Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

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.


Jake G.

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As many people know the day before Earth Day a huge fire on the BP Transocean Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig caused a huge leak 5,000 feet under, in the ocean, and killed 11 people.  Currently this leak is dumping approximately 5,000 t0 60,000 barrels a day into the water, scientist are not positive about how to measure the spill. Obviously this leak is extremely damaging to both nearby wildlife and humans. Brainstormed ideas to resolve this matter include:

1. burning it, which would then send high ammounts of pollutants into the atmosphere

2. attempts to cap it have failed

3. shooting golfballs or pieces of tires into the leak

4. riser tube to suck up oil

and others. All plans have either failed or done minimal help. Bp needs a new solution now!! Step up if you’ve got something better ; ]

It is estimated that 400 different sea life species are endangered by this leak. 25 million bird that fly over this area daily are endangered in the crucial time of Spring, for mating. The Brown pelican, recently removed from the endangered species list and Lousiana State bird, is the most affected bird of all.

This video link is a live feed of the oil spill currently mixed with some detergent chemicals:






– Chloe

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On Friday, D period class went outside to discuss the world’s biomes. I really liked going outside. It helped me visualize how our area would be different in different biomes. I liked the brochures idea, although as a result from School Loop dying and a power outage, many students did not have them in. That was a pity because I felt like we could have talked about biomes more/stayed outside longer. I noted the similarities and differences the alpine and tundra biomes had. They are both cold, have high winds, and had snow in the winter but less or not at all in the summer. The alpine was all over the globe, while the tundra was mostly in the Arctic Circle region. I really liked how the class was structured on Friday.

Jacques L.

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Ecology Walk

Last Thursday, we went on a nature walk with our biology teacher, Mrs. McCarron. We walked outside to the pond just outside our school. Though it is pretty polluted and gross, there is living organisms that inhabit the pond. These organisms affect the others survival. For example, the turtles eat the small fish and frogs. If the fish and frog population got smaller so would the turtle population. The turtle population also controls the fish and frog population. If the turtle population went down without the fish and frog population going down then the fish and frog population would become overpopulated and their food would become scarce. Wether they are controlling the population or providing food for another, different organisms affect other organisms survival.

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Usually when I’m out on a run I’m thinking mostly about trying to maintain my pace, which road I need to turn down next, and any homework I have due.  Unfortunately for me, when this thinking process is taking place I somehow manage to forget to do other important things such as you know breathing, but I usually manage to keep it together pretty good.  I decided that the next time I went out for a run, I would completely clear my mind from all my thoughts, and just observe what is ‘nature’.

I noticed that while I was running there was this large bush, which I almost thought it out to be a small tree.  Of course it wasn’t until later that I found out it actually was a shrub.  It was called a ‘Quince shrub’.  The reason I noticed this particular shrub was mainly from all of the bright pink flowers it had blooming.  As I got closer and examined it more clearly, I heard loud buzzing noises so my initial reaction was to just keep running!  But as I backed away I also saw some hummingbirds at the top circling it.  It was very interesting and of course naturally the process taking place right before my eyes was ‘pollination’.

To see a small part of pollination occurring was definitely cool and it got me thinking about how each organism in nature relies on one another to survive.  For example, if the Quince shrub did not produce any flowers, then the birds and the bees would not be able to survive since they rely on the nectar.  However, if the birds and bees did not fetch for the nectar and pick up pollen at the same time to disperse it as they fly to different plants, the flowers in question would not exist.  Overall, pollination and the relying of organisms to one another is an ongoing process that will definitely continue for years and years to come.

Jake Getz

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The Unabridged Tale of One Biology Class Hopelessly Lost and Against all Odds in the Uncharted Pentucket Territory

Good Sirs and Madams,

In our biology class, we went out of the civilized world and journeyed into a Land Lost of Time. This sector that our class explored was, as we soon discovered, a watering hole of sorts, filled with strange specimen and dangerous traps. On this heroic quest for knowledge we began to learn about ecology and the flow of energy throughout the animals and plants. For example, a plant produces eneregy from the sun by photosynthesis. Then the plant is eaten by the primary consumer like a wild antelope or a graceful butterfly and the energy is thus transmitted. This energy may then flow into another animal like a mystic wolf or feral cougar. On the ramble through the thick grasses and uneven roads, my patrol and I saw many phenomenal and noteworthy specimen.  Of these, one of the most notable was a marine fish in which we decided to name John Cleary, after the swashbuckling resemblance to one of my fellow classmates. These fish, we deduced  were at the upscale side of the food chain because of two reasons. One being that they were not plants and two being that they appeared to eat smaller organisms. Then, a thought of genius dawned upon one of my fellow troops that if the fish/John Cleary were not the primary producer then what was? A classmate pointed out that usually primary producers were green and so we began to suspect that the frogs were maybe the primary producer. Eventually we realized this was not so because not only did the frogs not photosynthesis but they also consumed organisms. If they consumed other organisms than they would be a consumer not a producer. Over the course of many minutes filled with illustrious and bitter arguing it came to the unanimous vote that the grass, algae, pond weeds, and other plants were the primary producers. The energy from these producers was consumed by smaller organisms which were then consumed by the frogs and fish. By this time it was pretty far into the period but the bell was not scheduled to ring for ten whole minutes. For fear of starvation our class had to resort to cannibalism. While eating some nice Homo Sapien I had a brain blast in my head and saw just how much organisms rely on other organism for survial. For example, if all the plants died then how would we survive? This is very scary and we should recycle to save to the trees.


-Ben Craig

(This wolf is at the top of its food chain)

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Yesterday, Sunday May 9th, I went on a walk around my yard.  I noticed many organisms.  First, I saw a bumblebee flying around.  It went up to a dandelion and pollinated it, then flew away.  The bumblebee was very large, probably half an inch large and wide.  Now that the bumblebee has pollinated the flower, the flower can now make its fruit. 

On my walk, I also saw a robin land on the grass.  It pecked the ground & pulled out a worm, then flew away, back to its nest I think.  I heard small birds chirping, so I’m guessing the bird was getting food for its babies.  A few other interesting things that I saw on my walk were pine and oak trees.  These trees were very green and were gr0wing large.  A few months ago, these trees did not have leaves on them. They are now in full-bloom. 

I also went to the river near my yard.  There, I observed a bass eating  a smaller fish.  This made me ask myself what the smaller fish ate, and so on.  Although I do not know what kind of fish it was, I’d like to find out eventually.  My nature walk made me observe many parts of nature that I would not have noticed otherwise.


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A furry creature

On Sunday morning I took a walk around my backyard to see what I could find. Like our walk around the pond in the front of the school, I had my eyes peeled for any sign of life.  As I was walking around I noticed the chipmunks scurrying up the trees. Sometimes the chipmunks come down and then go and hide in spots near my house. I currently have two dogs who are not very found of the chipmunks. When ever they see chipmunks they stand very still and wait for the perfect moment to chase them. For some reason they think that the chipmunks want to play, but I am pretty sure the poor chipmunk is probably scared out out of their mind.  . The chipmunks like my house because there are many little small places where they can create burrows. Burrow entrance are usually about 2 inches in diameter. The chipmunk carries the dirt in its cheek pouches and scatters it away from the burrow, making the burrow entrance less conspicuous.  My dogs try and find these borrows by sniffing them out, and sometimes they find them but most the time they are hidden too well. Chipmunks also like my backyard because there is a forest and many trees in my backyard. There they can get a good source of nuts and have many burrows where they can store their nuts. Chipmunks are small rodents/mammals and able to get from one place to another pretty quickly and when it comes to out running my dogs they are always successful, but I make sure if I see a chipmunk out that I do not let my dogs out. I love all animals and even though they can be annoying and and chew through things and make holes around the yard they are still a living creature.

Here are some facts about the Eastern Chipmunk which are the ones that roam my backyard.

  • two more front teeth than other chipmunks
  • can carry up to 9 nuts in their cheek pouch
  • sleeps up to 8 days at a time
  • most active during the early morning and late afternoon
  • chipmunks are omnivores
  • diet consists of grains, acorns, nuts, berries, seeds, mushrooms, insects and even bird eggs.

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Organisms effect one anothers survival in many ways. Some organisms [producers]  make their energy directly from the sun, and are a food source for other organisms. Other organisms may eat these organisms, and then another organism may eat that organism, and so on. If a producer dies out then the entire cycle of organisms getting their energy is changed, because in turn each organism that eats an organism that eats the producer will have lost a food source and have a harder time gaining energy. A parasite feeds off of another organism, and if its organism dies, then that parasite has got to find a new host. In addition, when an organism decomposes, scavengers and other decomposers eeat that organism. If these creatures didn’t eat the decomposing organisms, or did not have the decomposing organisms as food, then they would have a huge problem finding food. For instance, when I took a walk around the pond at my school, I noticed how organisms effect one another. My class, humans, caused a lot of fish int he pond to swim deeper as we approached, and frogs swam away as we tried to catch them. The frogs effected the water bugs by eating them.

I also noticed many intertwining food chains on our walk. I noticed that caterpillars ate the grass, and then birds would eat the caterpillars. Also, water bugs would eat smaller bugs, and then frogs ate the water bugs. There was also rodents of some kind eating grass and such, which were then eaten by a garden snake.


The sun ultimately provided all the energy for these roganisms. However, grass, leaves, nuts, etc. provided energy as well, although not as much as could be obtained directly from the sun. Then smaller bugs and rodents would eat the grass, leaves, nuts, etc. The smaller bugs may be eaten by a frog, maybe a bird, water bugs, etc. A rodent would possibly be eaten by a snake, or maybe a beighborhood cat. The water bugs would be eaten by frogs, birds, etc. The food chain would go on and on.

If all of the plants died, this food chain would totally collapse. These organisms would have nowhere to obtain the nutrients and energy that they need. I would assume that over time, all the levels of the food chain would either die out, or be forced to find another food source.

If another organism died, dependign on the organism, the organisms feeding off of it would need to find a new source of food. Otherwise they would die. However, the organism or other source that this organism got their food from would probably grow in population, because it was not being eaten by that other organism any longer.

Its difficult to make accurate predictions of the ways other organisms would change without other organisms in their ecosystems. Organisms typically feed on a variety of things [unless they get their energy from the sun]. So, if one food source disappears, the organism may not be totally dependent on it as a food source, and simply may resort to eating a different organism. This would, of course, decrease the populations of the other food sources, and the organism who feeds on them may shrink in population size for lack of food. The delicate balance of an ecosystem is hard to really understand from all angles.

I noticed a lot of interesting things on my walk around my school’s pond. The trees more recently grew more leaves, and the grass has finally became bright green again with the changing of the season. The temperature fluxuates a lot still. however, because its still mid-spring. There were a lot of fish in the pond, which suprised me. I figured there wouldn’t really be many fish, or that they couldn’t live in the pond, just because its the school pond and I never really thought much about organisms living in the water. There were also a lot of medium-sized frogs, about the size of my palm, in the water. They were mostly immersed in the water, hiding in the weeds. Some of the members of my class tried to catch them with our bare hands, but the frogs moved too quickly in the water for them to suceed. There was also a bird flying, really high, circling around the field near the pond. There was also a lot of butter-cup weed-flowers, and other little weed-flowers. I saw duckweed too. There were ducks and geese in the pond, but they always stayed far away from my class. There were a lot of water bugs in the water too, and they moved really quickly ontop of the water.

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Earthworms may just be the most invasive species on the planet, second only to humans.

I was camping in Veasey Park in Groveland over the weekend, and we were looking for earthworms to use for fishing. One of the adults came over and asked whether or not earthworms were native to North America. Turns out that they were brought over by European settlers, and have drastically changed the landscape. Leaves and other forest detritus used to be a foot high in the woods. This litter gave nutrients to the growth beneath the forest canopy. Earthworms deposited by European root balls and the like moved into the forest and ate the decaying matter. This leaves the undergrowth without nutrients, and so forests with a high amount of earthworms will seem very “clean;” You will actually see soil instead of leaves. However, this cleanliness means that animals that feed on the undergrowth, such as rabbits and deer, can’t live in these areas. When these animals move away, animals that eat them, such as foxes and wolves, also have to move. So, in conclusion, two little worms hitchhiking on a boat to Jamestown have permanently changed the North American ecosystem, and not for the better.

By Steven S.
Yellow Red Blue

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Gifford Woods State Park, 34 Gifford Woods, Killington, Vt.


It’s not easy nowadays to find an open stretch of land untapped by humans in some fashion, even the rolling Appalachians of New England were once completely shaven for the lumber industry in early America. One thing you will find, however, is that nature has the fascinating ability to recover itself in the long run. Even if given bare rock and air you can find, that after thousands of years, the most complex and amazingly colorful ecosystems forming, and with every cycle, every life, every death,  the ecosystem evolves, changes, ever so slightly.  Most of this really hit me one time when I was hiking on a trail close to Rutland, Vermont going up a shallow-incline mountain [to which I can’t place a name]. My father and I were talking about how the forest used to be when he was young as me. He talked about how the trees that he had seen when he was my age seemed just a little smaller than they were that day we went up to Vermont. He talked about how in the 1800s almost the entire range of the Appalachian mountains, apart from a handful of old growth trees in secluded areas, was torn down for lumber. Looking around, I found it fascinating that after such a thing, so much nature, so many living things could survive out of such decimation. It shows plainly the strength of nature itself. Millions of years have adapted organisms to suit the sometimes hostile environment of the world, and the not-so-old trees I saw that ay demonstrated that perfectly. Each bird, carrying seeds from miles around, aids in the survival of the forest. Each little worm in the soil leaving in its wake healthy, usable soil. This correlation between the hundreds of different organisms in the universe is an almost flawless system, an extensive masterpiece, a work of art that has taken hundreds and millions of years to create, and is still not nearly finished. 

Deven McKee 

Video provided by~

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I went on a walk after school on Thursday, the 6th of May outside my house in West Newbury. I live on the Merrimack River, so i that was a good place for me to find nature. Along the river, I saw a veriety of animals. It was just about 6:30 at night, so the water bugs were just starting to come out. The bugs were able to sit on top of the water and jump around. I saw 2 fish jump out of the water. they were frown and slimy looking and they were trying to eat the little water bugs on the surface. There were lot of plants along the river bank. Most of which were green grass sort of plants. Alot of the trees were hanging and elaning over the edge of the river. I thought it was funny how they would not grow up strait. I think it is because they like the water beter than the pavement on their other side. If these trees and grasses were not there, the world would look really different, and would not function. Plants produce oxygen, and without oxygen, humans cannot breathe. Therefore, without prodecers, the rest of the world cannot live. On the way back to my house, I saw 4 wild turkeys in my driveway. Three were females and one was a male, i think. The male was showing off his huge brown feathers to the females. I think that means that it is breeding time for the turkeys, and that he was trying to get girls. Overall, my walk along the Merrimack River was very interesting.

– Dori Sarkis

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How do organisms affect one another’s survival?

Organisms can be separated into two main groups according to what they eat, autotrophs and heterotrophs.  An autotroph is a producer that makes its own food.  Heterotrophs are consumers and can be either carnivores (eat animals) or omnivores (eat both animals  & plants).

On the class trip outside I observed many things that support these facts about the food chain and ecology.  For example birds eating insects.  I also observed fish and their nests around the pond.  In addition, there were many different plants that help animals to survive by providing food for them,  the plants also help filter the water and provide oxygen.

An example of this in nature is that worms and other insects are eaten by birds and other animals to provide nutrients for the animal that eats them.  Also another example of this in nature is that plants provide energy for herbivores and omnivores.

If all of the plants died then so would all of the herbivores and the animals that feed on the  herbivores.  It would eventually lead to an entire disaster because all organisms would starve and die.

If one organism dies it does not have as much of an impact on the ecosystem than if an entire species because there would still bee food/energy to provide for all of the other organisms.

It is difficult to make accurate predictions about changes in communities of organisms.  This is because you never know if the organisms could make adaptations and still survive.  We would never really know until the situation actually happens.

Amanda C.

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