Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Conservation for The People

Chernobyl Health Article

Name: Natalie Kim and Hannah LaBrecque
Read the article, Chernobyl’s effects linger on ( and answer these questions.

1. When was this article published?
On Wednesday, 10 May, 2000 this article was published.

2. Why will restrictions on some food continue in the United Kingdom and former Soviet Union for another 50 years?

Restrictions on some food continue in the UK and former Soviet Union for another 50 years because researchers have found that radioactivity levels are very high.

3. Where have high levels of radioactive caesium been measured?

High levels of the element caesium have been found in fish in Norway and Cumbria. Also in earthbound plants and lake water.

4. What happened to the levels of radioactive caesium during the first five years after the Chernobyl accident?

The caesium’s half-life rose during the first five years of Chernobyl.

5. Describe why levels of radioactive cesium are not decreasing anymore.

Radioactive caesium are no longer waning because the environment is not cleaning itself and the caesium is not totally immobilised.

6. Why is diffusion of radioactive cesium back into the environment occurring? Explain the physical principle behind this diffusion.

Radioactive caesium is spreading into the environment again because with chemical processes, there are usually back reactions. As Doctor Jim Smith says, a concentration gradient causes the diffusion to occur, which then causes the radioactivity, the water, and the soil balance, and then is sucked into the soil itself. When balance alters, the gradient levels out, and the alteration between take-up and release differs.

7. How long will the United Kingdom have to continue restrictions on sheep from the Cumbria region as a food item for humans?

The UK will have to further the restrictions on Cumbrian sheep as food for 10-15 years, which is much longer than they expected.

8. How long will forest berries, fungi, and fish from parts of the former Soviet Union remain restricted?

Forest berries, fungi, and fish from parts of the former Soviet Union will remain restricted for fifty years.

All rights reserved. Science NetLinks Student Sheets may be reproduced for educational purposes.Chernobyl’s Effects – E-Sheet Questions

Lesson Title: The Chernobyl Disaster Page 2 of 2
Now read Chernobyl Children Show DNA Changes and answer these questions.

1. Who are the children that this article is about? To whom were they born?

The children this article is about are mutated children of Chernobyl. They were born to people who cleaned up the explosion.

2. What are “liquidators”?

Liquidators is a term used to refer to people of the clean up team for Chernobyl. The USSR gave the nickname to 800,000 people.

3. Why are scientists studying the children?

The scientists are studying the children because of their exposure to chemicals/waste.

4. What are the controls in this study?

The controls of this study are internal, the children of parents who were exposed to radioactivity, and external, the children of people who were not exposed.

5. Describe what scientists discovered about the children’s DNA.

Scientists found that children had unexpectedly high amount of mutations after 1986.

6. Describe the factors that may be linked to the number of DNA changes observed in children.

The factors that are connected to the number of DNA alterations are that their parents were expose to chemical debris.

Read Nuclear Energy Agency: Health Impact and answer these questions.

1. Describe what happens to DNA, cells, and organs after low and high doses of radiation.

When DNA receives low doses of radiation it may be able to heal most of the cell, if it receives high doses then the DNA cell will most likely die. At low doses cells regenerate, but at high doses they will be destroyed and cause problems with organs.

2. Describe the acute health effects of the Chernobyl disaster.

Some acute health effects of Chernobyl disaster are immediate death from being hit by explosion, thermal burns, and coronary thrombosis. There were a total of 31 deaths post-accident. There were 499 people taken in for examination and 237 were quickly diagnosed with acute radiation syndrome.

3. Describe the chronic or late health effects of the Chernobyl disaster.

There were many diseases such as thyroid cancer that were found later on.

All rights reserved. Science NetLinks Student Sheets may be reproduced for educational purposes.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Galapagos Animal Adaptations

Eco-cruise in the Galapagos. Web. 29 Oct 2010.

The Blue-footed Booby Bird
The Blue-footed Booby, or Sula nebouxii, is a marine bird that lives in the Galapagos Islands. The Booby only goes on land to nest at night. It is a carnivore, and it can gather with thousands of other Boobies, one, or none to eat. It will swoop down into the water for fish, and if with a flock the Boobies will dive in unison. They can go as far as three feet deep. The Blue-footed Booby has a life span of seventeen years, and it can weigh up to 3.25 pounds. The Booby uses its bright blue feet to attract a mate. It has an intricate mating ritual that consists of an ostentatious dance* of its feet. The bluer the Booby's feet, the better chance it has of mating. The Boobies are opportunistic breeders meaning they only breed when the conditions are right. They do not breed year-round. A femal Booby can lay 2-3 eggs at once. Both the male and female Booby incubate the egg. Switching off between the roles of watching out, or warming the egg. Since they do not have brooding patches, the boobies use their webbed feet to cover their eggs and to keep their young warm.
The female Booby will only mate with a Booby that has blue feet, so when it does the gene of blue feet is passed down into their young so that they can mate, and so on.
The name Booby comes from the Spanish word Bobo meaning clumsy or stupid. This is because the Boobies are quite clumsy on land.
*Click on this link to see the Blue-footed Booby Mating Dance

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guppy Simulation


1. If being flashy and colorful attracts predators, why do you think guppies are so colorful?

Guppies are very colorful so they can attract female guppies and mate.

2. After viewing the guppy gallery, pick the fish you find most interesting. What is the fish’s scientific name, origin and average size? Describe the coloration of the fish you chose.

Common Name: Guppy or Millions Fish

Scientific: Poecilia reticulata

Origin: Brazil

Ave. Size: 1.4" or 3.5 cm

Coloration: Navy blue base, mottled pink, orange, and green. It has a green fin and bright fanned out tail.

3. After viewing the predator gallery, pick the fish you find most interesting. What is the fish’s common name, scientific name, and origin?

Common Name: Pike cichild

Scientific: Crenicichla alta

Origin: Trinidad and Latin America

4. View the guppy’s habitats, what habitat conditions would affect the predator populations?

If the habitat is a deep stream, then the predator populations will be very high. In a small dam habitat, predator populations would be little to none because there would be no room for predator movement. In a medium-small dam there would be a bearable predator population because there would be more room for predators to move around. Only small predators such as the rivulus could prosper in a shallow stream habitat.

Endler’s Discovery and Variations of Guppy’s in Pools

5. Who is John Endler? What did he study and where did he study it?

John Endler is an evolutionary biologist who studied Trinidad's wild guppies, probably in Trinidad. He studied guppie distribution, size, color, and spot sizes.

6. For each of the three stream areas, describe the guppy coloration:

Pool 1: The average male coloration would be very bright with lots of colors and large spots. There were very few predators, so guppies are able to have as flamboyant colors as they want.

Pool 2: In this pool there is a moderate predator population, so the average color is medium on the body and tail with medium spots.

Pool 3: There is very dull coloration in the guppies here because there is a high predator population. This means the guppies need to keep the colors and vibrancy to a bare minimum.

7. Develop your own hypothesis about guppy coloration. The hypothesis should answer the questions: Why do guppies in different areas of the stream have difference in coloration? (You can choose from the list on the simulation, or make up your own)

If there is a higher predator population in one area, then the guppies need to have a drabber/duller coloration because they will be eaten if they stand out too much.

If there is a lower predator population in another area, then the guppies can have very bright colors because they won't be eaten as frequently.

If the predator population is medium then so is the guppy coloration because they may be eaten or they may not.

Guppy Simulation Summary

% of Brightest Guppies
(10 generations)

% of Bright Guppies
(10 generations)
% of Drab Guppies
(10 generations)
% of DrabbestGuppies
(10 generations)

Trial 1

Guppy: Even Mix
: 30 Rivulus

50% 25% 12% 14%

Trial 2

Guppy: Even Mix
: 30 Rivulus, 30 Acara

24% 48% 17% 11%

Trial 3

Guppy: Even Mix
: 30 Rivulus, 30 Acara, 30 Cichlid

23% 13%
16% 48%

Trial 4

Guppy: Mostly Bright
: 30 Rivulus

64% 26%
5% 4%

Trial 5

Guppy: Mostly Drab
: 30 Rivulus, 30 Acara, 30 Cichlid

3% 8% 27% 63%

8. Describe how predators influence guppy coloration.

Predators influence the guppy coloration by making it brighter or drabber. If the predator population is high, then the guppy coloration is dull. If the predator population is low, then the guppy coloration is vibrant.

9. Was your hypothesis correct, use your data to justify your answer.

Yes it was correct because the data showed exactly what we had predicted. The coloration of the guppies was brighter with a smaller predator population. The coloration was also duller with a higher predator population. Lastly, when there was an even predator/guppy population there was medium coloration.

10. What does it mean that “male guppies live in a crossfire between their enemies and their would be mates”?

It means that male guppies live in situations where certain things are conflicting. For example they can either have a good fitness by being very bright and mating. Or they can be very dull and be able to camouflage from their predators. They can have one or the other, not both. So to be able to mate they are in danger of being spotted and becoming prey. By being dull they are in danger of not attracting a mate.

11. Why do you think guppies in different areas of the stream have different coloration?

The higher predator population in one area, the guppies need to have a drabber/duller coloration because they will be eaten if they stand out too much. The lower predator population in another area, the guppies can have very bright colors because they won't be eaten as frequently. The predator population is medium then so is the guppy coloration because they may be eaten or they may not.

12. What would happen to mostly drab guppies that were placed in a stream with very few predators?

They probably would be overpopulated because they would not have a high chance of being eaten by a predator anyways since they are so drab, but now that there are so few predators there would be an abundance of drab guppies.

13. What would happen to brightly colored guppies that were placed in a stream with many predators?

Their population might diminish because their flamboyancy would attract predators, and since there are a lot of predators, there will be very few guppies. Since they will all be eaten.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


1. By preserving biodiversity locally, places like Bangladesh and India can have less deadly floods. Less deaths will occur all over because trees and forests can provide protection during natural disasters, so if they are preserved they can save lives. We can keep the impact and force of natural disasters down to a bare minimum or a normal level at the least. Also, the economy will not be drained from costs of a drained ecosystem.

2. Habitat destruction and loss of species affect more than just one area because when we destroy a habitat where an important organism lives we lose any possible medicinal value from them. Also, in an extreme case if we lose all the trees there will be no oxygen and humans can't survive without oxygen. Also if one species/habitat depends on another and it is destroyed, then all of them will eventually be destructed, therefore affecting more than one place.

3. Preserving biodiversity enhances the life of people because we can keep organisms such as the Tropical Cone Snail and receive medicinal benefits from them. We can save the lives of people who have diseases that are yet to find a cure. Also, human lives can be enhanced by not feeling pain if scientists are able to properly execute Prialt, which uses ingredients from organisms, which will be a lot more effective then morphine.

Sites Used:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gases and Climate Change

Combustion Demo:
If the alcohol evaporates well inside the bottle, then when it is ignited flame will light up inside the bottle because gas is flammable.
The bottle was coated well in the rubbing alcohol. Blue flame shot out of the bottle immediately when the lighter touched it. The momentum carried the bottle almost all the way to the wall.
Earth's greenhouse effect allows life to be sustained. The natural greenhouse effect goes like this: Greenhouse gases operate like a jar in the way that it partially contains the sun's heat energy and then lets it go into space. Thus allowing there to be life on Earth. Humanity is causing and creating more greenhouse gases to emanate which is causing temperatures to rise, resulting in climate change. This is also causing several problems such as the melting of glaciers, rising sea levels, suffering corals, etc.

CO2 Demo:

If the vinegar-baking soda mixture evaporates into gas, then it will snuff out the candle flame because it has formed carbon-dioxide gas which extinguishes flame.
The vinegar and baking soda bubbled and fizzed on contact. Carbon dioxide gas produced from the graduated cylinder blew out the flame. In order for there to be fire, there must be oxygen. When the carbon dioxide gas goes near the flame it removes the oxygen, so then it
removes the flame as well.
Carbon dioxide is like one of those things that you can't live with or without.
It is needed for plants and is a natural component, but humans are now affecting the natural carbon cycle. Too much of anything is not good, no matter what it is. A lot of carbon dioxide is being released from the things humans do plus the normal amount and it adds up.

Hydrogen Gas Demo:

If the hydrogen evaporates into gas, then it will ignite because of the flammable gas.
When the zinc hit the hydrochloric acid it started sizzling. It immediately evaporated and the gas escaping at the top could be seen. All
the zinc evaporated and when it was ignited the gas lit into flames that soon died down. When the mixture was lit again it lit up but died down
very quickly. The beaker was still considerably warm even after the fire dissipated.
Hydrogen can be produced through steam reformations where carbon dioxide is released. It can also form through a process involving

Air pressure demo:
If the can is filled with water vapor and placed into the ice water tub, then it will
Water vapor rose from the can in wisps. The can was placed with the open side up into the water. There was not really a noticeable chemical
If the can is filled with water vapor and placed invertedly into the ice water tub, then it will be crushed because of the pressure and gas trapped in the can.
Bubbles formed when the can was being heated. Once the can was placed in the water it was crushed and when it was lifted water poured
out of the hole. A vacuum was created when the can was flipped and the air pressure was changed. The air needed to fill up the space.
The atmosphere circulation is controlled by air pressure. Alterations to the air pressure can impact the weather. Over the years air pressure has risen considerably which has and will lead to less cold, rainier, and windier winters in Northwest Europe. In southern Europe, however, winters will be much drier. Canada and the US can expect milder winters. Leaving Greenland with colder winters. These changes are not necessarily caused by combustion/greenhouse gases. Natural differences in the climate may be to blame this time.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

1. Were the operators the ones who were jailed?
2. Did the people know the dangers of running the tests on the reactor?
3. If the citizens send their children and themselves after theyare exposed to radiation, can't they pass it on to more people?
4. If the nuclear reactors powered 40% of the electricity, what will they use now?
5. If no facilities or waste water treatments exist, then are people just drinking the contaminated water?
6. Has the supersarcophagus been completed?
7. Is it spelled chernobyl or chornobyl?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Questions for Panel:

1. Can the chemicals ever completely disappear?

2. Would you live in Love Canal?

3. If you did not have a family or anyone to endanger would your opinion change for question 2?

4. Who is wrong (or the most at fault) the school board or hooker chemical?

5. Is safe the same thing as habitable?
   1.) What caused the toxic waste to begin being pushed to the surface?
   2.) What are some of the health hazards associated with the chemicals dumped there?
   3.) Besides humans how are other parts of the ecosystem affected by This?

The winter of 1977 brought blizzards that filled up the canal. After that came spring and a lot of rain. So all the water was forced under the canal, causing the chemicals to ooze out. Some health hazards associated with the chemicals dumped there could be things like death, liver and stomach problems, diabetes, damaged immune systems, and nervous system problems. Not just humans can be affected by the chemical waste, the ecosystem is damaged as well. If these chemicals are toxic, then they are not good for anyone/thing. First off, they can kill the animals, and sometimes some chemicals have worse effects on animals than humans. Dioxin can cause cancer, death, and other horrible things to animals. The waste can also kill plants, and if an animal then eats that plant, it will die as well. Also the chemicals can cause soil contamination, air pollution, and water pollution.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Hazards of Oil Dispersants

Susan Shaw really opened my eyes and made me realize what was happening. Until now I never thought things were this bad. This video basically tells you the reality of the situation. The water is very contaminated, things are far worse now with the oil + chemical mix than with just the oil. Now, sea life will most likely die out in the gulf. Shaw described the chemical dispersant process like this: Micelles form around the oil and then solvent breaks into the oil, the lipid membrane, then the surfactants break down the oil. The problem is, is that the micelles job is to deliver, and they do, but they deliver to everything, including the fish. So if the fish haven't received any of the micelle, then the micelle will make sure it does. Since the dispersants break down lipid membrane cells, oil can enter the skins and organs more easily. Oil is very toxic, especially to our organs, and it can cause birth problems, mutations, etc. Also, the Corexit that was used contains Arsenic, which can cause cancer. One of Shaw's main arguments is that we have the right to know what's going on, but information is not being given. Like with the Corexit data sheets, they're supposed to show all the ingredients, but they pretty much say nothing. Another terrible thing is that there is no fertilization whatsoever in the corals, which are home to 25% of sea life. Now, what's going to happen is the piscivorous fish are going to be hit by all the corexit-oil and they have very sensitive gills/respiratory system so it won' t be good for them. The animals will get internal bleeding and something called chemical pneumonia. Shaw is also incredibly concerned about the air-breathing mammals because every time they come up for a breath they will breath the oil fumes, they will also get chemical pneumonia, internal bleeding, ulcers, burns on their eyes and mouth, and the list goes on. Shaw also believes that this isn't even the beginning of what will happen to the gulf animals.

For me I felt that the video was a little bit on the negative side (not necessarily a bad thing), and the article was kind of indifferent. It tells us about how the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) said that 75% of the oil is gone and the oil spill is not a big deal and will soon go away. Then the article talks about how researchers at the University of Georgia came up with different results. UGA has found that the oil thought to be gone, is actually just at the bottom of the gulf. Director of UGA, Charles Hopkinson, basically said that the idea of 75% of oil gone is rather ridiculous. The University of South Florida also disagrees with the government's optimistic idea of three quarters of the oil being gone. The UGA researchers were also the ones to discover the underwater oil plumes, the director believes it will take years for the oil to completely disappear. The government assumed that residual oil had reached the shore where it would be broken down by bacteria. Unfortunately, the oil is actually just floating around or making its way to the bottom of the ocean, nowhere near the shore.

The author, Bryan Walsh, towards the end of article says that we need more information and more studies. This is rather similar to what Shaw was saying towards the end of the video about how we had the right to know. I agree with both Walsh and Shaw that we should be able to know and that we need to know and uncover what is going on so that we can than find what will be going on.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

8th Grade DLC

Three things I want to know about chemical dispersants:
1. If there is a way to use the dispersant without harming fish
2. How toxic the chemicals are
3. If we really made things worse than they were in the beginning with the dispersants