Sunday, October 6, 2013

Where has Honors Biology Gone?

We are switching to a new learning management system at school and as such, I'm no longer updated this blog. If you are looking for a particular resource or post, feel free to leave a comment or search the "archives" or labels in the sidebar on the right.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Objectives for Communities and Ecosystems

Objectives for Communities and Ecosystems:
_______CE 1. Define species, habitat, population, community, ecosystem and ecology.

_______CE 2. Distinguish between autotroph and heterotroph.

_______CE 3. Distinguish between consumers, detritivores and saprotrophs.

_______CE 4. Describe what is meant by a food chain, giving three examples, each with at least three linkages (four organisms).

_______CE 5. Describe what is meant by a food web.

_______CE 6. Define trophic level.

_______CE 7. Deduce the trophic level of organisms in a food chain and a food web.

_______CE 8. Construct a food web containing up to 10 organisms, using appropriate information.

_______CE 9. State that light is the initial energy source for almost all communities.

 _______CE 10. Explain the energy flow in a food chain.

_______CE 11. State that energy transformations are never 100% efficient.

_______CE 12. Explain reasons for the shape of pyramids of energy.

_______CE 13. Explain that energy enters and leaves ecosystems, but nutrients must be recycled.

 _______CE 14. State that saprotrophic bacteria and fungi (decomposers) recycle nutrients.

 _______CE 15.  Distinguish between primary and secondary succession and give an example of each type of succession.

_______CE 16. Explain the effects of living organisms on the abiotic environment with reference to the changes occurring during ecological succession to climax communities.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Food Webs & Your Penultimate Assessment

Create your own food web with 5 to 10 organisms.
You must include your organism from the Penultimate Assessment.
Use scientific and common names.

This is due Tuesday for C period and Wednesday for D period.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Test Monday - C period, Tuesday - D period

On Monday for C period ( or Tuesday for D period), you will have a test on populations, the dandelion lab and inter- & intra-specific interactions.

You can find the interactions between species PowerPoint here (the objectives for community interactions are the statements in the packet where you took notes on biotic and abiotic factors --yes you need to know that).

You can find the population objectives here.

You will have 55 minutes for your test.  If you have extended time, please come to consult to start your test early.  At 11:40 you will have a five minute break and at 11:45 we will continue to use the rest of the double period.  Yes, really.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cornstalks Everywhere But Nothing Else, Not Even A Bee

"We'll start in a cornfield — we'll call it an Iowa cornfield in late summer — on a beautiful day. The corn is high. The air is shimmering. There's just one thing missing — and it's a big thing...
...a very big thing, but I won't tell you what, not yet."
Want to find out the VERY BIG THING?  Read more here.

Stats Concept Map

Need help thinking about what type of test you would use to analyze your data?  Check out the concept map below (note: this is NOT an exhaustive list of possible tests).

Monday, April 29, 2013

D period - Species Interactions

Today we used the PowerPoint below to talk about the interactions between species.

Homework: Take notes on Slides 12-16

Dandelion Sampling Lab

Today you sampled quadrats on the Circle and on the Flag Pole Green to look at population dispersion of dandelions.  After inputting all of your data to the google doc, you and your partner, AND ONLY working with your partner, will analyze the data.

How you analyze the data is up to you.  After completing your analysis, answer the following questions:

1. What type of tests did you conduct?
2. Why did you chose this type of analysis?
3. Is this test inferential or descriptive stats?
4. What are the limitations of the types of test that you conducted?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Penultimate Assignment #2 - Due Monday April 29th

Module 182 is describes the components of a life history strategy.  In this part of the Penultimate Assessment you need to discuss the life history strategies of your species.

To complete this task you should:
1.      Identify:
a.       The age at first reproduction
b.      Parity
c.       Fecundity
2.      Identify if the reproductive strategy is semelparity or iteroparity and explain why it falls into this classification.

3.      Describe the degree of parental behavior.  If your species does not demonstrate parental behavior explain how a lack of parental behavior could have arisen through evolution.

4.      Classify the species as either an r-strategist or a k-strategist. Explain why your species falls into this category.

5.      Identify and describe at least one trade-off your species reproductive strategies.

Provide an annotated bibliography that summarizes your research on the organism.
Note:   For this class and many scientific publications the American Psychological Association (APA) style of citation is appropriate.  You will find a full description of this style through the Bunn Library website directing you to:

An additional reminder: You must also include in-text citations that accompany your annotated bibliography.  In-text citations should include the author’s last name and date of publication.
1.      Submit your descriptions of adaptations and bibliography to your instructor via Blackboard as a “Turn-It-In” assignment and as a hard copy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Homework from Monday's Class

C period: Finish reading Module 181 and read the first two pages of Module 182 as well as take notes on the survivorship curves on the third page of the module (there are notes telling you what to do).

D period: Read Module 181 - follow along with the annotations.  Be sure to complete the external links to the mark and recapture simulation as well as the life tables simulation.

Objectives for Populations

Objectives for Populations:

____P1. Define population

____P2. Describe methods for estimating population size and density.

____P3. Identify factors that influence the density and distribution of populations.

____P4. Explain how population size changes over time and identify causal factors.

____P5. Outline how population size is affected by natality, immigration, mortality and emigration.

____P6. Draw and label a graph showing a sigmoid (S-shaped) population growth curve.

____P7. Explain the reasons for the exponential growth phase, the plateau phase and the transitional phase between these two phases.

____P8. List three factors that set limits to population increase.


C period lab:
Today we spent the first half learning about populations and factors that can affect their size and distribution. You can download the PowerPoint from today's class here (because there are animations, it's not worth it to put it on slideshare).

We watched this TED talk from Hans Rosling.

In the second half of class, you worked on collecting data for Week 2 of the Eutrophication lab and read Module 181 (this module has been annotated for you).

Homework: Read Module 182.  This Module has NOT been annotated for you.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Quiz tomorrow!

Reminder: you have a quiz tomorrow (see side bar for details).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Simpson's Diversity Index

Today you learned about the Simpson's Diversity Index. You can find the sample problem we did in class in the PowerPoint below on slides 2-10.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Biodiversity loss increases infectious diseases among humans

We are now transitioning from evolution to ecology.  To kick off this transition you read a literature review from Nature "Impacts of biodiversity on emergence and transmission of infectious disease." 

C period - Today you collected your first round of data for the eutrophication lab and started to read the article.  For homework, finish reading the article and be prepared to discuss what you read.  Please also bring a device that gets internet (you can use your phone).

D period - To you wrapped worked in expert groups on the domain presentations.  If you are a slow reader you should read 2-3 pages of the Nature article tonight.  You will have 45 minutes in class tomorrow to work on the article finish collecting your first round of eutrophication lab data.

From Mr.T's site:  Click the picture to link to the PowerPoint

D Period Domain Presentations


Friday, April 12, 2013

Three Domain Presentations - C Period


Penultimate Assignment #1

As your first assignment related to the organism you have chosen, you will investigate the adaptations that characterize your organisms unique design for survival.

To complete this task you should:
1.     Respond to the survey request reserving your species as unique among the classes.
2.     Discuss three different adaptations for your species.
a.     Describe the adaptation
b.     Classify these adaptations as physiological, morphological, or behavioral. 
c.     Explain how the adaptation has improved upon the fitness of the organism.
d.     Relate at least one of the adaptations to a “theme of biology” that is not connected to evolution.  In other words, do not use either the unity or diversity of life as your theme.
3.     Provide an annotated bibliography that summarizes your research on the organism.
Note:      For this class and many scientific publications the American Psychological Association (APA) style of citation is appropriate.  You will find a full description of this style through the Bunn Library website directing you to:
For the annotated bibliography, include two sentences describing the source and the information you used in your PA#1.  For more information on citations, check out the very helpful Bunn Library Website here.

4.     Submit your descriptions of adaptations and bibliography to your instructor via Blackboard as a “Turn-It-In” assignment and as a hard copy.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Three domain presentations

Today in class you worked on your three domain presentations.  You will present these in class on Wednesday.

Oral Presentation Component:

Ñ       Each person must speak for an equal amount of time.

Ñ       Presentations are to be 12 to 15 minutes long.  Points will be deducted if you are under or over time.  Be sure to practice your presentation!

Ñ       Do not read from the PowerPoint!  You may show a video clip, but videos cannot account for more than two minutes of your presentation.

Content of the Presentation:

Ñ       Include an overview of what distinguishes your domain from the other two domains.

Ñ       Include approximately when at least three phyla appeared in the grand scheme of evolution.

Ñ       Include and explain a phylogeny that shows the relationships between various organisms in this domain and how that fits with the other two domains.  

Ñ       Additional information: This will vary depending on which domain you are researching.


Ñ       One page, can be double sided.
Ñ       Must include citations.
Ñ       You may use the handout template or create your own.
Ñ       Must include a phylogeny.
Ñ       May leave space for your peers to take notes or may be a summary of your talk.
Ñ       Printing out the slides from your presentation is not an acceptable handout.
Ñ       Handouts do not need to be in color (nor is extra credit given for printing in color, not everyone has access to color printers/paper).

Here are some sites to get you started:

I will be posting your presentations on the blog, so make sure that you have properly cited all of your work (including images!!)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Phylogeny & Cladistics

This has been a busy week!  We tried a new lab and started transitioning from 'cookbook' labs to investigations where you need to work as a group to develop the procedure.  We will continue doing this for the remainder of the term.

I will be away on Friday and Saturday, but Mr. Hansen and Mr. Jordan are covering your classes.  Your assignment for class is posted below:

In class you will be given a handout on constructing cladograms.  You were told to bring your computer so you can look up information about the species in the activity.  If you need a tutorial on phylogeny click here! 

By the end of this week and this activity in particular, you should be able to do the following:

Objectives for Week 3:

·         Connect the process of evolution with the structure of a phylogeny.
·         Compare relatedness of organisms using a phylogeny.
·         Recognize the applications of phylogenetic information across biological disciplines.
·         Construct a cladogram for a given group of organisms that reflects the most likely shared ancestry.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Answer to Hardy-Weinberg Quiz

One out of 10,000 babies is born with PKU, a metabolic disease that causes mental retardation and other
problems. The disease is caused by a recessive allele.

What is the frequency of the genotype of the individuals in the population born with PKU?

What is the frequency of the recessive allele?

What is the frequency of the dominant allele?

What is the frequency of the carriers in the population.

What percentage of the population are carriers of the PKU allele?

Answer: One out of 10,000 babies is born with PKU, a metabolic disease that causes mental retardation and
other problems. The disease is caused by a recessive allele, and thus the frequency of the individuals in the
population born with PKU corresponds to q2 in the Hardy-Weinberg equation. Given one PKU occurrence per 10,000 births, q2=0.0001. The frequency of the recessive allele is 0.01 or 1%. Therefore, the frequency of the dominant allele is p=1-q or 0.99. The frequency of the carriers in the population is equal to 2pq or 2(.99)(0.01) =0.0198 or 1.98%. That means that about 2% of the population is carriers of the PKU allele.

Adopted from BiologyForLife

Quiz on Hardy-Weinberg & Evolutionary Arms Race Video

Today you had a short quiz on how to solve a Hardy-Weinberg problem.  D period shared their case studies on natural selection in mussels and crickets.  You can read about the mussels here and the crickets here.

We spent the remainder of the class watching PBS's Evolutionary Arms Race video from the Evolution series. You can find the website for the video here.

Below is a segment from the video (TB in Russian prisons)

Homework:  Tomorrow you will have a Harkness discussion on evolution.  Your prompt for the discussion is: Evolution is also called the 'unifying theory of biology.' What does this mean? Why do biologists find it nearly impossible to understand biology without understanding evolution?  What role does evolution play in our lives?

Prepare a notes sheet and at least three questions to ask as part of the discussion.  You will be graded on the notes, your questions and your participation in the discussion.

You can view the remainder of the video below:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Evolution Objectives - Week 2

Week 2: Objectives for Evolution
Modules: 70, 71

___________EV1. Define evolution _______

___________EV2. Outline the four types of evolution _______

__________ EV3. Outline the components required for natural selection ______

_________ EV4. Calculate fitness and changes to fitness using mathematical models. _______

_________EV5. Explain the relationship between mutation, adaptation and natural selection. Give an example in your answer. ________

________EV6. Identify examples of physical and behavioral adaptations in a diverse group of organisms.  _______

__________EV7 . Explain two examples of evolution in response to environmental change; one must be antibiotic resistance in bacteria ______
_______EV8. Discuss the definition of the term species _______
_______ EV9. Describe three examples of barriers between gene pools ________
_______ EV10. Compare convergent and divergent evolution. _________

Population Genetics Objectives - Week 1

Week 1: Population Genetics:

________ PG.1. Explain how a change in allele frequency is evolution.

________ PG. 2 Describe different mechanisms by which allele frequencies can change, including natural selection, genetic drift, and gene flow.

________PG. 3 Differentiate among stabilizing, disruptive, and directional selection.

________ PG 4. Give an example for each type of selection and explain how this example illustrates that type of selection.

________ PG 5. Compare founder effect and bottleneck effect

________ PG 6. State the assumptions made when the Hardy–Weinberg equation is used.

________PG 7 Describe the assumptions that underlie the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and also the conditions under which the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium applies.

_______PG 8 Calculate allele, genotype and phenotype frequencies for two alleles of a gene, using the Hardy–Weinberg equation.