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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Apologia Biology, Module 10, Ecology

M10 Recap blog post at Sahm-I-Am
Quizlet Vocabulary Game, M10

(1) p. 299-301, Introduction
Ecology is the study of the interactions between living and nonliving things -- the way living things live in a specific environment and how they survive, what they eat, consumers, producers, etc.  All the consumers will not eat up all the producers.  If the food starts to get scarce, like a particular animal that is food for another consumer, the animals that are consumers will move to find a source of food.  Then the animal that is food will gradually populate the area once again.  The same thing happens with plants that animals eat.  Things will stay balanced in this way.

►►Watch this video about Population Ecology.
Click Animation.

Certain animals only live in one specific type of environment.  This could be where it is hot and dry, or cold, or wet and rainy, or warm and rainy, or other combinations.  These also depend on the season.
This is called a biome.
►A few general kinds of biomes are aquatic, deserts, forests, tundra, and grasslands.
There are different types of each of the general biomes that I listed.  For example, there are tropical rainforests, temperate deciduous forests (leaves turn each fall), or temperate coniferous forests (cone-IF-er-us: cone-bearing trees).

►See the temperate zones at this link, highlighted in pink.
Temperate refers to a region not too near the north pole or south pole, but not too near the equator either.  They have hot summers and cold winters.
There are two temperate zones, one in the middle of the northern hemisphere (hemi = half), and one in the middle of the southern hemisphere.  Think of someone who is even-tempered.  In the middle.  =)

What is an Ecosystem?  (population, community)

►See a lake ecosystem. (source)
►A sagebrush ecosystem. (source)
►Specific biomes are found in specific locations in relation to the poles and equator, such as the temperate forests mentioned above.

A biome is made up of ecosystems. 
An ecosystem is categorized by climate, animals, and plant life.  Ecosystems are made up of communities, which are groups of populations living and interacting in the same area.
Read the definitions on p. 299. 


In your text, you will read about rabbits that were brought into Australia, and that there was no consumer, no predator for rabbits.  Therefore the rabbits overpopulated Australia, and it took over 50 years for anyone to figure out how to control the rabbit population.
There must be balance in ecosystems, and God created natural predators, called consumers.  If left alone (no one trying to "fix" things), nature will stay balanced.

In your Study Guide, question # 2 asks, "When fruits or vegetables are imported into the U.S. from a foreign country, they are always very closely inspected for insects, even though the vase majority of insects are not really harmful.  Why is the inspection done?"
I was watching something this morning about a plague that initially affected the Eastern Roman Empire in the years 541-544, AD.  It was a bubonic plague, and, occurring during the reign of Roman Emperor Justinian I, was called the Plague of Justinian.
(not "The Plague" or the Black Death of Asia and Europe during the 14th century)
The origin of the Justinian Plague was thought to have been carried by fleas on rats that came into Constantinople on grain boats.  The Plague was believed to have killed as many as 5,000 a day in Constantinople at the peak of the epidemic (about 40% of the inhabitants), and eventually thought to have caused the deaths of as many as 100 million people.
I didn't find anything about whether this affected the ecology (I'm sure it did), but while I was watching this documentary, I thought of this question in the Study Guide.  Makes one think, doesn't it?


(2) p. 301-305, Energy and Ecosystems

All living things need energy.  They need food.  Plants, animals, and other organisms need food.
►If a plant or other organism makes its own food, it is an autotroph.  Autotrophs are eaten by other animals, therefore an autotroph is a producer.  It does not eat other organisms.  
Look at the bottom of the diagram.  →
►An organism that eats a producer is a primary consumer.  (Primary meaning first.)  These are herbivores.
►An organism that eats primary consumers is a secondary consumer.  These are carnivores because they do not eat plants.
►A carnivore that eats other carnivores (secondary consumers) is a tertiary consumer.  (TER-she-air- ee)
*An omnivore would be both a primary consumer and a secondary and/or tertiary consumer.

These relationships of producer and consumers are called trophic levels.

You have probably seen this demonstrated in a food chain.

But it is a little more complicated than that.  A hawk can eat a snake, and the hawk would be a tertiary consumer.  But if the hawk eats a mouse, the hawk will be a secondary consumer.  Remember what I said earlier about an omnivore?*
This can be demonstrated by a food web.
What organisms are in a particular food web is determined by what kind of biome, or more specifically, what ecosystem we are talking about.

--In your textbook, the arrows flow from the consumer to the animal or plant being consumed.
--In these pictures, the arrows flow in the direction of energy going from the organism being eaten, to the one doing the eating.
►See this ocean food web.

Some great links I found posted at Applie's Place:

It is important to realize that each trophic level requires a lot of food for energy from the previous one.

It is important to remember that energy is lost each time it moves up a trophic level in an ecosystem.
If you need to, re-read the last few paragraphs on p. 303 to understand this, then watch this video.

You also need to understand the significance of biomass.  Biomass is the measure of the total dry mass of organisms within a particular region.  If an animal eats something with a lot of water in it, it will probably need to eat more to sustain life.
Look at the diagram on p. 304, similar to the trophic pyramid above with the ocean life.
On p. 304, the producers are many times more than the primary consumers.  If you look at the width of the primary consumer level, it is about 3 times as wide as the secondary consumer level.  And the secondary consumer level is about 3 times as wide as the tertiary consumer level.
These percentages are not the same as the diagram above in the ocean life example.
Each ecosystem will not be exactly the same as another ecosystem.

Last we need to mention decomposers.  Decomposers tend to feed at all trophic levels, so they were not included in the trophic pyramid.  Decomposers take care of the energy that is "lost" between trophic levels.  God makes sure that the energy that is "lost" gets back into creation by decomposition.


(3) p. 305-309, Mutualism
Those who believe in the "survival of the fittest" do not like mutualism.  According to macroevolution, species should compete with one another for survival.  This video is just one example of mutualism between unlikely couples.  You can see more odd couples here.  =)  


(4) p. 311-313, The Water Cycle
Watershed -- an ecosystem where all water runoff drains into a single body of water.
transpiration -- evaporation of water from the leaves of a plant



(5) p. 314-315, The Oxygen Cycle
Through photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen which humans and animals breathe.
Carbon dioxide is also converted to oxygen by other means, and vice versa.


(6) p. 316-322, The Carbon Cycle
When animals and humans breathe, we take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.
Other means of producing carbon dioxide include decomposition and burning fuel.
Although carbon dioxide is constantly being produced, it is also constantly being taken away.  Most carbon dioxide is used up by photosynthesis.  Some carbon dioxide is dissolved into the ocean, where some organisms use it to form their shells.  There are other ways too.
Carbon dioxide has an important job -- it keeps the earth warm.  This is called the greenhouse effect.
Have you ever been in a greenhouse?  It is very warm! 

When certain gases trap heat here on earth (that would otherwise escape the earth and go into outerspace), this is called the greenhouse effect. 

Some people say we are having warmer winters, but if they would think about it, not every place on earth is having warmer winters.  Some are having colder winters and/or even cooler summers.  Therefore it is not "global" warming.
Also, you can’t just look at one year.  If you look at a larger time span, like the Figure on p. 319, you will see the overall warming is very slight, and fluctuates often.  Look at the numbers on the left of the graph and see how many total degrees the temperature has risen.

►Also look at the site of Dr. Roy Spencer, former NASA scientist.
Scroll down to see the latest global temps.
Temperatures were up in 2010, but when I first posted this, I said we were due for some cooling down.  See the graph?   
Look at the left of the graph for the total rise in average temps since 1979.  Not even ½ of a degree.  =) 

Since carbon dioxide can be produced by burning fuel, some people think that we are getting too much carbon dioxide into the air, and that this causes excess global warming.
Watch this video by Answers in Genesis, part 1.


(7) p. 322-325, The Nitrogen Cycle
The Nitrogen Cycle is very fascinating to me! 

I love the cow!  =)

Not only do animals eat plants with nitrogen, secondary consumers and tertiary consumers eat other animals to get their nitrogen.  Also, dead plants and animals, as well as waste, put nitrogen back into the soil for plants. 

Here's a video about the nitrogen cycle in water.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Angles, Perpendicular Lines - Duplicating, etc. w/ a Compass

Constructing a Perpendicular Line 

Duplicating an Angle 

Constructing an Angle Bisector 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Apologia Biology, Module 9, Evolution: Part Scientific Theory, Part Unconfirmed Hypothesis

There is no blog recap for this module. 
Quizlet Vocabulary Game, M9 

I knew there would not be many videos available for this module!
God created everything, and without him there would be nothing.  Yet people still refuse to believe.

John 1
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Colossians 1:16-17
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Exodus 20:11a
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is...

I personally have a few DVDs for my students to watch, but there's not much on youtube that corresponds with each section in this module. 
This was a pretty easy-to-understand module anyway. 

(1) p. 267-269, Microevolution and Macroevolution 


(2) p. 270-273, Inconclusive Evidence:  The Geological Column
In this video, he says there is no geological column, and essentially, this is true.
There are layers in different parts of the world that scientists say make up the geological column.
Page 271 of your Apologia Biology textbook says in the 3rd paragraph, "...even though Figure 9.2 is a common representation of the geological column, it is not really what the geological column actually looks like!"
And in the 4th paragraph, "... the geological column is an idealized representation of the sedimentary rock and fossils that we see on the earth.  There is really no place on the planet where you can dig and find every layer of the geological column as well as the fossils in those layers."
It would be good to reread these paragraphs in their entirety.
Geological Column

Grand Canyon and Noah's Flood


(3) p. 273b-280, The Details of the Fossil Record:  Evidence Against Macroevolution 
Polystrata Fossils

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Apologia Biology, Module 8, Mendelian Genetics

Quizlet Vocabulary Game, M8 
M8 Recap Blog Post at Sahm-I-Am

(1) p. 227-233, Mendel's Experiments 
Self-pollination - when a plant pollinates itself.  Usually, the stamen that holds the pollen (in the anther) must be taller than the pistil (where the stigma is) so that the pollen can fall to the stigma.  Sometimes this is not necessary as you can see in a video below. 
Flower dissection from last year.


Cross pollination is more common than self-pollination.
Cross-pollination - when pollen is delivered from a flower to a different plant.  This happens frequently with bees, or when the wind blows the pollen, or by other means.



Gregor Mendel used pea plants because they do not lend themselves to cross-pollination naturally.  Gregor Mendel did this by hand.
Genes are made up of segments of DNA found on larger pieces of DNA called chromosomes.


(2) p. 233-236, Updating the Terminology
You will need to know this terminology. 
►Genes vs. Alleles
(uh-LEELs) hear pronunciation
A gene is a section of DNA that codes for a particular trait.
A gene comes in alleles that are different forms of that trait.  The gene for hair color can have blond alleles, brown alleles, etc, and the gene for eye color can have green alleles, blue alleles, brown alleles, etc.  Plants can be tall or short.  Flowers can be different colors.  Lots of different alleles for any particular gene.

►Dominant vs. Recessive
Alleles can be dominant or recessive.  When both dominant and recessive alleles are present, a dominant allele will always be seen over a recessive allele.  For instance, brown eyes are dominant over blue eyes.  Tall plants are dominant over short.
Recessive alleles can be seen if there are only recessive alleles present.
Dominant alleles are always represented by a capital letter, and recessive alleles are represented by a lowercase letter. 

►Homozygous vs. Heterozygous
(home-oh-ZY-gus, het-er-oh-ZY-gus) Hear pronunciations here and here.
Alleles can be expressed in two different ways.  For each gene, you always have an allele from your Mom and an allele from your Dad, so there are two alleles present for each particular gene.  Your Mom and Dad got an allele from each of their parents for each particular gene.  Your children will have one allele from you and one from your spouse for each gene. 

Homozygous alleles are the same.  So they will either be two capital letters, or two lowercase letters.  TT can mean a tall plant, which is dominant, and tt can mean a short plant, which is recessive.

Heterozygous alleles will have one capital letter and one lowercase letter.  Bb means there is one allele for brown hair present and one allele for blond hair present.  But since brown is dominant, the person having these alleles will have brown hair.  This person may later have a child with brown or blond hair, depending on which allele is contributed from the other parent.

►►Go see this hilarious picture of "heterozygoats."  They're just allele uneven.  Hahaha!

---So if a genotype is homozygous, we know the letters of the genotype are the same, whether they are both capital or both lowercase.  If a genotype is heterozygous, there is one capital and one lowercase. 

►Genotype vs. Phenotype
If you are asked to give the genotype, you will give the letters to represent the alleles.  BB, Bb, or bb, etc.
If you are asked for the phenotype, you will need to use words to explain what you mean.  Green eyes, a tall plant, a purple flower, etc.
♦A genotype that is homozygous dominant means the letters are the same, and they are capital.
♦A genotype that is homozygous recessive means the letters are the same, and they are lowercase.
♦A genotype that is heterozygous means there is one dominant allele (capital) and one recessive allele (lowercase).


(3) p. 236-238, Punnett Squares
Punnet Square with rabbits

Example 1
The homozygous bean in this example is homozygous
because the letters are lowercase.

 Example 2

After studying thru p. 238, you should be able to do these:
Pass the Genes, Please - Help the Melonheads pass their genes on to their little Melvin.
Genetics Practice Problems - Answer questions about genotypes (such as bb, Bb, or B and b, or b and b, etc), and fill in Punnett squares.  (Put the male genes at the top of the Punnett square, and the female genes on the left.)
Read carefully, and do as many as you can correctly.  Reread your textbook if necessary.
As you get further into the chapter, you may be able to do more on this site.  There are a lot! 
Learning this will help you to be able to do your Experiments.
Thanks to Julie at Mindful Wanderings for these links.  =)
►Listen to more about Gregor Mendel's experiments at this link from  There are five segments, numbered at the top.
To read along, click the Topic Text button to the right.


(4) p. 238-242, Pedigrees
Pedigree Instructions, Part 1

Pedigree Instructions, Part 2


(5) p. 242-246, More Complex Crosses
monohybrid cross - a cross between two individuals, concentrating only on one definable trait
dihybrid cross - a cross between two individuals, concentrating on two definable traits

If one were talking about the two traits of color of a plant -- purple or white, and the height of a plant -- tall or short, there would be four possibilities.
(1) A Tall Purple plant
(2) A Tall white plant
(3) A short Purple plant
(4) A short white plant
This would involve a dihybrid cross that concentrates on two definable traits.
The possibilities listed above would be these gametes:  TP, Tp, tP, tp.
These are not genotypes; they are gametes.  Genotypes are TT, Tt, or tt, or PP, Pp, or pp.
The genotype alleles from each parent will produce a gamete.  One allele from each parent's various genotypes (eyes, hair, skin, different features).  That is why we are all so different.  =)

Dihybrid Cross

At 5:30, also note that three of the pups are carriers for a spotted and/or red coat.
Pup #2 is a carrier for a spotted coat, pup #3 is a carrier for a red coat, and pup #4 is a carrier for both a spotted and a red coat.
If any of these dogs mates with a dog who is homozygous recessive (ss or bb) for these traits, they can pass on these recessive traits to some of their pups.

Another short one:


(6) p. 247-249, Sex and Sex-Linked Genetic Traits
autosomes - chromosomes that do not determine the sex of the individual
sex chromosomes - chromosomes that determine the sex of the individual
Remember, humans have 23 homologous pairs of chromosomes.  Only one pair is the sex chromosomes; the other 22 are autosomes.

The female XX pair of chromosomes are perfectly homologous.  The male XY pair of chromosomes are not perfectly homologous.  There are fewer genes on the male's Y chromosome than there are on the X.
Sex-linked characteristics are not written in the same way you have learned so far because we need to distinguish that the Y chromosome does not have certain traits that can only exist on the X chromosomes of males and females.
So we write both the X's for the female with the allele as a superscript, and only the X chromosome of the male (and not the Y) will have a superscript.  A superscript is written like an exponent, like this: X¹X² and X³Y, but instead of numbers the allele is either a capital or lowercase letter. 

Sex-Linked Traits

Genotype is the combination of alleles an organism has.  Genotype is the "type o' genes" you have. It's your genotype that determines you phenotype, which shows on the outside of your body.

Linked Genes and Crossing Over


(7) p. 250-252, A More Complete Understanding of Genetics
Polygenetic Inheritance 
Around 1 minute, notice he says IF melanin production were controlled by one gene...

Co-dominance, Incomplete Dominance

Recessive Single Gene Disorders (cystic fibrosis, sickle-cell anemia)

Understanding Blood Types - ABO and Rh - very good explanation!

Type AB blood is the universal recipient -- they can receive from types O, A, B, or AB.
Type O blood is the universal donor -- they can donate to types O, A, B, or AB.
So Melanie with type B blood can donate to Jill with type AB blood.
But Jill cannot donate to Melanie.
Valerie with type O blood can donate to both the other girls, but cannot receive from either of them.


(8) p. 252b-255, Genetic Disorders and Diseases
There are at least five means by which genetic abnormalities occur.
1.  autosomal inheritance 
2.  sex-linked inheritance
3.  mutation
4.  changes in chromosome structure
5.  changes in chromosome number

I could find no videos for this section.