The contraption can take 40-60 photos in about 20 seconds. These structures can be used in various softwares to look at different characteristics of the sharks. Duncan has used this tool to create 3D structures of geckos here on campus and is hoping to take these skills back to florida for his research on sharks. 

 

Journal #20--Henrietta Lacks

Submitted by skhall on Wed, 03/22/2017 - 09:42

     Over the summer I read the book about Henrietta Lacks called The immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Recently I saw a movie trailer which will shine upon the life of Henrietta and is based on the book written about her. Henrietta was a tobacco farmer from Southern Virginia who was diagnosed with cervical cancer when she was 30 years old. Henrietta had cells removed from her cervix while at Johns Hopkins and they were sent to other scientists to grow tissues in cultures. Scientists previously had not been able to keep cells alive, but Henrietta’s cells have never died. This is why her cells are so important. They are the first immortal human cells to ever grow in culture. They were essential in the development of various vaccines and are still being used today to further medical research. Cloning, gene mapping an in vitro fertilization have all been successful with the help of these He(nrietta) La(cks) cells. 

 

    The book was one of the greatest books I have ever read and I am excited to see how the movie turns out. I think this story is really important because also her cells have made many medical improvements, there were a lot of ethical discrepancies that have been overlooked. If you are reading this blog post, I highly recommend reading the book to understand the full story about this remarkable woman.

Journal #19--Moss Growth

Submitted by skhall on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:52

 

 

For my group’s research proposal we are going to do some kind of experiment involving the water absorbance of moss and it’s effects on the growth of the moss. In finding information on this, I was looking at some facts on moss and their available water storage.  Moss are able to absorb water and nutrients over the whole surface of their “shoots.”  Because they lack roots they have a finite about of space to absorb water. With this information in mind, we have to think of some factors about when doing the experiment. 

 

   Initially we want to take the same type of moss and put them in their own environments. We will either initially add the same amount of water to both or vary the amount and then everyday check the amount of growth the moss has done. We will want to make sure that each moss is grown in similar environments so that other factors will not make a difference in growth patterns, such as sunlight. We will want to measure the amount of water absorbed but possibly also the water retention capacity to look at any changes that might be happening between moses. We will want to make as many measurements as possibly to notice any growth differences between the two mosses. If we want, we could compare the mosses to other plants to note the difference in those absorbance capacities. We could also take different mosses to note the difference int after absorbances based on their original location. We want to make sure that the weights and sixes of the mosses chosen are of the same size (and possibly weight) to allow for accurate calculations and measurements. With these factors in mind we will hopefully retrieve good data on our moss experiment.

Journal #18 -- Moss Research

Submitted by skhall on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:39

     This week me and my group have been struggling to find  peer reviewed article about moss pertaining tot eh experiment we may conduct for our research proposal. I was doing research on google scholar, looking up terms such as: 

  • Moss

  • Moss Growth

  • Environmental factors on moss

  • Moss and photosynthesis

Unfortunartely we have not had a lot of luck finding a good article that we can twist into making our own. We are thinking about looking at moss growth and the different environmental factors that will effect the growth of the chosen moss. We listed out all of the simple facts we know about moss and that helped determined what we wanted to do. These facts included:

  • Group of Bryophyta

  • Usually bright green

  • Grow in moist environments

  • Can absorb lots of water

  • They Photosynthesize

  • They are indicators of pollution...they have to grow in clean environments

With this information I think we can make it work, it just depends on the right article we can find to help with the experiment.

Journal #16 PP

Submitted by skhall on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:35

While looking at the various research that UMass has to offer, I came upon a type of research that is done by Gerald B. Downes. His lab is interested in the development, organization and function of neuronal networks that involve precise movements of locomotive behavior like walking or swimming. They use zebrafish to study this because they have several characteristics that make them eel-suited for studying this type of information.Their spinal cords are relatively simple compared to mammals and the embryos are transparent which also make it easier to study. These features in the fish allow them to integrate genetic, molecular, cellular and a behavior approach to study the spinal cord network. Specifically they are looking to understand how the hindbrain and spinal cord control this behavior. Using the zebrafish to study this information is broadly conserved among vertebrates, but it might gives good insight about mammalian systems to establish new types of models of human disease. Gerald Downess works with five other researchers to help on this project.

 

Journal #17--Herbs Part 3

Submitted by skhall on Tue, 03/07/2017 - 09:45

     It has now been almost two months since I began growing my herbs in my aerogarden. As I have said previously they started growing relatively slow but they have truly been growing faster as the days go by. The fastest growing herb has been the dill for sure. The water supply had to be refilled once a day because it was requiring so much water. The dill itself has grown almost 6 inches in the past couple of weeks and the roots are starting to show which told me I should probably pick it soon so that it doesn’t go bad or doesn’t take away resources from the other herbs (sunlight and water). I decided to make homemade pickles with the amount of dill I had which required just the amount that I had grown along with other ingredients. They all had to sit in a jar for about three days for the cucumbers to absorb enough. Luckily they came out great and now I just have to figure out what to do with the rest of the dill that I will grow. The other herbs don’t grow as fast but the basil is definitely one that grows fast as well. Even when the leaves are picked off new ones grow back within a couple of days. The constant water supply and light source I think allows for such a rapid growth because it says if you were to move them to a regular pot they will need a lot more water than you would expect. My next growing experiment I think I will plant tomatoes because I will use them more than dill.

Journal #16-- Development and Function of Spinal Cord Networks

Submitted by skhall on Sun, 03/05/2017 - 20:36

 

        While looking at the various research that UMass has to offer, I came upon a type of research that is done by Gerald B. Downes. His lab is interested in the development, organization and function of neuronal networks that involve precise movements of locomotive behavior like walking or swimming. They use zebrafish to study this because they have several characteristics that make them eel-suited for studying this type of information.Their spinal cords are relatively simple compared to mammals and the embryos are transparent which also make it easier to study. These features in the fish allow them to integrate genetic, molecular, cellular and a behavior approach to study the spinal cord network. Specifically they are looking to understand how the hindbrain and spinal cord control this behavior. Using the zebrafish to study this information is broadly conserved among vertebrates, but it might gives good insight about mammalian systems to establish new types of models of human disease. Gerald Downess works with five other researchers to help on this project.

Journal #15- Peer Reviewed Article

Submitted by skhall on Thu, 03/02/2017 - 09:52

The following moss species discussed in the peer-reviewed article titled “Annual Growth of Four Pleurocarpous Moss Species And Their Applicability for Biomonitoring Heavy Metals” was used for an estimation of atmospheric heavy metal deposition in Austria. The mosses used in the study were pleurocarpous mosses. Four specific species were used and were investigated at 54 sample plots all over Austria. Each plot was chosen for growth purposes of the chosen species. Species were in fields with mat dimensions and catatonic uptake efficiencies were measured in the experiment. Samples of the mosses were taken between October 28 and November 1, 1995. Though we do not live in Austria, it’s possible with the right materials we could test this experiment, but I’m not sure how readily available the supplies are for our class.

Zechmeister, H.G. Environ Monit, compliers. Annual Growth of Four Pleurocarpous Moss Species and Their Applicability for Biomonitoring Heavy Metals. (1998). http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1005843032625

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