Saturday, November 27, 2010


Karen Silkwood worked in a nuclear facility where she helped produce plutonium rods, which were extremely toxic. People from the plant began getting sick and showing signs of radiation, and the plant had a lack of safety regulations. Karen Silkwood ended up with high levels of radiation as well. The plant tried to cover up their responsibility in the workers getting sick. Karen joined a labor union. The plant relocated Karen to a place where the photomicrographs of the fuel rods were reviewed and often changed. Karen went to a conference in D.C. where she promised to steal some of the photomicrographs that were altered. She also documented other things about the plant in a notebook to submit to the labor union and people she met in D.C. The plant tried to accuse her of stealing plutonium.  The movie did a great job of showing how the company manipulated multiple situations to make it look like Karen was at fault. In fact, they even convince some of the workers that she is the one getting everyone sick. The movie also pushed boundaries by showing one of the first lesbian relationships in film. Silkwood showed Karen Silkwood’s story well and invoked questions like: How did this company get away with having so few safety regulations for that long? How could the workers manipulating the slides and the plant overseers let so many people get sick? Why did Karen have to do secret work for the union; why couldn’t the officials in D.C. just order an investigation based on the number of sick workers and an eye witness?

Hitchiti Experiment Forest

The scientific name for wild ginger is Hexastylis arifolia. It is native to Georgia and grows best in shady areas with average soil. The leaves are heart-shaped and it has a “spicy” aroma.
Leaf litter decomposition:
“Stage 1 shows recently added dead material.
By stage 2 much of the material has broken into smaller pieces and some of the easily degradable cell materials such as sugars and starches have been assimilated by microorganisms.
At stage 3 you need to look closely to recognize small plant fragments and the appearance of dark colored organic matter is obvious.
By stage 4 there is no recognizable plant materials and the dark colored organic matter has been incorporated into soil aggregates”
The scientific name for the southern pine beetle is Dendroctonus frontalis. They are common in the southeastern United States, and they feed on various forms of pine trees. They can destroy acres at a time, especially in outbreaks of the species. They are the most destructive insect in Georgia and cost millions of dollars in annual losses.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Favorite Aquatic Animals

Phytoplankton- Diatom
                Diatoms live in cool water and are parts of large colonies. They are the largest phytoplankton and can produce up to 100000 times a month.

Zooplankton- Meroplankton
                Meroplankton are plankton for their larval stage and part of the reef the rest of their lives. Meroplankton includes sea urchins, starfish, sea squirts, most of the sea snails and slugs, crabs, lobsters, octopus, marine worms and most reef fishes.

Aquatic Macrophyte- Bryophytes
                Bryophytes are small green plants including Hornworts, Liverworts, and mosses. They reproduce by spore production and are usually only one cell deep.

Fish- Lionfish
                Lionfish are marine fish that live in rocky crevices. Lionfish are venomous and use this as a defense mechanism. It has very fast reflexes and is camouflaged for the most part.

Crustacean- Crayfish
                Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans found in ponds and streams. They are scavengers.

Mammal- Duckbill Platypus
                The Duckbill Platypus is a land dweller, but spends much of its time in the water. It can open its eyes, ears, and nostrils underwater. It is an egg-laying mammal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Favorite Biome

My favorite biome is the Boreal Coniferous Forest, also known as taiga.
The taiga is located primarily in Canada, Alaska, the northernmost parts of North America, Russia, and the northernmost parts of Europe. It has coniferous trees including fir, larch, pine, spruce, aspen, poplar, birch, and willow. Taiga also has lichens and moss. It is prone to forest fires even though it receives ample rain (12-33 inches per year). Temperature ranges from negative 65 to 30 degrees F in winter and from 20-70 degrees F in summer, when it’s warm, rainy, and humid. It doesn’t have many mammals that live there, and most that do hibernate in the winter since food supplies are limited then, but there is an abundance of species of bugs in the summer.  Migratory birds populate the area at certain times of the year.

Favorite Organism

My favorite organism is the arctic fox, or alopex lagopus.
The arctic fox lives in the Taiga (Boreal Forest) and Tundra biomes. They are white in winter and brown/black in summer; and their fur is the warmest of all mammals. They weigh between 6 and 10 pounds and are only about a foot tall. They mate in March and April and can produce up to 15 pups. Arctic Foxes hunt small mammals and eat vegetables. They also scavenge and bury food for later. Polar Bears and hunters that desire their fur are the Arctic Fox’s only real threats. These animals have thick hair and dense padding on their paws to accommodate for the snow and ice. Their bodies are compact, with small features, that have also adapted this way for the cold climate in which they live. The Arctic Fox makes its home in burrows or dens underground, sometimes originally made from other animals. They can run quickly and are well camouflaged.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mitochondrial Eve

Mitochondrial Eve was probably around 5’3” tall and had a medium complexion, brown hair and eyes, and had a lean build. As mankind began to hunt and need to travel after food sources rather than scavenging, different groups of humans ended up in different regions of the world. When they learned how to plant things for food, they settled in areas and stopped moving around. Once settled in their different regions, their bodies began adapting to their new ways of life and the various climates in which they lived. For example, the Inuit people are shorter and more burly with medium pigmentation in the skin due to less sun exposure and a way to keep warm, whereas someone from Ethiopia is very tall and thin with dark pigmentation to protect their skin and keep cool. The pigmentation of hair, skin, and eyes began to change globally, as well as the physical shape of the different tribes. In a thousand years, people will probably be varied in height still due to various locations, but for the most part the average will probably be about 5’6” and most people will have brown hair and eyes and medium complexion skin.
The Inuit male is from a northern region. They spend much time outside, which explains the pigmentation. The Build is short and robust, to keep warm against the weather.
The Egyptian male has medium toned skin, dark hair and eyes. He is average height and thin, but not as thin as the Ethiopian male.
The Ethiopian male has dark pigmentation of the eyes, skin, and hair. He is tall and thin due to lots of sun and heat exposure.
The Netherlandish male has pale hair, skin, and eyes. He has a very developed frame to support the colder climate.
The Indian male has darker skin than the Egyptian male, but not darker than the Ethiopian male. He is thin and relatively tall and lives in a hot climate.
The Chilean male has medium toned skin with a bit redder of a color than the Indian and Egyptian men. He is of average build and height, seeing as Chile stretches nearly the length of South America and has various climates.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Methane Sources

Methane comes from the stomach of the cow. The bacteria that the stomach contains to process their food/cud creates methane gas.

Woods Hole Marine Biological Lab

The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole is an institution dedicated to the study of science. MBL offers courses in many different fields, including biomedicine, ecology, and of course biology. Students may do undergraduate studies, graduate studies, research, and/or summer courses. It is primarily a learning and teaching atmosphere, but there is a visitors center designed similar to a museum in which people of all ages can learn about science and the research MBL is conducting.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is a theory about chaos. It explains that one small action can affect things on a much larger scale elsewhere. This has been put in terms of science for things like weather predictions, as Lorenz originally intended it. It can also be applied to psychology and how an action or what a person says can greatly affect another person’s mood and behavior. The basic idea is simply that the tiniest action can cause great effects, both positive and negative.