Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I had to read an article out of my Ecology lecture text and then write about it so I figured I'd just blog about it as well. Mutualism exists between flowering plants and their pollinators-bees. Plants benefit from this relationship in that they greatly increase their chances of reproduction. The chances of having their pollen grains fertilize another flower are much more probable if they rely on a pollinator like the bee who moves among many flowers in a short amount of time, rather than simply relying on the unpredictability of the wind for reproductive purposes. Flowering plants invest a substantial amount of energy in pollen production and so by utilizing bees as a vehicle for carrying out pollination they are increasing their energy efficiency. The bees benefit by extracting nectar from the flower and then internally converting it into honey (“a high quality energy store”). Once the bees inadvertently pick up the pollen grains, they may consume the highly nutritious grains which are rich in proteins and oils.
A host-parasite relationship exists between bees and two mite species: Varroa and Tracheal. The cost to the host (bees) is their mortality and fitness. The Varroa mite benefits from the relationship by deriving sustenance from the internal fluid of the bee. The Tracheal mite derives nutrition from its host’s body, but also uses this medium as a site for reproduction. Due to varying levels of exposure to the parasites, different host species have developed differing levels of resistance. Often, the more time a bee species is exposed to a parasite, the more likely it is able to develop resistance to the pest and survive if attacked.
I don’t like getting 3.5 out of 5 points-I really thought I had earned better. I didn’t half a** it, you know??? Stray letter…how could I have missed that? The proof is not in the pudding, HAH, I knew that didn’t make sense! Slap, you got rejected, so be tenacious. These are some of the thoughts that flow through my mind as I sit there in Biological Writing sometimes. Dr. Baines picture perfect dog is named Dargo…I didn’t hear her explanation of that? I know she said something about Dr. Zen understanding the significance of the dog’s name because he’s ‘nerdy’ too and into some old comic or something like she is. As I’m proofreading this I feel like circling behaviour and writing ‘This looks funny because I’m not Australian, British or Canadian but I know it is right.’ It’s just that I wanted to comment on it to see if I could get a chuckle out of Faulkes. Haha, as I’m typing this out, the computer agrees with me. What happens if I type colour? Haha, denied again! I really hope I didn’t get any Ethidium Bromide on my sandwich…I don’t want to die yet, honestly, I’m still young and spry. L.o.l., I know that’s totally not up to me, whatever. I don’t see any grammatical or spelling errors on this second page-damn!!! And I need to get to lab!!! What’s wrong with my brain today?!? Props to Dr. Zen because I could never care about “digging” so much, really. Some people make vicious comments. I seriously need to blog. I’ve been avoiding that and it’s festered and grown like an ugly fungus in a dark corner of my mind. Rejection is not final…Really? Could this be true even if my writing consistently contains serious structural errors? I could work on that though…but how? I know, I know, I’m venting but that’s life, so it counts as a biological topic.
These are my descriptions and interpretations of again, the "Trials of Life," DVD. This blog entry is most concerned with interesting examples of mimicry and mutualism in nature.An example of mimicry would be when the walking stick imitates the appearance of leaves in order to achieve a camouflaged look and guard against its predators. The Praying Mantas mimicking the flowery color and appearance of the white orchid while it lies in wait for its prey is another example of mimicry in nature.
One example of mutualism would be the relationship between shrimp and the Gobi. The two species live together in a cave excavated by the shrimp. In return to the shrimp, for having provided the home the share, the Gobi, with his excellent eyesight serves as a guide and protector of the blind shrimp. The shrimp stays in contact with the Gobi by constantly touching the fish with his own antennae. Through this connection the Gobi can tell the shrimp when it is safe to wander out of the cave or when to stay within because predators are in the vicinity. This relationship is symbiotic because they need each other in order to survive. A second example of mutualism would be the relationship between deer and monkeys. In this instance, the monkeys forage in trees and in doing so, drop leaves which the deer pick up and eat. When the monkeys wander down to scavenge for food on the ground, the deer act to warn the monkeys if a predator comes near so that the primates may escape safely back up into the tree tops. This represents a non-symbiotic mutualism since both species could survive without each other and so they have a facultative relationship with each other. These relationships are both good examples of co-evolution because they demonstrate adaptations and contribute to the continued survival of each species involved.
This is just a continuation of my notes and interpretations of the material covered on the Trials of Life DVD. This blog entry focuses more on predator-prey interactions though. An example of a prey species defending itself against predators would be when certain trees develop poison within their leaves in order to deter herbivorous spider monkeys. The monkeys have adapted to this defense so that they are capable of ingesting small amounts of the poison while feeding. If they have had enough poison they simply move on to another plant and may continue eating. A similar situation occurs when particular types of plants are consumed by beetles. Again, the plants produce poisons to defend against its predators, but do so in a way where the poison is produced specifically in the center of its leaves. The beetles have adapted and overcome this defense by puncturing the leaf, causing the milky poison to drain out, and then feeding safely on the end of the leaf. These are good examples of co-evolution because in each case, the two species involved in the predator-prey relationship developed mechanisms to preserve their own survivorship.
Last Wednesday I was forced to stay in Ecology lab and watch a DVD called, "The Trials of Life," which because of the length, I found somewhat boring. Some parts of it I did find interesting though. So because its all about adaptations and I took notes while watching the DVD, I think I write a few blogs about it. Here I go. One specific [behavioral] adaptation of a particular type of prey (in the rainforest environment) would be the Trinidad Tree Frog developing an aquatic nursery to keep its embryos safe from predatory fish. The adult frogs house their developing embryos in a small sphere of sticky jelly (on tree branches, above water), which will dissolve away once the offspring reach a mature stage of development. This then allows them to fall into the main body of water below and complete maturation. The point of the behavior is that the frog embryos are kept away from the predatory fish until they have outgrown their vulnerable infancy stage and developed well enough so that they may be able to defend themselves against attackers. A specific example of adaptation involving partners in a mutualism would be how the shape of the Saber Wing Hummingbird beak has developed so that it fits perfectly with its food source, the Columbian flower. The hummingbird derives nectar from the flower and the flower benefits from the relationship by having the hummingbird carry out its pollination.