Monday, April 28, 2008

Kingdom Protista

Kingdom Protista is an unusual grouping of organisms. It’s as if this is the place to put organisms if you don’t know where else to put them. Within this kingdom, organisms can be grouped in several ways. Protists are supposed to be eukaryotic and unicellular. They are eukaryotic, but not all of the protists are unicellular. Many of the algae-based organisms are multicellular and can grow to enormous sizes (like kelp). You can also group the protists according to how they obtain energy. Some are plantlike, some are animallike, and some absorb food from their surroundings like fungi. The vast differences within the Protist kingdom make it difficult for taxonomists to classify them. For example, how do you classify an organism like Euglena which eats food and conducts photosynthesis!?!

Research one of the following protists using the links provided. Write a detailed paragraph describing the organisms.
Slime Molds
Others worth exploring:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Microbes in our soil

Today we worked on creating the Tullgren funnel, a device designed to capture (and unfortunately, kill) the microscopic organisms that live in our soil. As most of you know, I don’t like the idea of killing things and do my best to avoid doing so. I want us to do this lab, not because I think that microorganisms are insignificant (I actually think they are remarkably significant), but because I truly believe that by studying them you will have more empathy for their existence. Rest assured that we will not be doing any harm to the population of these microbes. Did you know that 90% of the Earth’s biomass comes from microorganisms?

Research one of the following organisms that live in our soil. Using the links provided, write a detailed paragraph about the organism.
- mites (Acarina)
- springtails (Collembola)
- earthworms (Annelida)
- termites (Isoptera)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Soil - A Renewable Resource

Yesterday we discussed the ways that soil is essential to life on land. Almost every fiber of our being, with the exception of the water and the ideas in your head, is a product of soil. Yet, most of us have very little connection to the soil that feeds our bodies. We place a tremendous amount of trust in people that we have never met to manage our soil.


Go to the link and pick one of the articles listed. Provide your peers with an overview of the article. Be detailed in your description of the topic and provide your own analysis of the condition of the soil.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Dirt: It's what's for dinner

Today we began our unit on soil. It can be a little scary to think that one tablespoon of soil holds more living organisms than there are people living on the Earth! Soil is essential to life on this planet and without it we would not exist.

Go to the following website about the 12 soil orders.
Click on the link providing information about the 12 soil orders.
Pick one of the orders (example: Gelisols or Oxisols). Click on it for more detailed information.
Write a summary of one of the 12 types of soil.
Also, make a prediction as to what type of soil we have in our ecoplots.