Friday, November 14, 2014

The Immense Complexities of God's Creation

In our lab yesterday, we were given a microscope and some samples of immature aquatic creatures, we were also given a key to identify these creatures down to their order. I often don't think about all these creatures that exist and serve specific purposes in nature, I rarely keep my eyes open in search of such things, generally because I take them for granted or consider them to be unimportant or insignificant. Our lab yesterday served to open my eyes to how truly amazing God's Creation is, having been in several Biology classes I knew about many species and already had an idea of some the complexities of our planet, but this Biology class has really illuminated on some unique and complex organisms that are often overlooked, and I think it is just amazing how complex and unique each one of God's creatures is. I looked at 5 different specimens, each one different from the last in at least one unique trait that is generally over looked, such as the type of mouthparts one has, or the presence of wing flaps on another. The small but identifiable differences in each specimen is so incredibly detailed and unique, I can only believe that these creatures were designed, by an All-Knowing God who is perfect and knows exactly what each creature needs to make this world in which we live function correctly. Every organism serves a specific purpose designed by a Creator God who has nature work in perfect motion, and he has given us as humans the responsibility to maintain, preserve, strengthen, and maximize the productivity and success of our surroundings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Biodiversity is being threatened!

Recently in my Biology class one of the main topics has been the decrease in biodiversity and its causes. Habitat loss (which leads to a decrease in biodiversity)is accelerating at an alarming rate! One half of the world's original forests have been removed and at a rate ten times faster than they can be replenished. This fact coupled with the increasing number of invasive species, global warming, and the increase in agriculture have contributed to extinction rates of animals being ten to even a hundred times greater than in previous times of extinction. Many scientists believe we are currently living in the Anthropocene Era, which is the age of human dominance. As I briefly mentioned before hand, agriculture is growing at an alarming rate due to the continuous increase in the human population, between 10-15% of the Earth's surface is agriculture, this truth helps to explain why many species are going extinct or becoming extirpated, because agriculture is moving into these animals environments and destroying their habitats causing them to evacuate, or lose their lives.

Friday, November 7, 2014


DDT stands for dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, this is an inorganic insecticide that was projected as a harmless and incredible agent in eliminating the spread of disease through insects. DDT was used unsparingly from World War II on through the sixties, in WWII the insecticide was used to control the spread of malaria and typhus amongst troops and civilians, following the war DDT was made available to the public for the use as an agricultural insecticide, making the production and application of DDT increase even more. In 1972 the US government passed a law banning the use of DDT in agriculture, and was soon followed by a worldwide ban. However, the use of DDT in diseased areas, such as certain parts of Africa, is still allowed however the use of DDT even for this purpose is still highly controversial amongst many groups. The use of DDT reached its peak in the fifties, when men, women, and children were practically submerged in DDT in order to rid their neighborhoods and homes of mosquitos and other pests. DDT's demise was caused by a woman by the name of Rachel Carson who wrote the famous book Silent Spring which highlighted the impacts of widespread application of DDT. In Silent Spring Carson questioned how smart it was of the US government to blindly spray DDT without knowing the possible biological affects the chemicals would have on our environment and the lives of the animals who take in the chemicals, as well as human health. This book ignited the American people and in their anger forced the US government to change their ways and eventually eliminate the application of DDT in the United States.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Owl Pellet Soup

Our Biology lab today consisted of dissecting owl pellets and examining the contents within. An owl pellet is of similar size to human's thumb, these pellets are the product of an owl vomiting up the parts of its prey that it cannot digest. These parts that the bird rejects would be bones and teeth. The reason the owl, along with other birds of prey, regurgitates these parts of an animal is because the bones are not digestible and would do great harm to the birds internal organs. Once we began dissecting the pellets we would find a bone, remove it, and then examine it under a microscope, and, using a key would decide what bone the bone we found is. Through this process my partner and I figured out (to a point) which animals the owl, whose pellet we were dissecting, had identified as prey. The process I afore described was not a pretty one, although it was very interesting and a good experience

Sunday, October 19, 2014


On Thursday of last week in Biology Lab, our class examined various arthropods, almost all of which were insects. Using microscopes and a key similar to that of a dichotomous key one uses to identify trees, we identified which order each chosen arthropod belonged to. To the naked eye the "bugs" are not the most impressive, interesting, or complex group of organisms. But once we put them under a microscope and looked for characteristics unique to that "bug." We had to examine all the parts of these arthropods that one never notices when passing a flower bed, or swatting a pest. For example, we weren't simply to identify if the creature had wings, but how many, and if those wings were the same or different sizes, and if the wings had many veins. We were also called to examine the mouth and antennae of the animals, and decide how many segments made up the antennae, and what type of mouth parts the certain arthropod had. The process was even more detailed than what I have mentioned but to describe it all would be very time consuming. This lab really opened my eyes to how intricate and delicate things are outside of what I observe walking around, taking the time to sit down and analyze these bugs that are often over looked or taken for granted was a great experience.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Gigantic Brown Recluse

Brown Recluse.jpg

A couple weekends ago, I was in the basement of Clay doing laundry and the BIGGEST Brown Recluse Spider came out of nowhere. I do not like spiders at all even though I know they serve a purpose I cannot stand to be near one. Anyways, I did some research on these spiders and found that the average size is about the circumference of a nickel, although size can differentiate somewhat greatly. The best way to identify a brown recluse spider is the color, generally light to medium brown, along with the odd marking on their backs that resembles a violin or fiddle. Well I used these tools to identify this spider and it was definitely a Brown Recluse, however this guy would've covered the top of a coke can! He was the biggest spider I have ever seen, and it was terrifying. I had no means of smashing him immediately around me, and I knew it would take more than my flip flop and I had no desire to get my bare foot anywhere near that cat sized spider. So, I grabbed a chair, about the similar to the ones found in most of the dorms on campus, and I crushed him with the chair. But when I picked up the chair the spider seemed unaffected and began to RUN AWAY. At this point I was absolutely terrified and knew that I had to kill it now or I would never be able to rest knowing that this ginormous spider was in the same building as myself... So I literally threw the chair at this spider and, thankfully, hit right on the money, completely squishing the devil. I was so relieved at first, but soon I began to think of how many more there might be surrounding me. Needless to say I got my laundry and retreated to my room in record time!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Leopold Discussion

My viewpoint on Leopold's piece will be coming from a Christian perspective. Leopold's central point is that humans must develop a code of ethics between man and the land on which we live and grow. Leopold states, and I agree, that we must have more respect for the land on which we reside, and that we must treat the land and its resources with greater care. In Genesis 1:26 God says "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So I believe that God has given man dominion over the earth, and that God wants us to use the gifts within the earth to our benefit; but with this privilege I believe God has entrusted to us the responsibility of maintaining and protecting the earth from being destroyed.
I did not agree with Leopold that we should become members and citizens of the earth, coexisting with animals and plants, because I believe that man is a higher form of life than the animals and plants, and- going back to the scripture- we have dominion over these things, therefore we cannot be their equals but are required by God to be their superiors. To sum up my point of view, I believe that God has given man a responsibility to the world to cultivate it, take advantage of its resources, and to maintain and protect it.