Monday, November 1, 2010

Sex and the Single Guppy

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

One reason that the guppies are so colorful is because the genes are passed done from past generations. The bright colors on the males also attract female guppies. The females are more drab and grey, which makes them less visible to their predators. The higher amounts of courtship the male guppy has, the more likely the chance they will be able to mate. Females preferred males with higher courtship rates.

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.

The common name of the fish we chose was the Guppy or the millions fish. The scientific name of it is Poecilla Retriculata. The average size of it is 1.4 inches or 3.5 centimeters. The fish has an orange and black fin on its back and the back tail is a green. The main body of the fish has splotches of yellow and around it is a charcoal black. The lower fin, like the tail, is also green.

3. After viewing the predator gallery, pick the fish you find most interesting. What is the fish’s common name, scientific name, and origin?

The common name of the fish we chose was the Pike Cichlid. The scientific name is the Crenicichla Alta. The average size is 12 inches or 20 centimeters. The fish is mainly pink and it has different hues of the color. Some of the pink shades include, bubble gum pink, a purply pink, dark pink, etc.

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

Habitat conditions that could affect predator populations include natural rock dams, small pools, and open rivers. Guppies that live above small rock dams face a moderate amount of predators, while guppies that live above large rock dams enjoy little to no predators. Small pools of water can sustain small numbers of guppies, but are not deep enough for larger predators. The place where predators thrive are the large open rivers with lots of water and no hidden places.

5. Who is John Endler? What did he study and where did he study it?

He studied the evolution of guppies and how their colors affected them in Trinidad. DEGREES: B.A. in Zoology, honors with distinction, University of California, Berkeley, 1969. Ph.D. in Zoology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1973. Worked with profs. Bryan C. Clarke, Douglas Falconer, and Alan Robertson (Clarke was my Ph.D. supervisor).

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

Pool 1: In pool 1, the guppies are extremely bright with multi-colored, large spots. There is a total of 75 guppies in Pool 1. There is also a total of 12 predators in the pool.

Pool 2: In pool 2, the guppies are medium coloration on the body and tail, with medium sized spots. There is a total of 83 guppies in Pool 2 and 22 predators as well.

Pool 3: In pool 3, the males have drab coloration and they have very small spots concentration near the tail. There is a total of 110 guppies Pool 3 and there are 42 predators as well.

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)

Predators are causing guppy populations to become more drab by preying on the most brightly colored individuals.

8. Describe how predators influence guppy coloration.

Predators influence guppy coloration by eating the guppies that are easiest to find. By way of illustration, if the most vibrant guppies are the easiest to find, the population of the drabbest guppies will surpass the population of the most vibrant.

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

Our hypothesis was incorrect because the predators preyed mostly on the more drab fish. The brighter fish, overall, had the higher population throughout the whole simulation.

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

Male guppies live in a crossfire because if they are brightly coloured they attract the most mates but have a higher chance of getting eaten, but if they are dark coloured they have a harder time attracting mates, but have a lower chance of getting eaten.

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

We think that there are different areas of the stream have different coloration because there are different populations in each area. Not every area has the same number of fish. There could be a different amount of drab and bright guppy fish in the area. Unless the fish move from the one area to another, than the population will not change.

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

If mostly drab guppies were placed in a stream with few predators, their population would would level out with the vibrant guppies.

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

When the bright guppies with all of the predators, they did not survive. The population was only at 1%, but when they there with only two of the predators, 78% of the population of the brighest guppies survived with the Rivulus and Acara. When with just the rivulus, they were at 54%. For Trail 4, their population was 65%. For the bright colored guppies, the population was surprisingly lower. The population started at 14%, and than 22% and 1%. For Trail 4, the bright had the highest percent at 30%.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Galápagos Islands Tortoise

The Galápagos Islands Tortoise is the largest tortoise in the world, reaching over 800 pounds and lengths of over six feet. They usually live to be around 150 years old. The oldest giant turtle, named Jonathan, lived to be 175 years old. These extraordinary animals can go a year without food or water and still maintain a weight of 550 pounds. The Galápagos Islands Tortoise can accomplish this by sleeping for around 16 hours a day. The ancestor of these animals was most likely a regular sized tortoise.
They could have become larger after their arrival due to the fact that there was no longer a need to hide from predators and that
there was no competition for food. As the tortoises spread to different islands, they turned into the different races that we have
today. Of all the amazing animals on The Galápagos Islands, The Galápagos Islands Tortoise is definitely one of them.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Q: What are ways in which preserving biodiversity locally might have a global effect?
A: The rainforest and the animals that live in it have been described as the lungs of the Earth. The rainforest is responsible for turning 20% of the Earth's carbon dioxide into oxygen. With the deforestation of the rainforest comes more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This could result in a much warmer climate because of the greenhouse effect.


Q: How do habitat destruction and loss of species affect more than just one area?
A: The Global Biodiversity Outlook and the world bank have done research and found that if 20% of the Amazon rainforest is deforested, it would cause a significant dieback of other forests around the world.

Q: How does preserving biodiversity enhance the life of people?
A: Having biologically diverse ecosystems enhance the lives of people because ecosystems with more diversity are healthier and healthier environments mean better resources.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gasses and Climate Change

1. Combustion Demo
Hypothesis: If the rubbing alcohol is ignited, then it will create a noise and black soot.
Observation: My hypothesis was correct. The rubbing alcohol ignited and created a large blue flame, along with a "wooshing" noise and shot the bottle 8 feet. After the bottle was looked at more closely there was condensation and black soot.

Today I learned that combustion can cause a warming affect on the Earth. This change in the Earth's climate can destroy natural habitats that once flourished.

2. CO2 Gas Demo
Hypothesis: If the gas is put near a flame, then it will ignite.
Observation: My hypothesis was incorrect. Gas put out out the flame because there was not enough oxygen for the flame to continue to burn.

3. Hydrogen Gas Demo
Hypothesis: If the liquid is combined with the metal, then it will turn into a gas.
Observation: My hypothesis was partly correct. There was a gas produced after the experiment that was flammable. When it was ignited it made a popcorn like noise. The metal was also dissolved.

4. Air Pressure Demo
Try #1
Hypothesis: If the can with steam in it is placed in the ice water, then the steam will turn back into water because of condensation.
Observation: My hypothesis was incorrect. Nothing happened.
Try #2
Hypothesis: If the can is paced in the ice water upside down, then bubbles will come out of the water.
Observation: My hypothesis was incorrect. The can crushed as soon as it touched the water.

Research: For the first time ever, scientists have noticed a change in air pressure caused by humans. The air is moving in different patterns which is causing less rain in certain areas an more in others. The circulation of different temperature is gradually warming the Earth, contributing to the global climate change.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ten Years of the Chornobyl Era Questions

1) What is radiation and how can it affect the human body?

2) How was the Chornobyl disaster caused?

3) How many times more radiation was let out during the disaster than in the Hiroshima bombing? How much radiation was let out?

4) How many square kilometers where contaminated? What countries where affected?

5) What is being done to stop the radiation from spreading?

Monday, August 30, 2010

5 Pannel Questions

1) How many of you think that the canal is safe?

2) What have agencies done to clean up the mess?

3) Is there any proof that there is still enough chemicals to cause birth defects or kill someone.

4) How many chemicals are left and how much of it.

5) Would you live there today?

Catalyst 8-30-10 Answers

1.)What caused the toxic waste to begin being pushed to the surface?
Answer: The blizzard and heavy rain of 1977 filled the "bathtub" where the chemicals where. When the "bathtub" filled, a water chemical sludge oozed out and contaminated storm drains, wells, and even streams around the love canal area.

2.) What are some of the health hazards associated with the chemicals dumped there?
Answer: The problem with the Love Canal disaster is that nobody really knew what was dumped into the canal. Also, because the EPA had just started, there was very little knowledge on what these chemicals could do. All they really knew was that there was dioxin in the canal which could cause birth defects.

3.) Besides humans how are other parts of the ecosystem affected by this?
Answer: The parts of the ecosystem that where affected by this where, the underground animals like ground hogs or even the worms; the fish that swam in the contaminated streams; any animal that drank the contaminated water; and lastly, any animals that ate the smaller animals, like bears.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hazards of Oil Dispersants

1. While researching the effects of chemical dispersants I found some pretty startling things. I found that British Petroleum is using a chemical called Corexit which alone is extremely toxic, but when combined with oil is even more toxic. When oil is left alone it does not sink as fast so it is much less harmful. If oil does not sink it cannot harm the coral, grasses, or smaller animals; but with dispersant it harms anything below the oil, above the oil, or around the oil. If smaller animals ingest the polluted grass they will become contaminated, which will contaminate everything above the small fish in the food chain.

2. Wether or not fixing one problem creates another depends on what you are dealing with. For example, if you spill some water and you wipe it up, you aren't creating a new issue. But, in British Petroleum's case yes. The oil spill by itself was extremely devastating but by adding the toxic dispersant, they are creating a combination that is even more lethal than the oil itself. When the oil is left alone, it can bio degrade very easily, but with the dispersant it remains in the water for may more years. In conclusion, when British Petroleum added the dispersant, they created a worse problem than they had before.

3. In my opinion, the chemical dispersant is way more toxic than the oil. The dispersant also allows the oil/chemical mixture to go places that would have never been harmed by the spill without the introduction of the chemical dispersant. The chemical dispersant also allows the oil to get into fishes gills and other parts of their bodies which could contaminate millions of fish that would have been unaffected by the spill. In other words, the introduction of the chemical dispersant has caused much greater disaster than if the oil was just left alone.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chemical Dispersant Questions

1. Is chemical dispersant really toxic?

2. Have more animals died since the introduction of the dispersant?

3. What chemicals are in the dispersant and how toxic are they?