Monday, November 22, 2010

My Favorite Organism

Although I am an animal lover, I decided to blog about another type of organism which I really enjoy in nature. Flowers are one of my favorite parts of nature, and I really enjoy looking at them, whether they are wild or at Fresh Market. Below is a definition of this organism defined by wikipedia.

"flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biological function of a flower is to mediate the union of male sperm with female ovum in order to produce seeds. The process begins with pollination, is followed by fertilization, leading to the formation and dispersal of the seeds. For the higher plants, seeds are the next generation, and serve as the primary means by which individuals of a species are dispersed across the landscape. The grouping of flowers on a plant is called the inflorescence."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A hike in the woods

Tree Hugging Experiment

(candid shot of Dr. Rood!)

Pretty little things in nature

(Wild ginger plant)

Wild ginger was one of the many plants that we were able to see in our hiking lab. The wild ginger was not what I was expecting, but it was more abundant than I thought it would be. It ranged in color from light to dark green, and is described by wikipedia as the following: "may refer to any of a variety of plants, often with a similar appearance, odour or taste to cultivated ginger"

(Southern pine beetle)

(Effects of the Southern pine beetle)
(Images courtesy of Google Images)
The Southern pine beetle is a small beetle that is gradually wiping out the pine population. These beetles are responsible for the brown-like trees pictured above. 

(Leaf litter decomposition)

Definition: Decomposition of leaf litter is a major source of nutrients in forest ecosystems. As leaves are broken down by insect and microbial decomposers, organically-bound nutrients are released as free ions to the soil solution which are then available for uptake by plants. In this exercise students will measure the rate of decomposition of leaf litter during winter, spring, and summer at contrasting sites using the litter bag technique. 
info via:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Favorite Biome

It today's class we discussed the different types of biomes. I found it interesting that the climates and biomes are strongly related to the way the air shifts. The book defines the term "biome" as the following:

"A broad, regional type of ecosystem characterized by distinctive climate and soil conditions and a distinctive kind of biological community adapted to those conditions."

Having had the opportunity to travel to Europe the last two Summers, I really enjoyed the climate of the southern region of Spain. In class, I learned that the name for this climate is the "mediterranean woodlands and scrub" region. The weather in Spain was AMAZING. I lived there for two months and fell in love with the way the days were hot, nights were cool & it was sunny all the time. Here are some pictures from my trip. 

(for you Dr. Rood) haha 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mitochondrial Eve- A beginning and an end

    In environmental science class, we have been discussing the phenomenon of "mitochondrial eve" and how it is passed down through the feminine gene pool. I found this interesting. 

We discussed how the appearances of the human race are changing, and will eventually merge to similar traits which include olive skin tones, dark eyes, and dark hair. 

Though I am unsure what the people of the "future" will look like, I have a few ideas in mind. Here are some photos that display my thoughts of mitochondrial eve.

Ken doll or Mario Lopez look alike representing the future look

dark skin and hair are replacing blond hair and blue eyes
work it

Here are some examples in Barbie form of what the future population will look like. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Woods Hole Marine Biology Lab

After searching for the Woods Hole Marine Biology Lab, I was surprised to find that it dates back to 1888. According to the WHMBL website, the Lab is defined as the following:

"The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is an international center for research, education, and training in biology. The oldest private marine laboratory in the country, the MBL currently supports a year-round staff of more than 275 scientists and support staff working in such fields as cell and developmental biology, ecology, microbiology, molecular evolution, global infectious disease, neurobiology, and sensory physiology." (

An interesting fact about this particular lab is that is it offers educational, research and service programs. The Lab is located in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. For more information about the WHMBL, visit the website at (

equorea, the fluorescent jellyfish Osamu Shimonura studied. (Osamu Shimomura, Woods Hole website)

The Butterfly Effect

There are a number of variated definitions for the term "butterfly effect". According to wikipedia, the butterfly effect is defined by the passage below.

"The butterfly effect is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory; namely that small differences in the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system. Although this may appear to be an esoteric and unusual behavior, it is exhibited by very simple systems: for example, a ballplaced at the crest of a hill might roll into any of several valleys depending on slight differences in initial position. The butterfly effect is a common trope in fiction when presenting scenarios involving time travel and with "what if" scenarios where one storyline diverges at the moment of a seemingly minor event resulting in two significantly different outcomes."


After searching for the term on multiple websites, I have gathered facts that define the butterfly effect as a certain type of metaphor that incorporates different types of scenarios and uses them in a "what if" fashion. A common example I found while looking up this definition was "if a butterfly is flapping it's wings, it might change the wind force somewhere around the world.