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Since I didnt attend the field trip, I decided to research sand dollars for my topic. Sand dollars are very interesting. There are sea cookies or snapper biscuit in New Zealand, or the pansy shell in South Africa which refers to species of extremely flattened, burrowing echinoids belonging to the order Clypeasteroida. Some species within the order, not quite as flat, are known as sea biscuits. Related animals include the sea urchins, sea cucumbers and starfish.They possess a rigid skeleton known as a test. The petal-like pattern in sand dollars consists of five paired rows of pores. The pores are perforations in the endoskeleton through which podia for gas exchange project from the body. The mouth of the sand dollar is located on the bottom of its body at the center of the petal-like pattern. The anus of sand dollars is located at the back rather than at the top as in most urchins, with many more bilateral features appearing in some species. Sand dollars live beyond mean low water on top of or just beneath the surface of sandy or muddy areas. The spines on the somewhat flattened underside of the animal allow it to burrow or to slowly creep through the sediment. Fine, hair-like cilia cover the tiny spines. Podia that line the food grooves move food to the mouth opening, which is in the center of the star-shaped grooves on the underside of the animal . Its food consists of crustacean larvae small copepods, diatoms, algae and detritus

By Marissa Elwell

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At the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, I saw an abundant number of marine animals, all of which were very interesting to observe and to take pictures of. Many of the sea creatures provoked feelings and emotions from me. The animal that provoked the most response and the most feelings from me were the California Sea Lions. They intrigued me greatly, probably because they were the most captivating and entertaining to watch. they were giant and very amusing to watch.

The feelings that the California Sea Lions provoked from me were intense. The feelings that I experienced was the senses of calmness and relaxation, as they were swimming fastly but gracefully under the water, but as the came out onto the rocks and started speaking, I felt the intense feeling of amusement, awe and excitement.

I felt that we made a great decision to go to the Aquarium.  I liked the Auditorium and the outside exhibits most. They spaced out the exhibits perfectly. I would recommend schools to go there for field trips. One thing I would change about the whole experience was I would ask the Aquarium to get rid of the seagulls swarming around the eating area.

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After a very long bus ride to Connecticut, we arrived at the aquarium. We drove all the way to Mystic Connecticut from our school in northeast Massachusetts.

After walking around and checking everything out all day, we had learned a lot and seen tons of stuff. Thanks to the aquarium employees, who seamed to be talking your ear off every time you turned around, we learned about every single thing we saw.

After an hour of wandering around we found ourselves in the hard bench seats of the auditorium. There was a full audience and a deep pool set up where a stage might usually be. We watched a sea lion show in these seats and it was very impressive. Sea lions are very smart animals and they were probably the most impressive animal we saw all day. Besides the acribatic tricks they preformed, the trainers gave us tons of information on the animals. I thought it was very interesting to learn sea lions are actually pretty close to humans, and have many of the same traits. There are even some strangly close features such as the sea lions bones in what would be its arm and hand. The sea lion has several bones that make up five fingers. This is one of the many interesting parts to the sea lion that make them one of the smartest animals in the world. We watched the sea lions look a row of shapes and be able to find and choose the shape it was set out to find. I think most found the quick swimming and 8 feet of air they got when flying out of the air but the intelligence side to them is also interesting.

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There are many adaptations that
flora and fauna must have in order to survive.
During our field trip to Plum Island, I noticed many different kinds of
adaptations that the plants had developed.
Many of the plants had deep roots in order to retain water because they
live in sand.  Because the plants are
living in sand, the long roots help the plant to reach a water source.  The plants also had waxy leaves in order to
wick the salty ocean water away.  By wicking
the salt away from its roots, the plant avoids becoming dried out from the
salt.  Many of the plants were very flexible.  This flexibility helps the
plant to survive because it helps the plant move with the water instead of
trying to stand in powerful waves.  The flora at Plum Island has adapted over the years to withstand the extreme
conditions that the beach has to offer.

As I walked the beach at Plum Island, I noticed that not only the flora had
adaptations, but the fauna did also.
These animals, including seagulls, fish, etc. have evolved to live on
the beach or in the ocean.  The seagulls
had webbed feet so that they could float and move around in the ocean water.  I also noticed that they had hard, curved
beaks to help them to break the shells of their prey.  The fish had gills so that they could take in
oxygen from the ocean water.  They also had scales that could help them to camouflage from their prey.  Finally, I saw many crabs that had claws for protection from their predators.  Some of the crabs had multicolored patterns in order to scare off their predators.  The fauna at Plum Island have adapted and will continue to adapt as the climate and conditions of the beach change.

The adaptations of flora and fauna are directly related to the changes that occur
at the beach.  For example, as the climate gets colder, the flora and fauna must change in order to survive.  As the climate gets cooler, the plants must get more hardy and durable.  The fauna must also create adaptations to stay warm and get through the winter.  As Plum Island changes, the flora and fauna will adapt accordingly.

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The Oil spill that has happened in the Gulf of Mexico isn’t that bad. It will only kill thousands of plants and animals but, who really cares about the baby turtles, fish and birds. They shouldn’t deserve to live since they are stupid enough to eat the oil. Anyways, the CEO of Bp, Tom Hayward says “the effects will be very modest” so don’t bother worrying about it. This HAS to be true cause he would never lie about this.

Also, the Gulf of Mexico is a big OCEAN and the oil spill is only a small portion of it. If worse comes to worse the oil may disperse into the marshes and possibly into the Gulf stream which will then travel all over the world. These marshes only harbor a entire ecosystem. Take for example the brown Pelican. Some of these birds are so incrusted in oil that they cant fly and the fish they eat to survive are dying too. As of this moment there has been no solution to fixing this minor problem and were looking for solutions so if you have any ideas please share.

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The Gulf oil leak is hurting all the organisms in the water.  Not only are the organisms living in the water feeling the effects, but others are too.  The pelicans have been covered in the nasty oil.  More than 65 miles of Louisiana shore line has been covered.  Two major pelican rookeries are filled and many marshes.  They are now using chemicals to break down the steady flow of the oil.  This solution is safer for the birds and keeps the oil away from land.  The fish are usually incapable of handling the harsh chemical and are usually killed.  The chemicals migrate fast and effect many fish in many areas.  I do not believe this is the right solution.  I think they should take the fish into consideration and not just the birds.  This oil spill is taking a harsh tole on these poor organisms.

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Personally, I thought that researching my biome was interesting. I learned a ton of information about the freshwater biome from the research that I did, and I also learned additional information from the presentations that were given in class too. Most of my research was focused on marshes like the everglades in Florida. Some of the animals that live in the everglades are the alligator, crocodile, and over 350 species of birds. I also found the arctic, savanna, and tropical biomes very interesting. In a freshwater biome, particularly in the everglades, about 60 inches of rain fall per year. Overall finding out all of this new information about biomes that I did not fully know about was very eyeopening and interesting.

water

Jake G.

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