Title: Classification of vertebrates
Aim: To observe the characteristics of vertebrates
Material: Writing pads, Diagrams, Preserved animals
Method: On the 6th December the biology students visited the Natural Science Museum at the Citadel. Several preserved animals were observed, studied, discussed and drawn. Some animals were also observed and studied at the biology laboratory. Some living vertebrates at the biology laboratory were also studied.
I liked this experiment. The experiment was successful because I saw examples of the 5 main vertebrates and I learned how to draw many types of vertebrates. The aim was achieved because I also drew diagrams.
Vertebrates are animals with a backbone (vertebral column).
This is used to protect the spinal chord, which is the place which supports the nerves. The top of the spinal chord connects to the brain which is protected by the skull. In most (not all) vertebrates to find a pair of jaws which have teeth on them. The five classes of vertebrates are fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and animals.
There are 4 main types of fish. The first fish didn’t have jaws. It is tough to eat and even harder to survive in the long run. Even with a mouth and a series of teeth to cling to their food, it’s still hard to compete with fish to have jaws and mouths. Some species made it to the modern world. One good example is a Lamprey. These fish suck on the sides of other fish.
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Cartilaginous fish include species of sharks, rays and skates. Sharks are the ultimate hunters of the ocean. They are big, fast and have very sharp teeth that rip their prey apart. Skates and rays are a lot more docile or non-aggressive. They are usually bottom feeders. The bodies of rays and skates have developed large wings that allow them to glide through the water using their tail as a rudder.
And then the fish with real bones came along. No longer was cartilage the skeleton of choice. Bony fish were able to out-compete most of the fish that has cartilage for skeletons. Scientists classify them into two groups – the lobe-finned and the ray-finned. Lobe-finned bony fish include examples such as lungfish and coelacanthus. Until about 30 years ago, scientists thought the coelancanthus was long extinct. Until one day a fisherman found one in his net and they found out that they had made a mistake.
You probably think of bony fish with ray shaped fins when you think of a classic fish. The bony fish with ray shaped fins include goldfish, tuna and trout. Something like a tuna can move extremely quickly through the water.
Most of the amphibians are slimy. They have a very good reason. Amphibians are the evolutionary step that happened when animals left the oceans and lakes and came to land. Some fish (lungfish) can survive out of the water for a while, but amphibians were designed for it. They need the water when they are kids. Amphibians also use their skin to absorb oxygen from the air. The absorption process is more efficient when the skin is moist all the time.
Reptiles have dry skin. When amphibians are dependent on water at some point in their lives, reptiles made it away from the water. The dry skin allows reptiles to move around for periods of time without water. The dry skin stops evaporation of the organism’s moisture. Reptile eggs are tough enough to survive on land. Reptiles lay eggs in the open and on land.
Birds can fly and for this they need wings. Feathers are just specialized scales. When they first appeared, they weren’t used for flying. Scientists aren’t sure what they did. One use other from flying is to attract other birds. They may have been developed to attract the ladies. While reptiles were the first to have eggs that could survive on land, birds gained an advantage when they developed eggs that had a hard shell. They were stronger and could support the embryo inside through harsher conditions (like rolling out of a nest).
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There are three types of mammals which are placental mammals (humans, polar bears), monotremes (platypus, spiny anteater) and marsupials (kangaroos, possums).
Placental mammals are the dominant form of mammal on the planet. Placental mammals deliver their young live and ready for action. Although the babies might still need some work, much of the basic development is done inside of the female’s placenta. When the baby is born, it still needs some rising and education. Mammalian mothers will usually stick around and help in that learning process. There are no pouches. The baby must walk or be carried.
Monotremes lay eggs. Monotremes are more closely related to reptiles than any other mammal. They have not yet evolved a way to have their babies live. An example of monotremes is the duck-billed platypus.
There are many more marsupials than monotremes. Kangaroos, koalas, possums and bandicoots. You’ll find a lot of them in Australia. Australia is an island continent. Because of its isolation, placental mammals didn’t take hold in their ecosystems. Marsupials are special mammals that give birth to their young live, but their babies mature in pouches. While they are in the pouch they suckle on the mother’s milk for nourishment.
I have learnt that mammals are divided into 3 groups. I have also learnt that amphibians are the evolutionary step that happened when animals left the oceans and lakes and came to land.
Title: Classification of plants
Aim: To observe the different classes of plants
Material: Sample of plants, writing pads
Method: On the 6th December the biology students visited the Natural Science Museum at the Citadel. Several samples of plants were observed, studied, discussed and drawn.
I liked this experiment. The experiment was successful because I saw the plants in the museum and I also saw diagrams of how the plants look from the inside. The aim was achieved because we also drew the plants.
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Plants are living things. Like us they grow, feed and produce young. There are lots of different kinds of plants, from weeds to trees. They may look different but we can group them together because they have some important things in common. These things are leaves, roots and another thing in common is that all plants reproduce from seeds. Also all plants have the same type of cells which are rectangular in shape and they include chloroplasts, mitochondria, a nucleus, Golgi bodies, a cell wall, a cell membrane and a vacuole. The vacuole which is found in the plant cell is bigger than that in the animal cell, in fact it is the biggest microorganism in the plant cell.
Algae are photosynthetic organisms that occur in most habitants. They vary from small, single-celled forms to complex multi-cellular forms such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. A big amount, if not all, of algae live in water.
The most important feature of Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) is that they have no vascular system. A vascular system in plants is a series of tubes that can transport water and nutrients over a distance. Without a vascular system, mosses and liverworts cannot grow very large. You know that they are actually carpets of individual plants. They are rarely taller than one inch high. Another important characteristic of these mosses is that they require water to reproduce. It’s another characteristic of their place in plant evolution. While all plants need water, mosses and bryophytes need droplets of water. Mosses are waxy little plants with no leaves and no stem that use each other to stay upright. Their inability to stay up is why you never see one little moss plant; it’s always a group. That grouping also helps them retain water in the area. A waxy covering across their bodies helps keep water from evaporating. One will usually find them in moist areas out of the direct sunlight. Liverworts are considered to be the simplest of all plants and often grow flat along the ground in large leaf-like structures. None of the bryophytes have roots. They all have rhizoids (little hairs).
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Like mosses, they are found in very moist areas, and some species even spend their lives in the water.
Ferns are able to live in a variety of climates as long as it is moist. Ferns are often used in landscaping. They are similar to mosses in that they need liquid to reproduce. When water is around, they are able to have baby ferns called zygotes. Ferns have some neat structural features. Some have large stems, several feet in length. Scientists calls those the tree ferns. Ferns also have specialized leaves called fronds. They unroll as they mature and spread out in a fan shape. The ferns were the first plant species to develop a circulatory system that lets them grow larger. They have roots, stems, leaves and trunks.
Flowers are able to attract organisms to help pollinate and distribute seeds. Another advantage is the fruit/seed packing. There are two kinds of seeds in the angiosperms, monocots and dicots. A cotyledon is the seed leaf. A monocot’s seed only has one package of food. Monocots are made up of simple flowering plants like grasses, corn, palm trees and lilies. Two of the characteristics of monocots are that their flowers have petals in numbers of three and their leaves are made of long strands. The other kind of plant in the flowering plant world is called a dicot. These plants have seeds that have two cotyledons, two seed leaves of food for the embryo. Most of the flowers you see every day are dicots. They have flowers with petals in numbers of four and five. They also have really complex leaves with veins all over, not long like monocots. Some examples of dicots are roses, sunflowers, cacti, apple and cherry plants.
The name ‘conifer’ comes from Latin and means ‘cone bearing’. All conifers bear their male and female reproductive organs in separate cones rather than in flowers. Trees usually bear both male and female cones. Most conifers are evergreen trees and shrubs. The conifers belong to the group of seed plants known as the gymnosperms. Gymnosperm literally means ‘naked seed’.
From the experiment I learned that not all plants are alike. I also learnt how to draw a plant.
Title: Classification of invertebrates
Aim: To observe the characteristics of invertebrates
Material: Writing pads, living animals, preserved animals, charts
... class. (Angiospermophyta is also called Anthophyta or Magnoliophyta) Flowering Monocot Plants (Angiospermophyta, Class Monocotyledoneae) Monocots start with one seed-leaf. The main veins ... are decidedly lopsided: the vast majority of the 270,000 plant species are flowering herbs. The categories listed below provide slightly better ...
Method: on the 6th December the biology students visited the Natural Science Museum at the Citadel. Several preserved animals of invertebrates were observed, studied, discussed and drawn.
I liked this experiment. The experiment was successful because I saw the many types of invertebrates. The aim was achieved because I saw many types of invertebrates and I drew some of them with labels and my classmates did the rest of the drawings.
Invertebrates do not have backbones. Most invertebrates can move. Even sponges move when they are very young and very small. Once they settle down they do not move any more. Other invertebrates like lobsters and insects move around their whole lives. Most invertebrates are organized in a symmetrical way. Also invertebrates do not have cell walls. Even though some invertebrates look like plants, they are not, because they do not have a cell wall.
An example of coelenterates is a jellyfish. The main body of a jellyfish is called the bell. That bell moves through a coordinated contraction that forces water out and thrusts the jellyfish forward. They spend their whole life cycle floating with the currents and capturing prey in their tentacles. They also have stinging cells (nematocysts) on the tentacles to paralyze fish and then eat them.
Round worms are also called nematodes. Round worms do not have specialized circulatory systems like annelids. They have special muscles that move down the length of that their muscles just work in each segment and not through their whole body.
Flatworms have simple nervous systems and sensory organs. While they don’t have a respiratory system or circulatory system to speak of, they do have a neat little digestive system. Most species of flatworms have no anus and a cavity with only one opening. While not all species do, many flatworm species use a mouth to eat. The only problem with no anus is that the stuff you don’t digest has to go out of the mouth when you are done. Other materials that need to be removed from the system can be excreted of excretory ducts in organisms. Flame cells have cilia that beat and filter out materials that the flatworm wants to get rid of.
Ring worms are able to move by contracting their little segments. They have parts called setae. Setae are two pairs of hairs on each segment. Those hairs help some annelids get a grip on the soil. They are able to move through the soil easier with those setae. Ring worms actually have loads of body parts that are duplicated in each segment. If one segment is damaged, some annelids can go living.
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Molluscs include all the shelled creatures of the seashore, with the exception of the barnacles. Molluscs are abundant in the region between high and low tide and are a major feature of all rocky ocean shores. Molluscs form one of the largest groups in the animal kingdom, with more than 80,000 known species. Molluscs form a very well defined group and although their outside features may very greatly in form and colour, their internal structure are constant.
Echinoderms all have some type of spiny structure on the outside. Tube feet are a speciality of the echinoderms. If you ever turn a starfish over you will see hundreds of little tubes on each arm. Those tubes attach to an object, suck in and attach to help the creature move. Those tube feet are also quite handy when it is time to eat. Starfish are hunters, moving around the rocks looking for food.
Arthropods all have exoskeletons. Exoskeletons are hard outer shells made of chitin. While you have an endoskeleton, a crab has a tough shell that protects it from the outside world. Next on the list are the arms and legs. They have jointed appendages. That’s what the name arthropod means, jointed leg. Inside those joints and exoskeletons are muscles that help the organisms move. There are four major types of arthropod. Three are found around you while one group is extinct. Trilobites are an extinct group that can be found in fossils around the world. Chelicerates include species such as spiders and horseshoe crabs. Uniramians include centipedes, millipedes and the biggest group of arthropod, insects. Crustaceans are the last category of arthropod. Crustaceans include crabs and lobsters. They are mainly aquatic species.
Myriapod means many legs. The only two arthropods in this group are millipedes and centipedes.
Insects are hexapods. That means they usually have six legs. While a deer might have four and a spider might have eight, insects usually have six legs. They have exoskeletons made of chitin. They usually have compound eyes. Compound eyes have a series of facets, each one acts like a little eye with its own parts. A fly’s eye is a classic example of a compound eye. They also have complete digestive tracts. While it might not seem like a big deal to you, having a mouth and an anus is a big advantage for an organism. Insects were the first organisms to fly. Several species developed wings of transparent chitin and flight muscles that contract quickly.
The crustaceans’ exoskeleton is very special. Some of the parts have actually fused together to form one piece. If you look very closely, you will see the places where they meet. They have something called a cephalothorax that is actually several sections of exoskeleton fused together. They have also developed a shield for their head. An insect head is sitting out there and could be bitten off. Crustaceans have developed a shield to protect their eyes and head area. Some of them don’t even have obvious heads. One example is a crab that has one big shell protecting its entire body.
The arachnids have eight legs. They have four pairs of legs on the cephalothorax. This species does not have a compound eye like the insect species, but it has many pairs of simple eyes.
From this experiment I learned that there are many types of invertebrates. I also learnt how to draw many types of invertebrates.