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4/24

Submitted by aprisby on Wed, 04/24/2019 - 20:26

Raptors hunt larger prey than other types of birds, so their sharp, hooked beaks allow them to pierce prey, tug away skin, pluck out feathers, tear meat into smaller-sized chunks that are easier to swallow. Insectivores use their slender, tweezer-like beaks enable them to catch insects midair, pick insects off leaves, or probe between small crevices of tree bark, or for drilling holes into wood. Seed-eating birds have short, thick, and strong beaks equipped for cracking open hardy seeds. The size of the beak can indicate the type of seed or nut the bird is adapted to eat. The variation in beak size within the raptors, seed-eaters, and insectivores observed across grasslands, woodlands, and marsh habitats can be explained by the specialized diets in different habitat types.

 

 

Bird comparison

Submitted by aprisby on Wed, 04/24/2019 - 13:06

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) are adept at climbing trees and pecking for insects such as beetle larvae, ants, caterpillars, earworm, and apple borers which burrow inside of wood or tree bark. Part of their diet consists of plant material, berries and grains. They move horizontally and downwards on trees rapidly. It has a specialized beak and skull that redirects most of the strain from repeatedly striking trees, into the rest of the body, instead of the head. They take frequent breaks in drilling to prevent brain damage caused by overheating. This is different than the Upland sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda) which feeds on mostly insects, including weevils, beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets. It feeds while walking along the ground.

Perfect Paragraph 4/18

Submitted by aprisby on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 11:59

We will be comparing dietary style of bird species in relation to habitat type, and the effects these different habitats have upon beak shape and size. We will use the University of Massachusetts Amherst avian collection to collect data on bill length, depth, and width from preserved bird skins. We will use this collection because it will allow us to compare beak measurements of different species using a primary source of data. We will also use reliable ornithology research articles to find information on habitat types, behavior, and diet that will be used to compare bird species. The goal of this study is to analyze differences between beak size and shape, habitat and how they obtain their food. We aim to explore the proximate cause of distinct beak morphology of species by investigating the effects that different environmental pressures and/or dietary constraints have on the beak shape of birds. We seek to determine whether cohabiting species local to New England, as represented by specimens available from the UMass Amherst Ornithology collection, display trends of beak size and shape variation according to distinct dietary needs according to habitat, and analyze what that may mean in regards to how those species interact with one another and their shared ecosystem.

 
 

Draft Abstract

Submitted by aprisby on Wed, 04/17/2019 - 22:19

We will be comparing dietary style of bird species in relation to habitat type, and the effects these different habitats have upon beak shape and size. We will use the University of Massachusetts Amherst avian collection to collect data on bill length, depth, and width from preserved bird skins. We will use this collection because it will allow us to compare beak measurements of different species using a primary source of data. We will also use reliable ornithology research articles to find information on habitat types, behavior, and diet that will be used to compare bird species. The goal of this study is to analyze differences between beak size and shape, habitat and how they obtain their food.

 

Food webs

Submitted by aprisby on Wed, 04/17/2019 - 14:09

Food webs are conceptual models of trophic interactions of organisms. Food webs can be simple or complex and sued for a variety of purposes. Food webs are typically more complex because more species are involved. As models they are limited in that they are static, don’t account for population fluctuations, competition, facilitation, mutualisms, etc. They can be used to better understand energy flows, if we know something about interaction strengths. Robert Paine studied an intertidal food web to study the effects removing the starfish from the ecosystem so see its effect on local diversity. The starfish is a top predator that promotes species diversity by preventing competitive exclusion by the mussels. This makes it an excellent example of a keystone predator.

Draft 4/16

Submitted by aprisby on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 21:41

A major extinction, the Kellwasser event marked the beginning of the last phase of the Devonian period, the Famennian faunal stage about 375-360 million years ago. A second mass extinction, the Hangenberg event, closed the Devonian period. It is still unclear as to the extent of time during these extinctions, as it is uncertain whether there were two sharp mass extinctions or a series of smaller extinctions. By the late devonian, land had been colonized by plants and insects, and the oceans were massive reefs built by corals and stromatoporoids. The extinction for the most part hit marine life. Euramerica and Gondwana were beginning to converge into what would become Pangea.

Draft Devonian

Submitted by aprisby on Mon, 04/15/2019 - 20:42

About three quarters of all species on Earth died out in the Late Devonian mass extinction, though as a series of extinctions over several million years, rather than one event. Life that existed in shallow waters and seas were the the most affected; reefs were hit so hard that it was not until corals evolved over 100 million years later that reefs returned to their former glory. Aside from reef-building organisms, other groups that were hit hard include the brachiopods and the trilobites. During this time period, much of the sea bed became devoid of oxygen, which made it only sustainable for bacteria. Changes in sea level, asteroid impacts, climate change and new species of plants messing with the soil have all been probable causes for these extinctions.

Perfect Paragraph Jaguars

Submitted by aprisby on Mon, 04/15/2019 - 20:33

Jaguars are an endangered species whose populations began to fall in the mid 1900s due to excessive poaching and hunting. Human development has also decreaed their populations, between building expansions and an increase in agricultural fields. Conservation should give this species top priority because jaguar populations continue to decline and suffer as a direct result of human impact. As a keystone species, jaguars help maintain balance in the food chain as the top predator by controlling populations of subspecies. Ecology can help conserve this species through the protection and conservation of designated habitat patches and corridors so that jaguars may be allowed space which will allow for the ability to survive and grow. Providing protection for the connectivity between different landscapes will allow the jaguars to be able to expand their population gene pool, which will then in turn create a healthier, more stable population. Ecology itself will allow humans to better understand changes in populations, and how more space will allow for increased population growth.

Draft 4/10

Submitted by aprisby on Wed, 04/10/2019 - 21:34

Jaguars are an endangered species which through poaching and habitat loss, populations began to fall in the mid 1900s. Human development has also hindered their populations, between building expansions and an increase in agricultural fields. Conservation should give this species top priority because jaguar populations continue to decline and suffer as a direct result of human impact. Jaguars help keep a balance in the food chain as a top predator, as they help to control populations of subspecies. Ecology can help conserve this species through the protection and conservation of designated habitat patches and corridors so that jaguars may be allowed space and ability to survive and grow. Providing protection for the connectivity between different landscapes will allow the jaguars to be able to expand their population gene pool, which will then in turn create a healthier, more stable population. Ecology itself will allow humans to better understand changes in populations, and how more space will allow for increased population growth. Ecology cannot help with the politics and law behind creating these protected habitat patches and preventing further illegal poaching and deforestation. It also cannot account for the enormous financial expenses that would be required to conserve these patches.

 

Draft 4/9

Submitted by aprisby on Tue, 04/09/2019 - 22:33

Monticello is located just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, which has a four-season humid subtropical climate with all months being well-watered, though the period from May to September is the wettest. Winters are somewhat cool but mild, and Summers are hot and humid. The site was excavated using test units of equal sizes to keep the sampling strategy consistent. Each test unit was excavated stratigraphically using shovels and hand trowels. Stratigraphic layers were differentiated by soil color and texture. All of the sediment removed from the test units was sifted through a screen, and all artifacts were collected and labeled according to unit and layer. Summertime temperatures are high in the region, with indoor temperatures of around 100 °F. Jefferson himself is known to have been interested in ancient temperature-control techniques such as ground-cooled air and heated floors. Monticello's large central hall and aligned windows were designed to allow a cooling air-current to pass through the house.

 

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