*** Several questions and interesting comments were made during lecture and here is a couple of responses.
Question 1: Check out a sea slug…
– Interestingly, I found an entire website devoted to sea slugs. I thought it was shocking that there was a “forum” to discuss everything about sea slugs. (http://www.seaslugforum.net/general.htm) I would suggest checking out the site because there are details upon details about sea slugs… however, here are a few tidbits that were especially interesting.
- The order includes upto 77 families and many subfamilies and underneath these families and subfamilies include 100’s, possible 1000’s of species, making for a very diverse phylogeny.
- Some sea slugs are edible. (Yum!) According to the website listed above, most sea slugs are considered mollusks and so some seafood recipes call for a sea slug, specifically the species of a sea cucumber (not to be confused with a regular cucumber, which goes really well in salads) However most are poisonous.
- Sea slugs are important in lab testing due to their simple nervous system (brain) and they have very very large nerve cells which allows for easy mapping.
—–This sea slug website included this quote, which I included because it relates to out ecology unit, and I think relating things in science allows for a better appreciation of everything. “To understanding life histories and population survival therefore, we have to understand not just the life cycle and biology of one species, but the life cycle and biology of its food, its predators and many physical aspects of the environment.” (http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/popfluc)
Question 2: What is a little ice age?
– The information I found about little ice ages were about the historical “little” ice age that occurred in medival times. According to the Environmental History Resouce website (http://www.eh-resources.org/timeline/timeline_lia.html), the Little Ice Age occurred between 1300 and 1870 in Europe and involved extremely hard winters and overall harsh climates in otherwise habitable human environments. Causes could have been a particular way the sun was hitting the Earth at the time called: “Mauder Minimum” and a “coincidence of low sunspot activity.” (Huh?) The graph below shows how years corresponded with the sunspot observations and we can conclude that we have a higher rate of sunspot in present day times, so a conclusion could be that we may enjoy a more stable, more habitable climate. (Though, observe some recent extreme peaks, which leads me to believe that pollution leading to global warming may not be the only explanation to global climate increases. Not that I believe pollution is acceptable behavior to our lovely Earth.)
Question 3: What areas are relic species found?
– We know from discussion in class that most relic species are found in remote areas like islands, an example being an anteater in Australia. However, I couldn’t find any further information and maybe the next person to blog might be more successful in finding more information on relic species.
Question 4: What benefits and effects does an ecosystem engineer have on an organism?
- According to the website, The Encyclopedia of Earth, (http://www.eoearth.org/article/Ecosystem_engineer) the zebra mussel increases water filtration which allows for increased visualization deeper into a body of water which may cause increase predation from predators and also an increase in algea growth.
- Another example is the caterpillar and while it creates its own shelter, it may be creating a shelter for another organism.
- Most of us appreciate the beaver as a very common ecosystem engineer. The beaver creates dams, which stills water. Unmoving water creates a great environment for other species such as insects, algea and other organisms.
- Corals impact ocean life, in the sense that that are protecting other organisms for large waves and also providing shelters and environments for ocean life.
*** Things to keep in mind for the upcoming quiz:
Know the Density graph
2. Characteristics of R/K Species
3. Typical Trends in Succession
*** Soils – increase in nutrients, increase in soil depth, increase in organic matter and development of soil horizons.
4. And also keep in mind the differences between food and nutrients.
*** Food has energy stored in it (Carbon) and nutrienst lacks energy needed to sustain an organism.