Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ecoblog 6 Explain the value of wetlands to human societies; include the concept of biodiversity and wetlands’ role in maintaining water resources for human use.

Wetlands are important to human societies because they release new life and rejuvenate the ecosystem by balancing human affects to rivers and lakes. Wetlands clean the water by filtering out sedimentation, decomposing vegetation and chemical wastes thus resulting in clean water for humans to drink. Also they act like sponges by absorbing water from floods and other large masses of water which helps maintain the water level for human societies along with it's purification. When water levels are low they release water for humans so that we survive. Wetlands help create more biodiversity in the areas due to the fact that animals use them for migration and reproduction. Also the wetland ability to recycle nutrients is an important function in the process of water purification, giving us humans more safe water resources for our survival.

Ecoblog 4 Select one of the 10 major biomes and write an overview of the characteristics of that biome. Explain how abiotic factors and the dominant plants and wildlife are interrelated. Support your explanation with specific examples.

Tropical Rain Forest
The tropical rain forest consists of tall trees with leafy tops that forms canopies.They are a tropical wet climate group with warm temperatures year-round. This biome consists of four different layers-- the emergent with giant trees with umbrella-shaped canopies, the upper canopy is where light is most available and where animals thrive, the understory is where shorter plants grow and humidity is constant and the forest floor consists of few trees due to little sunlight and decomposers too. Since it is very hot and humid year-round with thin and nutrient poor soils, the plants that grow are evergreens, ferns, vines and climbing plants since these plants are able to survive the climate conditions. The animals need to be able to survive among tall trees and be able to move around more comfortable with the hot climate. Animals like sloths, monkeys, birds, reptiles and insects such as frogs and ants are able to survive in the tropical rain forest's abiotic factors due to their adaptations. The abiotic factors of the tropical rain forest only allow some plants and animals to survive and be able to inhabit since not all animals are able to survive with humidity and less space to move around freely.

EcoBlog 3-Name and define the levels of organization that an ecologist studies. Identify the level that you would study if you were an ecologist. Describe a method you would use to study this level. Give reasons for your choice of a method.

The levels of organizations that an ecologist studies are individual or species, population,community, ecosystem, biome and biosphere. The individual or species is the most basic unit biological unit where a specific species is studied. The population is the study of a specific section of animals in an area. Community is all the organisms in a population, an ecosystem is a community of interacting species and their environment. A biome is a natural occurring area of plants and animals occupying a habitat and a biosphere is the study of all the living things on the Earth. If I were an ecologist, I would study the level of biosphere by traveling around the world and examining all the different plants and animals. A method I would use is create a group of ecologists to travel to different parts of the world and then come together to learn the whole biosphere together on different perspectives. I would use this method because as a ecologist I would like to learn about the biosphere as quick as possible to understand the world better thus allowing more discoveries to be made. Also by creating a group of ecologists to learn together, it would involve more people to learn the biosphere.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Discussion/ Ethics Research GUILD-- PHYLASYSTEMS

Dissections should be performed instead of just relying on virtual dissections because animal research are proven vital in every medical breakthrough. It helps us, humans too, since most mammals have similar functions and organs. Animals also suffer from similar diseases that we developed and the dissection of certain animals are able to help us find a cure and ways to help the human body. Virtual dissections are not as helpful since it does not allow the dissector to fully see the organs in real life to get a better understanding as in hands-on dissections. Thanks to animal research through dissections, cancer survival rates have increased and they helped develop vaccines against polio, TB, meningitis and many more. Without hands-on dissections we would not be able to examine and compare similar structures that can help humans survive and be healthy.

Dissections should be performed in suitable places but it must be for educational and or scientific means. Dissections should not be forced by highly encouraged and the animals used cannot be endangered or by any means in harm and it cannot be alive.

Monday, May 19, 2014

EcoBlog Virtual Ecology

Population Genetics
Population genetics is the study of the distribution  and the changes of allele frequency in a population. The population is subjected to four processes in order to determine the changes within their population, the processes are natural selection, mutation, genetic drift, and gene flow. It also takes factors like recombination and population structure into account when determining the change in allele frequency. The Hardy Weinberg Equation is used to determine the changes in allele frequencies.

Population Ecology
Population ecology deals with the dynamics of species population and how these populations interact with the environment and their surroundings. Population is the study of how the sizes of the population of different species change over time. Thomas Malthus stated that a population will grow or decline exponentially as long as the environment experienced by all individuals in the population remains at a constant.

Community Ecology
Community ecology is the study of the interactions between species within a community on many different scales such as distribution, abundance, and structure. It is the study of factors that influence biodiversity, the community's structure and the abundance and distribution of species within a community. Some of the ways that species interact are through competition, predation, parasitism and mutualism.

Behavioral Ecology
Behavioral ecology is the study of evolution of animals and their behaviors due to ecological pressures.If an organism has a trait which provides them with a advantage in a new environment, natural selection will likely favor it. This theory of natural selection by Charles Darwin. Adaptive significance therefore refers to the beneficial qualities, in terms of increased survival and reproduction. Genetic differences in individuals lead to behavioral differences that in turn drive differences in adaptation, reproductive success, and ultimately evolution.

Conservation Ecology
Conservation ecology is the study of the loss of Earth’s biological diversity and the ways this loss can be prevented. It is aimed to protect species, and their habitats, and their ecosystems from the excessive rates of extinction and biological interactions. To better understand the restoration of ecosystems of native plants and animal communities conservation ecology leads to the researching of migration, demographics, effective population size, inbreeding rates and population viability.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bird Adaptations

Little Blue Heron 
Claw--  Wading, long and slender legs with three toes pointed forward and one pointed backward
Wings--"Slow, Flapping" Wing, long and slender, shape is good for long flights 
Beak--Striking Beak, pointed beaks useful for catching prey

Bald Eagle
Claw-- Catching Prey, raptorial arrangement which is three talons pointed forward and one backward
Wings--"Soaring" wing, long but broad and fat, shape to catch thermals, "finger feathers"
Beak--Tearing, sharp, hooked beaks used to pierce and tear food

Barn Swallow
Claw--Perching claws, arisodactyl arrangement which is three toes pointed forward and one backward, small and no feathers 
Wings--"High- Speed Maneuverability" wing, long, narrow and angled that enables fast movements
Beak--Picking beak, short, slender and tweeze-like beak that enables food to be picked off the ground or air fast

Arizona Woodpecker
Claw--Climbing, zygodactyl arrangement which is toes toes pointed forward and two backward.
Wings-- "High- Speed Maneuverability" wing, long, narrow and angled
Beak--Drilling, strong and sturdy, with a chisel-like tip for drilling holes in wood

Blue- Throated Humming Bird 
Claw--Perching claws, arisodactyl arrangement which is three toes pointed forward and one backward
Wings-- "High- Speed Maneuverability" wing, long, narrow and angled
Beak--Sipping, long, needle-like beaks they use to probe deep into flower, used to "dip and sip"

Claw--  Swimming, webbed feet to help swim in water, palmate
Wings-- "Long- Distance Flyer' wing, long, narrow, pointed wings
Beak--Straining, broad, flat beaks

As the environments of birds change so does the birds itself in order to survive. With the change in food and environment come a need for the birds to adapt to the changes in order to live and make their species grow. For example the beaks of humming birds changed due to the abundant amount of flowers growing in their habitat. With a need of a food source, the beaks of hummingbirds evolved and adapted to the habitat by allowing the beak to become more thin and able to drink the nectar of flowers. Birds evolve in their wings, feet and beaks due to a change in their environment and isolation. Reproductive, behavioral and geographic isolation also lead to more bird diversity. Adaptations are needed if any change occurs so that a specific bird can survive.