Monday, December 13, 2010

Conservation for the People

  • Preserving biodiversity for its own sake, particularly in areas called hot spots, is not working as a conservation strategy.

  • Focusing on protecting ecosystems vital to people’s health and material needs makes more sense.

  • Such ecosystems would include not only forests but also wetlands that maintain clean water, mangroves that shield against storms and reefs that sustain fisheries.

  • Saving these sites can preserve biodiversity and ensure that people are a priority.

Animals rich in plant species are not necessarily rich in animal diversity. Local people are often displaced or lose important resources.

After research scientists found out the vultures were dying due to an anti-inflammatory drug, called, Dielofenac, which is commonly administered to cows.

Ecosystems such as wetlands, and mangrove stands protect people from lethal storms
Forests and coral reefs provide food and income: damage to one ecosystem could harm another half way around the world. It could also harm anyone that depends on the other ecosystem being destroyed.

Millions of people have been forced off there land or have otherwise had their sources of food and income taken from them. so animals and habitats could be preserved.

Provisioning-supplying food or other genetic resources
Regulating- Providing flood control, climate modulations or other similar functions
Cultural- offering benefits that are nonmaterial, such as spiritual well being
Supporting- delivering the most basic elements of an ecosystem including,
nutrient cycling, soil formation, or pollination.

U.S. farmers are angry about losing their water privileges or their jobs because of
salmon or spotted owls.

Strategies to defend and restore coastal ecosystems have been ignored in favor of
engineering projects that accelerate erosion and habitat lose.

Once there, the dust, pollutants, microorganisms and nutrients accompanying the sand play a part in wiping out the coral reefs- reducing tourism and fisheries.

Overgrazing and unsustainable farming practices in northern and sub-Saharan Africa have fueled poverty, famine and malnutrition regionally and undermined corals and economics half a world away.

Human health is threatened when ecosystems and natural cycles break down. Almost two million people die every year because of inadequate or unclean water supplies. Conserving wetlands and forests would reduce those deaths.

Wetlands produce natural filters that improve water quality for drinking and agriculture; healthy forests lock up sediment that would otherwise become muddy water.

Saving forests and grasslands would reduce plumes of dust originating in Africa and the even larger ones crossing the Pacific Ocean from western China that recently have been linked to a rise in the U.S. of asthma cases.

Two thirds of the worlds emerging diseases, such as Ebola virus and avian flu are caused by pathogens that infect non human animal hosts and only make contact with people because of changes in land use and agricultural practices.

The future of the ecosystem may depend on the unlikely collaboration of ecologists and finance experts.

The world bank is encouraging nations to embrace green accounting methods, in which economic assets and national productivity assessments include measures that credit environmental and ecosystem services and subtract degradation that result from pollution or destructive extraction.

Many believe conservationists are in denial about the state of the world and must stop clinging to a vision of pristine wilderness.

One quarter of a million join the planet every day. More forests and wetlands will be cleared for agriculture and more ocean species will be fished to depletion. Biodiversity is going to decline. Wilderness seperate from human influence is no longer going to exist.

Because or environment will consist mainly of human-influenced systems, biodiversity protection be pursued in the context of landscapes that include urban centers, intensive agriculture, and managed forests and rivers not just nature reserves.

Chernobyl Health Article

Read the article, Chernobyl’s effects linger on ( and answer these questions.

1. When was this article published?
This article was published May 10, 2000.

2. Why will restrictions on some food continue in the United Kingdom and former Soviet Union for another 50 years? Restrictions will last that long because “They found that the environment is not cleaning itself as fast as previously thought, and that radioactivity can be released to the soil again after it has been absorbed.” --article

3. Where have high levels of radioactive caesium been measured?
High levels of radioactive caesium have been found in Norway and Cumbria.

4. What happened to the levels of radioactive caesium during the first five years after the Chernobyl accident? The levels of radioactive caesium decreased by a factor of ten during the first five years after the Chernobyl accident.

5. Describe why levels of radioactive cesium are not decreasing anymore.
Levels of radioactive cesium are not decreasing anymore because “With many chemical processes there can be a back reaction, when the contamination diffuses out. Here the rate of absorption is slowing, and it's being matched by diffusion.”--Dr.Smith

6. Why is diffusion of radioactive cesium back into the environment occurring? Explain the physical principle behind this diffusion. The diffusion of the release of radioactive cesium back into the environment occurs because of a concentration gradient which causes a balance in radioactivity and in the soil.

7. How long will the United Kingdom have to continue restrictions on sheep from the Cumbria region as a food item for humans? The restriction on sheep will last from 10 to 15 years.

8. How long will forest berries, fungi, and fish from parts of the former Soviet Union remain restricted? The forest berries, fungi, and fish from parts of the former Soviet Union will remain restricted for another half-century.

All rights reserved. Science NetLinks Student Sheets may be reproduced for educational purposes.Chernobyl’s Effects – E-Sheet Questions

Lesson Title: The Chernobyl Disaster Page 2 of 2
Now read Chernobyl Children Show DNA Changes and answer these questions.

1. Who are the children that this article is about? To whom were they born?
The children that this article is about are children born after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and they were born to the parents who had cleaned up the reactor (a.k.a liquidator families.)

2. What are “liquidators”?
Liquidators are members of the clean up team sent in after the reactor exploded.

3. Why are scientists studying the children?
Scientists are studying the children because “there is evidence that low radiation doses can cause multiple changes in human DNA, that are passed on to future generations.”--article

4. What are the controls in this study?
The controls are the siblings of the children in the study.

5. Describe what scientists discovered about the children’s DNA.
Scientists discovered " that the origin of the changes is somatic mutation in the children conceived after parental exposure.”--article

6. Describe the factors that may be linked to the number of DNA changes observed in children. The factors that the passage of time between exposure and conception, and also the duration of the liquidators' work in the contaminated area.

Read Nuclear Energy Agency: Health Impact and answer these questions.

1. Describe what happens to DNA, cells, and organs after low and high doses of radiation.
“If the damage to DNA is slight and the rate of damage production is not rapid, i.e. at low dose rate, the cell may be able to repair most of the damage. If the damage is irreparable and severe enough to interfere with cellular function, the cell may die either immediately or after several divisions.”--article

“At low doses, cell death can be accommodated by the normal mechanisms that regulate cellular regeneration. However, at high doses and dose rates, repair and regeneration may be inadequate, so that a large number of cells may be destroyed leading to impaired organ function.”--article

2. Describe the acute health effects of the Chernobyl disaster.
Lower doses and dose rates do not produce these acute early effects, because the available cellular repair mechanisms are able to compensate for the damage. However, this repair may be incomplete or defective, in which case the cell may be altered so that it may develop into a cancerous cell, perhaps many years into the future, or its transformation may lead to inheritable defects in the long term. “--article

3. Describe the chronic or late health effects of the Chernobyl disaster.
“These late effects, cancer induction and hereditary defects, are known as "stochastic effects" and are those effects whose frequency, not severity, is dose dependent. Moreover, they are not radiation-specific and, therefore, cannot be directly attributed to a given radiation exposure.”--article

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Blue Footed Boobies

Can gather in thousands
Can swim, fly, and dive
Dives in water in a minimum of 3 feet
They risk breaking their wings by diving
They are blue footed
They mate by whoever has the best dance and whoever has the bluest feet gets the blue

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guppy Simulation


1. If being flashy and colorful attracts predators, why do you think guppies are so colorful?

Guppies are very colorful so they can attract female guppies and mate.

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: Poecilia reticulata

Origin: Brazil

Ave. Size: 1.4" or 3.5 cm

Coloration: Navy blue base, mottled pink, orange, and green. It has a green fin and bright fanned out tail.

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: Pike cichild

Scientific: Crenicichla alta

Origin: Trinidad and Latin America

4. View the guppy’s habitats, what habitat conditions would affect the predator populations?

If the habitat is a deep stream, then the predator populations will be very high. In a small dam habitat, predator populations would be little to none because there would be no room for predator movement. In a medium-small damthere would be a bearable predator population because there would be more room for predators to move around. Only small predators such as the rivulus could prosper in a shallow stream habitat.

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 is an evolutionary biologist who studied Trinidad's wild guppies, probably in Trinidad. He studied guppie distribution, size, color, and spot sizes.

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

Pool 1: The average male coloration would be very bright with lots of colors and large spots. There were very few predators, so guppies are able to have as flamboyant colors as they want.

Pool 2: In this pool there is a moderate predator population, so the average color is medium on the body and tail with medium spots.

Pool 3: There is very dull coloration in the guppies here because there is a high predator population. This means the guppies need to keep the colors and vibrancy to a bare minimum.

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)

If there is a higher predator population in one area, then the guppies need to have a drabber/duller coloration because they will be eaten if they stand out too much.

If there is a lower predator population in another area, then the guppies can have very bright colors because they won't be eaten as frequently.

If the predator population is medium then so is the guppy coloration because they may be eaten or they may not.

Guppy Simulation Summary

% of Brightest Guppies
(10 generations)

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

Trial 1

Guppy: Even Mix
: 30 Rivulus

50% 25% 12% 14%

Trial 2

Guppy: Even Mix
: 30 Rivulus, 30 Acara

24% 48% 17% 11%

Trial 3

Guppy: Even Mix
: 30 Rivulus, 30 Acara, 30 Cichlid


Trial 4

Guppy: Mostly Bright
: 30 Rivulus

5% 4%

Trial 5

Guppy: Mostly Drab
: 30 Rivulus, 30 Acara, 30 Cichlid

3% 8% 27% 63%
8. Describe how predators influence guppy coloration.

Predators influence the guppy coloration by making it brighter or drabber. If the predator population is high, then the guppy coloration is dull. If the predator population is low, then the guppy coloration is vibrant.

9. Was your hypothesis correct, use your data to justify your answer.

Yes it was correct because the data showed exactly what we had predicted. The coloration of the guppies was brighter with a smaller predator population. The coloration was also duller with a higher predator population. Lastly, when there was an even predator/guppy population there was medium coloration.

10. What does it mean that “male guppies live in a crossfire between their enemies and their would be mates”?

It means that male guppies live in situations where certain things are conflicting. For example they can either have a good fitness by being very bright and mating. Or they can be very dull and be able to camouflage from their predators. They can have one or the other, not both. So to be able to mate they are in danger of being spotted and becoming prey. By being dull they are in danger of not attracting a mate.

11. Why do you think guppies in different areas of the stream have different coloration?

The higher predator population in one area, the guppies need to have a drabber/duller coloration because they will be eaten if they stand out too much. The lower predator population in another area, the guppies can have very bright colors because they won't be eaten as frequently. The predator population is medium then so is the guppy coloration because they may be eaten or they may not.

12. What would happen to mostly drab guppies that were placed in a stream with very few predators?

They probably would be overpopulated because they would not have a high chance of being eaten by a predator anyways since they are so drab, but now that there are so few predators there would be an abundance of drab guppies.

13. What would happen to brightly colored guppies that were placed in a stream with many predators?

Their population might diminish because their flamboyancy would attract predators, and since there are a lot of predators, there will be very few guppies. Since they will all be eaten.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


What are ways in which preserving biodiversity locally might have a global effect?
When we are not cutting down trees and using other resources we don't need the trees from rain forests which is global. "Rain forests, for example, contribute both to the process of soil formation and help to regulate the climate through photosynthesis – both producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide. Wetlands act as sponge-like reservoirs in dry weather and help to filter and purify water. Coral reefs and mangrove swamps protect the land that they surround by reducing the effects of erosion."-link If you were in a rainforest, your local rainforest, the act of preserving it will effect the world globally so that there will be more trees to inhale the carbon dioxide which will help get rid of the massive amounts of carbon dioxide!

How does habitat destruction and loss of species effect more than just one area?
When a habitat is destructed and there is a loss of species this could in fact harm the food chain of other places with the lack of food which would then spread to not enough food and that causes a reaction in many areas according to what the species eats and where they get their food from.

How does preserving biodiversity enhance the life of people?
When preserving biodiversity this enhances the life of people because since things are like cycles they usually end up with humans at one point or another. For example, the ocean contains many life forms that feed off of another and usually end up with fish which we eat that which can enhance our food so our life too!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gases and Climate Change

1.Combustion Demo
Hypothesis of Combustion Demo: If the rubbing alcohol ignites properly, then the blue flame will come out then have some black in the bottle. Observation of combustion Demo: The bottle flew across the table 8 feet to the right and blue flame exploded out of the cap of the bottle and inside the bottle is a coat of black from the flame.
Combustion: Carbon dioxide comes from the breathing of living things. Nitrous oxide comes from the tropical forest. Methane comes from the remains of ruminants and termites. Water Vapour is the gaseous form of water.

2.Carbon Dioxide Gas Demo
Hypothesis Carbon Dioxide Gas: If the fizzing baking soda and the vinegar that formed the CO2 gas the flame will then make it turn blue and orange. Observation of Carbon Dioxide: The fizzy stuff carbon dioxide put out the flame because the candle needs oxygen to live and carbon dioxide doesn't have oxygen. Post on about article: I think it is very interesting about the global warming that Oceans have long been considered to be a sink for atmospheric carbon. And if it is releasing CO2 as a result of warming temperatures, the CO2 should be decreasing in the oceans. This kind of shocking to me that there is so much carbon dioxide in the world and I havn't even notice it probably because I don't think about it. I am definitely am more aware of it.

3.Hydrogen Gas Demo
Hypothesis Hydrogen Gas: The flame wil ignite because the hydrogen gas has oxygen inside of it. Observation of Hydrogen Gas: The Metal zinc was put into the Hydrogen and a chemical reaction was caused and the fire stayed until all of the zinc solid was gone and had made a bubbling sound. It is interesting that hydrogen is not an energy source, but a energy carrier. I never thought hydrogen was so flammable either.

4. Air Pressure Demo
Hypothesis Air Pressure: If the air pressure in the can will stop vapouring when it is out into the icebath. Observation Air Pressure: My hypothesis was correct niching happened the vapor stopped once put into the ice bath. Hypothesis Air Pressure: Once the can is turned right side up and put into the ice bath there will be a sizzle steam. Observation Air Pressure:The air pressure squeezed the can and crushed it. Differences between tests: the air pressure was trapped when the hole in the can when it hit ice water. We created a vacuum. The fact that "Researchers have found that changes in air pressure over the past 50 years bear the fingerprint of human influence." It is sad to me because we could you could have made a difference and yet we haven't and we are paying for it heavily now. It is interesting though, that air pressure has such an effect on the world.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ten Years of the Chernobyl Era Questions

1) If the chemicals were different in the explosion (not really nuclear,) how do you think this would have changed the explosion in history?

2) Why couldn't people eat crops during this time for the residents of nearby countries?

3) How do you think this explosion could have been prevented from happening?

4) What was the number of deaths in Ukraine? How do you think these deaths could have been prevented?

5) Do you think it was a good idea to have a competition to determine a long-term solution to cover the explosion cite?