Daniel's Journal

Biology and stuff

1. A. What is sustainable living? B. How could someone achieve sustainable living? C. Do you personally think you could reach sustainable living?

A. Sustainable living is a lifestyle that doesn't rely too heavily on Earth's natural resources.

B. They could use less electricity, drive less, and waste less things.

C. Yes, I could drive an electric car and use solar power for my house.

2. Fossil fuels vs Renewable energy- compare and contrast the two forms of energy. Look at the cost financially to humans and environmentally to the Earth. Convince someone to conserve energy.

Fossil Fuels:

  • Non-renewable
  • Damages environment
  • Costs 26.89 cents per kwh
  • Releases 57% of the world's greenhouse gasses

Renewable Energy:

  • Infinite
  • Doesn't damage the environment
  • Costs 21 cents per kwh
  • Hydropower might hurt rivers

You should use renewable energy so you don't kill Earth. It is also slightly less expensive.

3. A. What does it mean to recycle? B. Why should someone recycle? C. How long does it take for these to decompose (a-j)? D. Did any of these surprise me?

A. When you take the materials from one object and use them to make another object.

B. People should recycle so that we don't use up any more of Earth's resources.

C. Time of decomposition for the following objects:

a. Tin Can: 50 years

b. Glass Bottle: 1 to 2 million

c. Disposable Diaper: 550 years

d. Wood: 10 to 15 years

e. Paper: 2 to 6 weeks

f. Plastic Grocery Bag: 20 to 100 years

g. Styrofoam Cup: 1 million years

h. Aluminum Can: 200 to 500 years

i. Cotton T-shirt: 5 months

j. Apple Core: 2 months

D. Lots of these surprised me. I didn't think that manufactured containers took so long to biodegrade. I can't believe that some of these things won't biodegrade until after 1 million years!

4. A. What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? B. What can we do here in Iowa to help decrease it, is it even possible?

A. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a large floating patch of garbage caused by circular currents in the Pacific Ocean. There are two main patches, one in the water between Hawaii and California, and one east of Japan. The currents of the Pacific Ocean can move garbage from one sub-patch to the other, but the spiraling currents are what makes the patches form.

B. We could help keep the patch from growing but we can't make it smaller ourselves. To make it smaller we would have to scoop it out while actually there.

5. Define two Biomes of the world, define an ecosystem found in each and explain the Biotic and Abiotic factors involved.

Two Biomes: Desert and Rain Forest

Desert - a biome in which the land gets very little precipitation

Rain Forest - a biome in which there are large canopy trees and lots of precipitation

Desert Ecosystem: Oasis

Rain Forest Ecosystem: Rain Forest Floor

Desert Oasis-

Biotic Factors: plants- palm trees, cacti, and shrubs can all survive at the oasis; animals- many animals can survive off of the plants and animals that congregate at oases

Abiotic Factors: the heat- the intense heat of the desert can make it hard to live; the water- the water from the oasis attracts animals; the sand- the sandy ground can give homes to burrowing creatures

Rain Forest Floor-

Biotic Factors: plants- the rain forest is home to many different species of plants; animals- a wide variety of animals can live in the rainforest due to the abundance of food

Abiotic Factors: the rainfall- due to all of the rainfall there are lots of plants and animals; the warm temperature- the warm and moist conditions help give the rain forest perfect conditions for all of the plants; the ground- the soft ground makes a good place for burrowing animals to live

6. Rain Forest Food Chain

Grass --> Insects ---> Birds ---> Owl ---> Lynx


Primary Producer: Grass

Primary Consumer: Insects, Birds

Secondary Consumer: Birds, Owl

Tertiary Consumer: Owl, Lynx

Quaternary Consumer: Lynx

Herbivore: Insects, Birds

Omnivore: Birds

Carnivore: Owl, Lynx

Scavenger: Lynx

Decomposer: Insects

7. A. What are Dead Zones in the Gulf of Mexico? B. What Causes this situation? C. What can be done to help stop them?

A. The Dead Zones in the Gulf of Mexico are areas where there isn't enough dissolved oxygen in the water to support life.

B. This phenomenon is caused by all of the nitrates and phosphates in the fertilizers that get washed into the Mississippi River and then into the Gulf of Mexico.

C. We should use less fertilizers and maybe artificially dissolve more oxygen into the water.

8. Define Keystone Species, give 2 examples; one a top predator and one not a top predator. Explain how their absence would affect the ecosystem.

Keystone Species is a species of plant or animal that plays a unique and crucial part in its ecosystem.

Grass - in the grasslands, grass is a keystone species. Without the grass none of the grazing animals would have food and thy would die out. Then the predators would start to die out.

Lions - lions are also a keystone species. Without lions the grazers would over populate and kill all the grass.

9. What is competitive Exclusive - define it and give 2 examples.

Competitive Exclusion is the principle that states that if two species are competing for the same resources, eventually one will die out.

Example - since lions and cheetahs compete for food, one day one of them will go extinct.

Example - since lions and hyenas compete for food, one of them will eventually go extinct.

10. Define the following terms and give 2 examples of each.

a. Coexistence - when two animals can live together and share the resources they need two survive.

i. Gazelles and Zebras share the grass they eat.

ii. Fish share the resources hey need to survive.

b. Parasites - a parasite is an organism that feeds off its host without killing it.

i. Ticks - they feed on the blood of the host

ii. Mosquitos - they also feed on the blood of the host

c. Mimicry - the close resemblance of an animal or plant to another animal, plant, or inanimate object

i. Imitation Hornets - they aren't really hornets but they look like they are

ii. Rock Crabs - they look like rocks

d. Mutualism - symbiosis that is beneficial to both organisms involved

i. Bee and flower - bees gather nectar to feed them selves but also spread pollen as they fly from flower to flower

ii. Humans and bacteria - there are bacteria that live inside human's (and other animal's) intestines. Humans can't digest everything they eat so they bacteria partially digest what we can't.

e. Commensalism - a symbiosis that benefits one organism without affecting the other

i. Barnacles and whale - Barnacles attach to whales to be where food is, doesn't affect the whale

ii. Orchids and tree - Orchids grow on trees to protect them from being eaten, doesn't affect the tree

11. A. Explain the Carbon Cycle and B. how do humans affect this cycle?

A. The carbon cycle is the process of carbon moving from the biosphere to the lithosphere to the hydrosphere to the atmosphere.

B. We affect this cycle by polluting the air, which puts too much carbon in the atmosphere.

12. A. What is global dimming? B. Where does it usually affect and why is it a problem?

A. Global dimming is the gradual dimming of the light from the sun that reaches earth caused by an increase in particles in the atmosphere.

B. It has a greater affect in cities that are polluted, and it is a problem because if it gets to bad then the earth will get really cold.

13. A. Explain the Greenhouse Effect. B. How do the carbon cycle and greenhouse effect go together?

A. The Greenhouse Effect happens when we release too many greenhouse gasses. The sunbeams get trapped in the atmosphere which heat the earth up.

B. The Carbon Cycle helps to get rid of carbon dioxide, a primary greenhouse gas, in the atmosphere, which would help to get rid of the greenhouse effect.

14. A. Define endangered species and give an example. B. How does a species become endangered? C. What if this species was a keystone species? What would happen to the current ecosystem? D. Why should humans care about the endangered species?

A. An endangered species is a species that is dangerously close to becoming extinct.

B. A species can become extinct from over hunting or if their ecosystem goes through a dramatic change.

C. If it was a keystone species, the ecosystem would be greatly affected.

D. We should care about endangered species because if they go extinct they will never be back, and most endangered species are valuable.

15. Invasive Species- define invasive species; give 2 examples how do they affect the ecosystem they are now invasive to. How did the invasive species arrive to their new ecosytem?

Invasive species - plants, animals, or pathogens that are not native to their current ecosystem and are likely to cause it harm.

i. Feral dogs in Asia disrupt the ecosystem by disrupting the food chain. The dogs hunt and leave less food for the native predators. They got to Asia by migrating because of climate changes.

ii. Pharaoh ants in North America affect their ecosystem by excluding all other insect life in a nearby area. They overproduce rapidly and kill off many other bugs. They got to North America because they were accidentally carried over an airline.

16. A. Why should a person care about the lost rainforest ground? B. Why are rain forests being cut down? What would happen if they all disappeared?

A. The rain forest would reduce the affects of global warming and somewhere in the rain forest scientists think there is a plant that can cure cancer.

B. We are cutting them down to make room for farming and to get lumber.

C. If they were all cut down global warming would be a lot more intense.

17. A. Why is human overpopulation a major concern? B. Explain all the resources needed for a human to sustain life.

A. Because we are getting close to the projected population limit of earth and if we pass that we won't have enough resources to go around.

B. For a human to live he or she would need food, water, shelter, and oxygen.

18. Pesticides- A. What are they? B. How do they adversely affect the environment? C. How does this create problems with the genetic diversity in crop production?

A. Pesticides are chemicals that have been specially designed for killed insects and unwanted rodents.

B. Pesticides could harm plants and the animals that eat those plants because essentially if you eat pesticides you are eating poison.

C. If we genetically engineer one type of corn because it is less likely to get eaten by bugs, all of that corn would be the same, which means it could all get killed by the same disease.

19. Interpret this quote: "If the bee disappeared off the face of the Earth, man would only have 4 years left to live." -Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of The Bee

If the bees did disappear so would most of our food. Almost all of the fruits we eat and most of the vegetables we eat are pollenated by bees. If we didn't have bees our food supply would be dangerously low. I don't think that humans would necessarily go extinct because we would still have our grains, which are pollenated by the wind.

20. It is the year 2070 and you are having a conversation with your grandchildren about how the environment has changed since you were young- give a prediction of how the Earth would look to them.

To my grandchildren Earth would look a lot different. There would be tall machines that would be used to filter out carbon dioxide from the air. Most of the electricity would come from huge wind farms in the midwest, and people would feed their cows with grass only and not vegetables that humans can eat. Everywhere would be like a giant city, except for the midwest because the entire midwest would be a very large farm and wind farm.