Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Endangered Species

Part 1 The Act

1. How many species were included when the Endangered Species Act of 1973 was put in place?
There were 14 mammals, 36 birds,6 reptiles and amphibians,22 fishes making a total of 78 species.

2.What are the steps for a species to be on the endangered list?
A species is added to the list when one or more of the following has been determine;.
1)The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range
2)Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes
3)Disease or predation
4)The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms
5)Other natural or manmade factors affecting its survival.

3. What are three general causes for endangerment of species?
a)Habitat destruction
c)Disease and parasitism 

4.According to the Act, what happens once a species is listed as endangered?
Once a specie has been added to the list it becomes protected from everyone. Restrictions are made on being able to move, sell or transport that specie. Specific agencies have authority to plan and carry out recovery plans and purchase habitat. There goal is to protect the species natural diversity in the ecosystem. 

Part 2 Species

1. Choose a species......
Hawaiian Monk Seal also known in the binomial system as Neomonachus schauinslandi

2. Description of specie.....
The Hawaiian Monk Seal lives in Hawaii. Hawaiian monk seals are considered a "living fossil" because of their distinct evolutionary lineage. They live an average of 25-30 years. When a female seal gives birth she remains on land and fasts while nursing her pup for a month. After the month the female returns to the water abandoning the pup. These seals prey on fish and cephalopods and crustaceans. They are known to go more than 1,000 feet deep to prey on eels.

3. This is a photo of a mother with it's pup.

4. Cause of it's endangerment....
One cause of endangerment is a loss of pupping beaches due to erosion.

5. Organism's ecosystem role....
The Hawaiian Monk Seal is a keystone specie. This seal is one of three "true seal" species. The Caribbean Monk Seal is extinct now leaving only two "true seal" species alive today. As this seal has declined in numbers there have been more and more shark sightings and attacks closer to shore. These sharks are hungry and prey on seals. With the lack of seals the fish population is increasing which is partly why sharks are being seen more and are getting closer to the shore.

6. Scientific article for protecting the specie.....
Almost 700 different marine species, including the Hawaiian Seal, have been recorded to have encountered human-made debris. Researches have found evidence of 44,000 animals and organisms that have become tangled in or swallowed this debris. Nearly 80 percent of these cases resulted in direct harm or death. Plastic accounted for almost 92 percent of these cases. 

In July 2012 a team of 17 scientists spent almost a month collecting debris from the water. They collected almost 50 metrics (110,230 pounds). More than half of the debris was fishing gear and plastics. This debri was given to Hawaii's Net Energy Program who uses it to create electricity. Since 2002 more than 730 metric tons (1,609,358 pounds) have been used to create electricity. This has powered nearly 350 homes a year.

University of Plymouth. "Global impact of debris on marine life studied." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150219101643.htm>.

Part 3 Cost-benefit Analyses

My role is part of the defenders of Wildlife Lawyers

3. The school should not be built because;
a. The natural habitat will be altered.
b. New environment risks that may harm the owl.
c. A loss of prey. 

4. Groups preferred outcome....
Our groups preferred outcome would be to stop the school from being built. This is to protect the endangered animal. 

5. The conflict....
The conflict of this situation is having an existing school that is over populated. This school can no longer hold it's increasing number's. A new school is needed or an add-on. The students, parents, faculty and supporting neighbors only wish to better their kids education. Unfortunately it's hard to do with over crowding issues. The owl has been seen and heard near by. However, evidence of the owl on this exact property has not been proven. Having kids of my own I would probably side with having the school built. I will be selfish and want whats best for my kids immediate future.  

6. One obstacle for our group is proving that the owl does reside on this particular property. We know it's around. We've seen evidence of this in the surrounding areas of the proposed school. We need to prove that this owl lives and feeds off of this particular property. 

7. This endangered specie is known to be living in the surrounding area. There have been eyewitnesses that have both seen and heard this animal. Building the school will change it's natural habitat. Not only is the land changing but the increase of noise, litter and traffic caused after the school is built and is being used. The prey of this animal will also be uprooted and forced to move do to the construction of the school. The chances of this animal and it's prey becoming road kill increases. This endangered animal will be forced to find it's prey elsewhere in possible unknown territory.  

8. "I hear a hoot, this site is kaput"
This can mean that the owl is present than that's all that should matter. The owl is endangered and is therefore protected. It's hoot has been heard so move on and find a different area. This area is no longer available to human-change because it is providing a natural habitat to a known endangered specie.

9. "404 permit"
A 404 permit is asking permission to alter a water source such as a wash, a levee or a dam. It's to protect the existing water from being degraded. A 404 permit was required in this particular case because the plans were to alter a wash on the proposed property. 

10. Define the term "ecological sustainability."
This means that we are able to meet the needs of today while also doing what is needed to be able to meet our needs in the future. Using our resources wisely so that they will be available on a long term basis.  

11. Three places of science. Reliable?
a) Wildlife specialists and scientists have studied the owl. This is pretty reliable. These people have watched and recorded what they've learned about this owl. They know what the owl prey's on, where it prefers to live, and how it keeps itself alive from predators.  

b) Using neighbors testimonies of seeing and watching the birds is not reliable. These people are just making general observation's. They have not set out to "study" this owl in it's natural habitat.  

c)  It is known through study that this owl has a small home range. It is known that this owl habitats on both sides of this proposed property. What is not known is how the owl will react to the building of the school. Science can make an educated guess of how the owl will react but it is unknown. We don't know if the owl's nest will be chopped down or if it will be far enough from the school that it will remain where it's at. We don't know if a sufficient amount of prey will be uprooted forcing the owl to move on. Knowing about the small home range is reliable science but knowing what the owl will do is not reliable science. 

12. I do not think that the Endangered Act of 1973 should be revised to accommodate economic growth. In this particular instance the owl is known to be close to this particular area. It's been seen on both sides of the property. It's just common sense that the owl uses that part of the property also. However in defense of the school they also need to make a change to better themselves, our children and their education. It's my understanding that they bought the property before the endangered owl was known to be present. The fund that congress set up to buy up private property inside national parks should be used in cases like this or another fund created. Let the government buy this property to protect this specie. The school could be given sufficient money to buy land elsewhere to build their new school. Maybe there are other options the school could look into such as adding on to the current school or finding an already built property and making modification's to be used as a school.  I  believe that as of today we need to look into other options businesses and private owners have before revising this act. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Freshwater Ecosystems & Water Testing, Climate Change

Last week the kids and I went to Quail Lake. 
I hadn't been there in 10+ years and my kids never. 
We went for fun but to also start my water lab. 

We first took the temperature of the water and then checked the turbidity of the water. It showed 40 JTU which is the amount of particles in the water which makes it look cloudy in our container.

Next I checked the oxygen. It came to 4ppm which is how much oxygen is found in the water. 

While I was busy doing my lab the two little's stayed next to me. They had both been in the water playing until Brayden asked if there were snakes in the water. I had replied probably and he quickly jumped out. They spent their time playing in the rocks and trying to build towers with them. 

The funny part is as we were leaving this guy came slithering towards us. Glad we left when we did. Brayden has been telling everyone he saw a real life King Cobra! I think it's time to check out a book about snakes from the library. 

When we got home we started our coliform test which will take 48 hours until we see the results.  

This picture shows the results for the oxygen, nitrate and phosphorus tests. All in that order. 

Here's the pH test

and the coliform test.

So what does all this mean?
Here's a chart that shows whether the results are a good or bad thing. 

Only the coliform tested poor. This means that there are feces from man and warm blooded animals in the water which is to be expected in this kind of environment. Another test could be done to determine the amount of coliform such as e-coli. If there were too much the Lake could be closed due to contamination. This would effect the fish and other living organisms around. The pH scored an excellent reading. This means there are NOT a lot of dumping of chemicals in the water. It also means that the vegetation and organic material around are helping to keep the pH in excellent standing. 

Water Lab part 2.

Summary; Quail Lake is in pretty good standing. Only one of the tests scored poor which was expected. Seems as if the Nitrate could be better but if it had too much it could lead to an increase in plant growth and effect the type of plant and animals that live in and around the water. Seems like mother nature with the help of the organization over Quail Lake is doing their jobs. 

Reaction; Although I have mentioned several times the poor result of the coliform was expected it still kind of grosses me out. To think these two sweeties were swimming and playing around in such bacteria. I'm pretty sure there was some water that was ingested. Nasty! 
Ignorance can sometimes be bliss!

If the coliform was too high I'm pretty sure the Lake would be closed. No one would be fishing or swimming. I am glad to see all the good about the lake shown from the tests. This was our first time at Quail Lake and we will definitely be going back.  

Lab 2 Climate Change

Greenfreeze and SolarChill by Greenpeace

1. The main topic of this video is about a company who came up with a climate friendly refrigerator that can be used anywhere in the world. It was first developed for industrial countries like ourselfs and then later modified for use in 3rd world countries.

2. 10 main points that the narrator addresses are as follows;
    a. In the 1990's all refrigerators used ozone depleting chemicals.
    b.The next generation of refrigerators were thought to be better for our world but soon discovered  
       that the chemicals that were being used was now causing greenhouse gasses effecting the ozone. 
    c.Greenpeace needed to find natural substances to better the refrigeration system.
    d.Scientist found that a mix of butane and propane didn't destroy the ozone or contribute to            
       global warming.
    e.Greenpeace discovered an environmentally friendly fridge.
    f.Industries don't always know what the public wants
    g.One third of all refrigerators are "greenfreeze".
    h.Greenfreeze has spared earth 450,000,000 tones of carbon dioxide.
    i.In 2001 Greenfreeze began their "Solar Chill" project. This fridge runs off of solar panels which         allows is to be used without batteries and in remote villages.  
    j.There are workable solutions to climate change. 

3.Describe 2 solutions for climate change addressed in the video.
   a. One of the solutions was that when there was a problem something needed to be done about it.   
      These particular people weren't alright with the outcome of the different fridge systems. They  
      were determined to make something climate friendly. When they finally thought they did have a         solution it was taken to the industry and turned down. They didn't give up. They went ahead and  
      took it to the public to discover that it was something people wanted. The point is not everyone  
      supported them, not everyone thought Greenfreeze could do it. But they kept trying and became  
  b. Another solution was that Greenfreeze didn't stop. They had found a solution for people who  
      lived in an industrial society and had easy access to electricity. Greenfreeze wanted to find a  
      solution to help everyone. So they made a solar panel fridge that will benefit 3rd world countries,       villages, and people who don't have access to electricity.    

4.Explain how climate change is related to extinction.
  Rising warmer temperatures are changing our weather. Vegetation can be very temperamental to    
  this change. There our some specie of plants that can not survive in warmer climates. As this  
  vegetation dies off and becomes extinct it effects the next domino in the chain. The specie that  
  relied on that vegetation. This new specie may have to relocate to a new habitat for food and  
  protection. If the new habitat can't sustain them they too will die. If the specie had to relocate it will   effect the next specie that relied on it. It's one big domino effect. One specie directly interacts and is   needed for the next. When one is removed a change will have happen and can lead to extinction.  

5.Does knowing something about history of climate change policy help think critically about this  
   Ignorance is not always bliss. When I learn something new I try to corporate it into my daily life.  
   Personally I have started to think about my habits and how what I do effects our climate and earth. I    want to better myself so that generations from now there is still a world for them. I want to become    more energy efficient. We are about to build a home and I would really like to look into solar     
   panels to help produce "green" energy for our way of life. I want to start recycling more. I want to      buy 3 different garbage cans and use them for my recycling. One for paper, plastic and glass.  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Measurements and Field Method

Part 1 A Qualitative vs. Quantitative, Dimensional Analysis and Growth

Qualitative observations from my quadrant sampling.

1. Lots of plants in natural colors are in my quadrant. Nothing bright and vibrant.
2.Amidst the live plants there are several dead plants and broken off tumbleweed.

Quantative observations from my quadrant sampling.

1. There are at least 4+ different forms of life in said quadrant.
2. There are other living organisms living in the quadrant.

Part 1 B Dimensional Analysis 

It is 4 miles from here to Lake Isabelle. What is this distance in kilometers?

1 mile = 0.62 kilometers

4 miles x 1 kilometer   = ? kilometers
                0.62 miles

4 miles x 1 kilometer  = ? kilometers
                0.62 miles
                                    =  6.45 kilometers

Part 1 C Linear vs. Exponential Growth

This Linear Growth Chart shows how much an employee is paid over the 1st 35 days of employment. This person is paid $6.00 on the 1st day with a $6.00 a day raise thereafter.  

This Exponential Growth Chart also shows how much an employee is paid over the 1st 35 days of employment. This person is paid $1.00 on the 1st day with a 25% increase each day. 

B1. Which earning strategy is the most profitable?
     Being paid in exponential growth is more profitable.

B2. Which would have seemed most profitable if you had stopped at six days?
       Being paid in Linear growth would have seemed to be more profitable at day 6.

Part 2 Measurements of Biodiversity, Field Methods, Soil Testing 

To do the next part of our lab the kids and I went for a drive. We drove out of Hurricane towards Colorado City. We were about 3 miles outside of town and picked a spot on the side of the road. I wanted to pick an area that has remained untouched for the most part by humans. We weren't close to any trails, shooting range or homes in the area.  My girls picked this spot because although it was only 8:30 in the morning it was hot, hot, hot and this little shrub gave us a little shade to work in.

One view of our grid. The blue painter's taped worked great.

Surprisingly we ran out of painters tape and had to use the rope I brought for "just in case". 
Glad I had it, we only had to use it for 2 of our lengths. 

Brayden and Kylie stepping on the corner rock holding it in place. 

Before we left the house I had Emily and Madelyn write the numbers 1-16 for me on pieces of paper. They crumbled them and put them in a hat.

When we were finally ready to select our random squares each kid one at a time pulled out a number. Having four of my kids present made everything fair. They each got to pick 2 numbers. Life's all about being fair at our house right now, especially with the 8 year old. I didn't take pictures picking our random numbers because I seriously thought we were melting!

 The grid above shows our random samplings. To give you an idea we were standing to the left of the shrub in my 1st posted picture of our area when we assigned numbers to each square. So squares 11,12,15 and 16 were in the shade! The big shrub was in square 11.  

Here's my quick sketch we made showing the different plant life we found. I tried to draw the plants accurately to where they were in the grid. We also saw lots of holes in the ground. My 6 year old was a bit disappointed that a King Cobra didn't come slithering out to greet us. I on the other hand was very thankful!

One thing we noticed is that there were more plants the closer we got to square 11 with that big shrub. There were also more live plants that were in the shade this morning then to the side of the shrub where there would be very little or no shade during the day. What few plants were on that side were mostly dead. Having stated that, the majority of the live plants were on the opposite side of the shrub from where we were trying to stay. Come afternoon and evening (the longer part of the day) the shade would have been on that opposite side of the shrub. The shade would provide some shelter from the sun for all those green plants.   

Table 1

a. This exercise did not require random sampling to chose your site. State how you chose your site, and explain any biases you discovered in yourself while doing so.

I chose my site because it was quite a bit away from any human habitats. There weren't any shoe prints in the ground around, no trash or litter, no houses and no noticed trails near by. The big shrub also provided some shade to work in. I used the shade to draw my grid and make my notes. My only biases that I noticed was wanting to stay in the shade as much as possible. When needed I did stand in the sun to draw as accurately as possible where the plants were in each square. I did not want to have to go back. 

b. Describe the differences in the number of species using each method. Which one seems to "capture" the scene the best? Remember we are not trying to get the most but a representative sample.

Having chose to do this experiment on the side of the road in the desert I tried to pick a spot that had the most species. Although I tried there still didn't seem to be a numerous amount of diversity. I think the exponential growth would best describe the small long green, vine like plants with red roots. There were some areas with very few of these while others had a lot. I'm guessing that they reproduce quickly instead of at a steady pace. 

c. Discuss what you would change for either method to determine a more accurate species count?

I don't know what I would change without getting more information. I would like to know how long the germination process, life expectancy and needed nutrients for growth for the species I did find. I think with this kind of information the correct method to determine a more accurate species count would be chosen.

Part 3. Soil Testing  

1.What is soil?
Soil is the top layer of earth that plants grow from.

2. What nutrient (chemical cycles) are related to soil formation? Give two examples.
Acid rain is one chemical cylce that is related to soil formation. The acid helps break down the rock. The smaller pieces mix in with the top soil altering the current formation and making new. 

3. How do you know what soil is best for what plants?
Before planting a person should do some research about what kind of soil is best for what they are wanting to plant. We can do this online, out of a gardening book or talking to someone at their local nursery.  

4. What would the world be like if there was no soil?
If we didn't have soil we wouldn't have plants. Plants release oxygen. Without oxygen other organisms including us would not be able to breathe. There would be no life with out soil.

5. Why is soil important?
Soil is important for living organisms to grow and receive/use oxygen.

6. Why do you think it is important to test soil for pH, N, P and K? In other words, what is the role each of these elements in plant growth or health? 

The pH tells us the acidity in the soil. If there is not enough pH the plants won't be able to utilize the fertilizers we mix into the soil for their benefit.

Plants need Nitrate which make the proteins in the soil that helps plants to grow. Nitrate is found in our compost, manure and previous crops that still might be around in the soil.

Phosphorus is another nutrient that plants need to grow. It has generally been added to fertilizers that we would by and add to our gardens or other topsoil. 

K represents potassium. Potassium is also a much needed nutrient for plant growth. A lack of potassium may affect the size, color and taste of the plant growing.   

If we don't test our soil before we plant we may be disappointed in our outcome. It's best to test our soil before all our hard work and money we put into tending to a garden that may not grow or produce sickly plants.  

7. How is soil type related to biodiversity?
Biodiversity is the variety of living things we find in a particular habitat, like a garden. Depending on the soil will depend on what kind of biodiversity we may find. 

8. How does soil type relate to biomes?
A biome is a place such as forests, grasslands or deserts. Each of these biomes have specific life that live there. Every biome would have it's own specific soil allowing plants to grow. For instance a cactus would not be found in the amazon but would be found in a desert biome that has all the nutrients and living condition's for a cactus to survive. 

9. Name 3 factors that might cause soil type to change over time in short term (days to hundred of years) or long (geologic) term.
A. Soil nearby a factory can be "polluted" by the chemicals that are being released. 
B. Grazing cattle can change the soil by how much grass/feed is eaten and the natural fertilizer being added to it.  
C. Weed killer's can also change the soil. It can kill unwanted weeds but it's chemicals can remain in the soil. 

While the kids and I were about this morning we collected 2 samples of dirt. The first came from our desert grid.

Afterward we swung by our garden spot. Our garden didn't do as well as it has in the past. There are several variables that may have caused it. I personally think it was partly our seeds. We bought seeds from Logan, Ut last year to plant in Alton last summer because of it's similar climate. Not thinking we used our left over seeds this year. In Alton the hottest it ever gets is in August and it hits about 95 degrees for a week. It's usually about 85 degrees throughout the summer.  Here in Hurricane this summer in mid June we are well over 100 degrees. This week we hit 111. It's hot! With this kind of heat the garden would need a lot of water. My parents go out 3 times a week and spray the hose over everything. In previous years we set up soaker hoses and let them run several hours watering everything at once. Chances are this little garden wasn't getting enough water. 

I was anxious to see what our dirt samples would tell us. 

What does these little plastic boxes mean?
Maybe a little too much nitrate on the garden but everything else looks fine.

Table 2

And the desert? Well it could use a little help in the phosphorus and potassium. I was surprised to see it had a surplus of nitrate just like our garden.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Lizard Evolution

Lizard Data Table

Lizard Graph

1. At the beginning of the virtual lab, you were asked to sort eight lizards into categories. What      
    criteria did you initially use to make your groups?

Being I couldn't see the whole picture of the lizard I sorted them by colors; brown and green.

2. Did you revise your criteria later? Why?

I did revise my criteria. After measuring hind lengths, tails and toe pads. I categorized them by longest tail, longest leg, shortest legs and bigger toe pads.

3. An adaption is a structure or function that is common in a population because it enhances the ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment. Provide one example and an explanation of one adaptation in the Anolis lizards?

One example is the trunk ground anole. It has longer legs then the twig anole lizards. The trunk anole lizards habitat is on the thicker part of the tree and needs to run faster to catch it's prey. The Twig anole lives on the thinner branches higher in the tree. It's legs are smaller to match the smaller branches.  

4. Provide one evolutionary explanation for why lizards living in the same part of the habitat would have similar characteristics. 

It is believed that many, many years ago there was one type of lizard. As some of the lizards left its original habitat they evolved new traits such as smaller tails or bigger toe pads. When these lizards come back to their original habitat they will still have some similar characteristics because they all started out as the same such as long tails or short legs but they will also have different characteristics now.

5. What is an ecomorph? Provide one example from the virtual lab.

An ecomorph is a species that has the same structural habitat, may have the same behavior but are different physically. 

6. How is an ecomorph different from a species?

An ecomorph is like a sub species within a species. We take the species lizards but then split them into different ecomorphs. Each separate ecomorph has the same physical traits. This separates them from each other even though they are all lizards. 

7.Explain how a particular body feature of one of the lizard ecomorphs from the virtual lab is an adaptation to their particular niche.

The trunk-crown anoles have larger toe pads then the other ecomorphs. This allows these lizards to hang onto slippery leaves rather then bark. Tree trunk lizards wouldn't need large toe pads because they live closer to the bottom of the tree's where there aren't a lot of leaves.

Ecological Footprint

What are two things that could be improved about this calculator so it more accurately reflects your footprint?

When answering the food question's about how much meat is consumed I thought it was asking pretty good details. However, after I answered because I said I could eat each meat product 1-2 times a week it showed me eating all that meat during a 7 day period. This is not true. We go at least one dinner time meal a week with no meat. We also don't generally eat pork, fish, beef and chicken all in a one week period. It may be more accurate if after asking about the meats follow up with a how many meat meals are actually eaten a week.

I think more details are needed for "services". I'm assuming the electrical and gas question's answered and maybe the trash/recycling done went towards this area. Being services take up more than 50% of my chart I'd like to know what else falls in this category?

2. What surprised you about your footprint? 

I'm surprised that "services" is so large on my chart. I'd like to know more about that part. I do recycle, our food is mostly home grown and bred. I was surprised that it is still estimated that we need 3.3 worlds. I wasn't expecting that because I really do try hard to re-use, re-new and recycle. I don't feel that our family is very wasteful.
3. According to your text, the average American footprint is big! Why is this?

Everything we do helps deplete our natural services. We are currently living on a ranch. Where the cattle are now use to be forest. There are not as many bears, mountain lions and cougars in the area that use to be. Every time we flip on a light switch or flush a toilet energy is being used. Having these conveniences is using more of our natural resource's. Having so many human on earth there's a lot of natural resources being used. As we go about our day most of us don't realize just how much we are using.

4. If you do everything you can to be "green" and still have a bigger footprint than you expected, what could be contributing to this?

We have to eat to survive. Any plant that grows uses natural resources. So even those that grow their own food are still using resources to do it. The same goes for raising their own meat. When we recycle a truck generally comes to pick it up putting out toxins in the air. The buildings that recycle our garbage, sale food and our basic needs all use natural resources in one way or another. I think most of us aren't willing to not use our electricity, gas and flushing toilets to try to become even more green. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Island Biogeography Lab

Island Biogeography Lab


1. The two factors are;
    a) the size of the habitat
    b) distance between habitats

2. The ecologist knows that some of these assumptions were not true and that many others played a role but weren't easily coordinated.

3. Three abiotic factors for colonization to succeed is to have enough sunlight, moisture (rain) and the right temperature to grow.

Three biotic factors for colonization to succeed is to have enough food (prey), there is enough  
room to colonize on the current "island" and is able to travel the distance to the "new island" to       

4. Species become extinct when their natural habitat is taken away or polluted. If scientists can show   a particular area has a species that is slowly dying off due to pollution or land being renovated for       other use they can try to get laws passed to save this area in trying to preserve the life of the said         species.

5. An island is a place (ecosystem) that is different from it's immediate surroundings (different ecosystem). I am currently living in southern Utah, a desert. Sand Hallow is a man made reservoir just minutes from my front door. This reservoir is large enough to swim, boat and fish. Being man made this reservoir was stocked with fish. This man made reservoir will not have the opportunity to have its under water species be able to go elsewhere and colonize. There is no river or stream connecting it to other lakes or reservoirs allowing the transportation. Fish can not "travel" elsewhere they are stuck where they are. This is why periodically the reservoir is stocked with more fish.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Owl Pellets

Today my kids and I performed my 2nd Lab report for my Biology class.
We were able to dissect our 1st ever Owl Pellet.
As my girls said, "Ooooooh, that's gross!"

The following is Part 1 for my assignment. 

It measured 7cm in length and 2 3/4 cm in width.

We dug right in breaking this little pellet apart. Separating the bones from the fur and feathers. 

We then had to match the bones found to the chart given to me.

The chart shows which animals the bones came from.

When all the bones were separated we had to lay out the pieces trying to form a skeleton of the prey that was eaten. We had the most pieces for a bird including the skull so we went with that. We thought it was pretty cool we found 2 parts of the beak and some talon's. 

After recording the information into the tables I then had to create a graph showing data from 
Table 2. Wanting to continue to teach my kids I showed them how we could add other information into the graph also. They thought that was pretty cool too!

 Part 2

A Number Pyramid for a 24-hour Period


1. An owl pellet is what the owl has eaten but hasn't digested. It is full of the non digestible parts like     bones, fur and feathers.

2. 3 young owls eat 5 mice a night. That's 15 mice a night. 2 adult owls eat 4 mice a night. That's 8  
    mice a night. Over a 30 day period a parent owl would have to catch 690 mice (15 x 8).

3. The pellet I received was from the owl family, Tytonidae otherwise known as the barn owl.

4. Humans, lions, swordfish, eagles and owls are the most threatened organisms of a community that       are exposed to DDT or mercury. This is because humans and other species eat fish. When fish have     have been exposed to mercury it is then passed on to specie that ate it. Plants are quite often          
    exposed to DDT. When the plant is eaten that pesticide is then past on to it's predator and can     
    cause sickness and death.