Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What I Have Learned

     This project has made me realize a lot. It has caused me to see that what we learn about in school really can pertain to real life. Its not just something that i learn, to take a test, and than can forget about. No, these things i learn and experience are happening in the world outside of school. This project was way more fun than just sitting in class listening to a lecture. It immersed me in the real world and gave me a hands on lesson on ecology.
     Besides all of that intellectual things i gained from this project, i gained social skills. When doing this project i met new people, real people, scientists that were doing what they loved. They interacted with me and taught me things. Like different species and the background of those species. Just the interaction with those scientists is what helped me learn how to speak professionally and interact professionally with adults.
     Lastly, this project, the iNaturalist project, is one of those lessons i will not forget. It was an extreme privilege to be able to use the equipment i had access to. The whole hands on experience really enforced the lessons i had learned in class. I was able to witness an ecosystem in effect and see examples of survival of the fittest. Not to mention all of the experiences i got from this. For example one time i was trying to photograph a spider, i unknowingly intimidated it and its defense mechanism popped up. Literally, the back part of the spider got bigger and the spider started walking toward me. I was able to see species i would not have noticed on a daily basis. This project has exposed me to so much more than just biology.
 
As you can see, the picture is blurry because the spider startled me, the big yellow part on the back of the spider is its defense mechanism.

Fir tree

My final observation on May 20, 2014 was of a type of fir tree. I found it on the outside of the park, closer to some houses. After collecting my pictures of the leaves, bark, and tree itself i went home to do some identifications. I came to the conclusion that it was a type of fir. But which i could not figure out. Hopefully a scientist on iNaturalist will be able to identify it for me. When i saw this tree i noticed that trees were extremely tall. It reminded me of survival of the fittest because the tallest trees got the most sun/fog, which is what these trees need to grow. I wonder how old these trees are because these trees are massive. Note that the pictures are sideways because of the way i was taking them.
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Berry Bush

On May 20, 2014 I was walking around the neighborhood and went to the park. I was walking a path when I came across an interesting bush. It was a green bush that had spiky leaves. After doing some research I came to identify this bush as a berry bush. Although, the odd thing I noticed was that this bush did not have any berries on it. This made my wonder why this bush appears to be a berry bush but does not have any berries. Did i identify the plant wrong? Or maybe its just the season that causes the bush to be berry less. Either way, the bush reminded me of survival of the fittest because the spiky leaves are probably used as defense against predators to protect the bush's leaves or berries.MediumMedium

Grass Spider

During the same search for species on May 20, 2014, a little black dot moving on the side of my house caught my eye. It was an extremely small spider climbing on the wall. It had striped legs and a stripe down its back. This time the spider let me get really close to it so I could take a picture. Then I did some research online and found the closest ID I could find is a Grass Spider, also known as Genus Agelenopsis. Sighting this spider made me notice that spider was on the move and did not have a web. This made me wonder if this spider was new to the area, given the fact that the spider had no web, it may have been on something my family had brought to our house. Regardless, this reminded me of survival of the fittest because the spider found a way to survive on its own.Medium

Dandelion

On May 20, 2014 I went on another search for more plants to add to my iNaturalist. I started in the easiest place, my backyard. I knew which plants were landscaping and which were natural. I was careful to avoid my mom's flowers and I came across a common weed, a dandelion. These are common pests found in many places. This one found its way into a tall pot. This made me wonder how this dandelion was going to reproduce and if it did, where all of its offspring would go. This reminded me of survival of the fittest because the Dandelion has grown in this pot so it would be sheltered. I noticed that this Dandelion had all of its seeds, the pot was protecting the dandelion from wind so the dandelion could not reproduce. There is a feature on iNaturalist where you can search up a species, I discovered its official name is Taraxacum officinale.Medium

Scarlet Pimpernel

To wrap up that day up on May 7, 2014, I came across this little flower looking plant. It was hiding in the corner of a planter box. Its bright pedals brought attention to it. As I have now discovered, it is far easier to get a good picture of a plant instead of a living organism because just like a little kid, when you try to take pictures of a living organism it likes to fidget. Upon finding this plant it reminded me of an ecosystem because all organisms have a role in the ecosystem. I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of these little flowers around the area. I wondered what this plant's role was in the ecosystem, because it was so small. So I uploaded this plant onto iNaturalist not really sure what to label it. I googled the description of the plant and came up empty handed. I gave up and just labeled it flower. I came back about a week later to find an Identification. The identification came from a user with the name "kueda". If you are not familiar with the website or its user, "kueda" 's real name is Ken-ichi Ueda. He is one of the developer s and a co-founder of the website. It was so cool when I got a response from a real scientist. It showed me that these scientists really care about this project and it made me realize I am apart of something much bigger. I was sure to send a thank-you to him for identifying this plant.
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Dipoena Malkini (Spider)

Again, on May 7, 2014 my biology class went around my high school's campus looking for species to log onto iNaturalist. While other fellow students were crawling around looking for obvious species, I was just looking in crevasses where bugs that did not want to be seen would be. Finally, in the corner of a window, I found this little spider. That day I had an ipad so it was hard to maneuver the ipad to get a good picture, but also not scare him off. So I did what I could, but my fellow students were all holding onto the magnifying lenses. Upon encountering this spider, I wondered why this spider would continually sit in this corner and not want to move. I noticed that the spider was very small. The fact that it was so small reminded me of a specie's role in an ecosystem because I did not know what this little spider's role could be in his ecosystem.MediumMediumMediumMedium