Thursday, October 28, 2010

Galapagos Reflection: Giant Tortoise

The Giant tortoise, a Galapagos endemic animal, is one of the most spectacular sights in the annually shifting islands. They are only found in the Galapagos and has adapted from land to ocean. Their size, for example, has increased significantly due to island gigantism; they have no need to seek shelter from predators in their natural habitat. Also, their shells have reshaped throughout generations to accommodate to their lifestyle needs. The three different varieties include a dome, saddleback, and intermediate carapaces. The dome shell (found in the upper sections of the islands) provides foliage is dense and is commonly paired with shorter necks and limbs, whereas the saddle-back (found in the lower segments of the islands) equip tortoises with a shelter from the drier divisions and have longer limbs and necks. The saddle-back has been observed to be sighted (with modifications within each habitat) in a multitude of Galapagos islands, insisting that their qualities are viewed as "fit" in the natural field. Intermediate is a combination of the two, often referred to as the third race. Charles Darwin, an english naturalist, once embarked on a journey and discovered different "species" of each animal. Although Darwin was on the right track, modern scientists refer to the differently altered strains as a category under Darwin's more broad classification.

The Galapagos Islands is one of the most pristinely advertised locations on Earth. Whether these placards are true to their word or not, there is no denying the intriguing history and natural essence of the isles. From iguanas diving from the rocky shore in what looks like a suicide mission, to giant tortoises soaking up the sun and dozing for 16 hours a day, the flora and fauna are brimmed with life. However, it is aligned on the equator with a volcanic hotspot. The archipelago's specific layout displays older landforms starting on the far-east side, spanning out westward towards teenage islets. Active volcanoes are definitely anything but rare in this case. Nonetheless, the life outlives the land, but immigration and emigration has become an inscribed pattern, and will persist on throughout the years to come.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Guppy Simulation

1. If being flashy and colorful attracts predators, why do you think guppies are so colorful?
Guppies are so colorful because females are more attracted to the bolder physical appearance. These genes are then passed down, causing a higher population of brightly colored males. Also, the predators that have been able to spot the bolder males helps manage the guppy population in the wild.  

2. After viewing the guppy gallery, pick the fish you find most interesting. What is the fish’s scientific name, origin and average size? Describe the coloration of the fish you chose.
Common name: Guppy or millions fish
Scientific Name:Poecilia reticulata
Gender: male
Size: 1.4 inches
Origin: Brazil
Coloration: More silver in color with yellow spots along the side, as well as black markings on their underside and an orange, white, and black fin.

3. After viewing the predator gallery, pick the fish you find most interesting. What is the fish’s common name, scientific name, and origin?
Common name: Fat Sleeper
Scientific Name: Dormitator maculatus
Origin: Southern North America, Bahamas, and LAtin America.

4. View the guppy’s habitats, what habitat conditions would affect the predator populations?
Dams with what looks like a waterfall provides a good, sustainable habitat for guppies in Trinidad. Populations of guppies above the dam would suffer little to none predator restrictions.

Endler’s Discovery and Variations of Guppy’s in Pools

5. Who is John Endler? What did he study and where did he study it?
John Endler was a scientist in the 1970s who studied wild guppies' patterns and physical qualities such as size and especially color. This study took place in Trinidad.

6. For each of the three stream areas, describe the guppy coloration:

Pool 1:There are 75 guppies in pool 1. The males are brightly multi-colored with large spots.

Pool 2: There are 83 guppies. The males have medium coloration on their bodies and tails, while also displaying medium-sized spots.

Pool 3: There are 110 guppies. The males are drab in color and have tiny dots that are more concentrated near their tail.

7. Develop your own hypothesis about guppy coloration. The hypothesis should answer the questions: Why do guppies in different areas of the stream have difference in coloration? (You can choose from the list on the simulation, or make up your own)
Hypothesis: In some areas of the stream, there is little predation pressure, so the males will pass on the bright color gene because they attract the females. In other areas with a higher population of predators, males pass on the drab gene because they need to be "fit" to survive with the predators so nearby.

Guppy Simulation

% of Brightest Guppies
(10 generations)

% of Bright Guppies
(10 generations) % of Drab Guppies
(10 generations) % of DrabbestGuppies
(10 generations)

Trial 1

Guppy: Even Mix
Predators: 30 Rivulus
# of weeks: 248
% of guppy coloration: 31% brightest male, 55% bright male, 8% drab male, 6% drabbest male
Analysis: With the ratio of male guppies to predators, there was an excess of successful passing on of genes, so more than half the quantity of male guppies were bright in color.

Trial 2

Guppy: Even Mix
Predators: 30 Rivulus, 30 Acara
# of weeks: 234
% of guppy coloration: 60% brightest male, 2% bright male, 33% drab male, 5% drabbest male
Analysis: Though the stream was equally stocked, the brightest and drab males were the most plentiful. This could be a result of an equal amount of predators, as well as an even amount of guppies.

Trial 3

Guppy: Even Mix
Predators: 30 Rivulus, 30 Acara, 30 Cichlid
# of weeks: 382
% of guppy coloration: 0% brightest male, 0% bright male, 2% drab male, 98% drabbest male
Analysis: Drab males became more plentiful because there were more predators to hide from, therefore, the genes that got passed on were the drab coloration. This provided future generations with more "fit" genes.

Trial 4

Guppy: Mostly Bright
Predators: 30 Rivulus
# of weeks: 275
% of guppy coloration: 80% brightest males, 18% bright males, 2% drab males, 0% drabbest males
Analysis: The biased start with a higher population of brightly colored guppies had a consequence of having a higher amount of brightly colored males at the finale.

Trial 5

Guppy: Mostly Drab
Predators: 30 Rivulus, 30 Acara, 30 Cichlid
# of weeks: 248
% of guppy coloration: 0% brightest males, 3% bright males, 19% drab males, 79% drabbest males
Analysis: According to the results in the simulation, there was a significant drop from each category in the percentage of guppy coloration. For example, there is a 60% drop from drabbest to drab guppies.


8. Describe how predators influence guppy coloration.
When there is a large abundance of predators, there will be a higher population of drab colored males. This happens because the drab guppies attract less predators and are easier to camouflage themselves in its surroundings. When there are less predators, the number of bright colored males are more plentiful because the males' main concern is to attract a female. Also, there is less of a need to hide from predators in this case.

9. Was your hypothesis correct, use your data to justify your answer.
My hypothesis was correct because, according to the simulation results, the tests in which there was a significant increase in predators showed an increase in drab males, and vice versa. The tests that commenced with a more biased quantity of bright or drab males also followed protocol by showing that bright males attract females in little predator situations, and predators in high predator situations. The end results are inverse for the opposite operations.

10. What does it mean that “male guppies live in a crossfire between their enemies and their would be mates”?
The "male guppies live in a crossfire between their enemies and their would be mates” means that they are torn between passing on the gene that attracts females while also putting a spotlight on themselves for predators, and not being able to attract females, but then again, also having the advantage of not being spotted so easily by predators.

11. Why do you think guppies in different areas of the stream have different coloration?
Guppies in differ ent areas of the stream have different coloration, because the introduction to the simulation illustrated that not every section of the stream is completely accessible to all predators, therefore limiting the presence of raptorial animals. This would allow the guppies to express their bright colors to attract females without being detected by predators. In areas where there are high waters, for example, predators have more access to the site, hence the dull coloration of the guppies.

12. What would happen to mostly drab guppies that were placed in a stream with very few predators?
The drab guppies would die out because they do not have the natural ability to attract female guppies. Their drab coloring is only useful when trying to hide from predators.

13. What would happen to brightly colored guppies that were placed in a stream with many predators?
The brightly colored guppies would die out because they would't be able to pass on their gene, due to natural selection. They are unable to conceal themselves in the water due to their vivid hues and patterns.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The decrease of animals, from terrestrial to marine, has been a controversial subject in politics, science, and even in average households. Because of the dysfunctual political family, it is nearly impossible to get the whole story of the population dangers. Some claim that you cannot put a monetary quantity on the environment, and therefore, ecosystems should be left to fend for themsleves. Others speak their minds in a more liberal tone; there needs to be changes, putting the U.S. in a good situation both naturally and economically. Despite their current standpoint on the issue, they cannot refuse the obvious changes happening on Earth. Natural barriers are destroyed, leaving civilizations vulnerable to disasters such as the floods in Bangladesh and India. Results from scientific investigations show oxygen levels are being reduced alongside an excess of CO2 and pollution in the air, promoting air traffic. Indian preservations are also being threatened due to their "natural" lifestyle as well as materials they use that are given to them as a gift from Mother Nature. previous wars do not provide support of a clean future either. The Gulf War consumed a notable amount of uranium supply, while the Vietnam war defoliated the Vietnamese rainforest. 44% of the land-based Eco-friendly areas fall below the standards of protection at 10%. The debates stated above also impede on goals of governmental and environmentalist programs. The Age of Aquarius is supposed to bring about an era of new beginnings and revitalization. However, current records say otherwise. To illustrate this detail, the tropical cone snail contains the most prodigious quota of pharmacopoeia in the organic world. Their specific makeup is a perfect example to help man kind better comprehend cell composition, as well as opens up doors in the biomedicine field. physicians and chemists have already fabricated a pain medication that is one hundred times more potent than morphine, called Prialt. Nonetheless, this particular genus is dying out due to mental and physical capitalization they have experienced in addition to climate change. Their coastal domain is being destroyed one degree at a time. Dr. Richmond Leakey, head of the Kenya Civil Service, declared that there are "ten to one hundred million species and fifty-five percent will die off in the next fifty to one hundred years." Not only does this close doors for any state-of-the-art experimentation, but niches will not be filled, leaving ecosystems to deteriorate. These are all reasons why the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) has solidified their objectives in the man versus nature battle. They are continuing to decrease deforestation in half by the year 2035, rationalize CO2 excretions by 1.5 Gt, and reimburse the U.S. administration with $3.2 trillion. Too many lives have been lost due to the global affect of global warming, but cognitively, we cannot embrace its powers until we are directly modified. This is no longer an option. Whatever you can do to help save the environment is worth it; its the little things that count.