This article provides a brief overview of the evolutionary path which led to the appearance of human camera eyes which allow us to see so effectively. Features of human vision are explained including how electrical nerve impulses are transmitted from retina of the eye to the visual cortex of the human brain allowing us to ‘see’. How the brain composes images and an explanation of saccadic eye movements.
Adaptions allowing mangroves to populate intertidal areas including aerial stilt roots, pneumatophores, ways of disposing of excess salt and ways of conserving water. Features of red, black, white mangroves and buttonwoods and their zonation in mangrove forests. Seedlings of different mangrove species and their dispersal. How seedlings grow on parent trees before dropping off. Benefits to communities.
The evolution of prokaryotic bacteria in ancient seas 3.8 billion years ago; how cyanobacteria evolved to use visible light as a source of energy; the appearance of stromatolites in ancient seas; how the evolution of eukaroyotic cells led to the appearance of sea algae; how sea algae adapted to living on land to form the first land plants, the bryophytes. Some adaptions that prevent the dessication of bryophytes.
The ancient greek Galenist view of the movement of blood round the body; Versalius, Fabricuius and Fallopius and their studies of human anatomy. The emergence of William Harvey and how he drew on the work of his predecessors to discover how blood circulates in the human body. A description of some of Harvey’s practical experiments including tying a ligature around a forearm and interpreting the outcome.
‘Warm blood’ and an explanation of what it means to be endothermic. How homeothermic endotherms are able to maintain a constant body temperature within a narrow temperature range; the strong relationship between ‘mass specific basal metabolic rate’ and body mass; surface area to volume ratios; mechanisms by which the body loses and gains heat; abandoning endothermy by hibernation and torpor.
What makes reptiles ‘cold blooded; why ‘ectothermic’ is a more accurate description of reptiles than ‘cold blooded.’ How ectotherms ‘thermoregulate’ their core temperatures by adopting different types of behavior. Physiological adaptions of ectotherms including changing skin color, freeze avoidance and freeze tolerance. Why ectotherms make excellent ambush predators. The hearts of ectotherms.
This article discusses ways in which plants have adapted to disperse their seeds after fire has destroyed the landscape. Species explored include the Lodgepole pine trees and two Banksia species from Australia; how seeds disperse through the effects of smoke shock (Whispering Bells) and heat shock (Sweet Wattle) following forest fires; how species indirectly benefit from forest fires to help disperse their seeds.
This science artilce investigates convergent evolution in different organisms and how two totally unrelated species can evolve to resemble each other in different ways. We investigate convergent evolution in color, body shape, body organs, defensive spines, tongues, eyes, animal behavior, brain function, mimicry and in extinct species. We also look at convergent evolution in animals, plants, fish, insects and reptiles.
Sphagnum Moss and how its spores accelerate incredibly fast; how Sphagnum moss reproduces and preferred habitats; how peat forms from Sphagnum moss; the formation of Sphagnum peatlands by two different processes which include terrestrialization and paludification; blanket bogs and raised peat bogs; some organisms which inhabit these peatlands; conditions in which Sphagnum peatlands thrive.
An explanation of the pollination, seed dispersal by water and gravity, germination and growth of the common coconut or Cocos nucifera; how people use the common coconut and the main reasons for its amazingly wide dispersal; how the coconut fruit is actually a ‘dry drupe’ and has some things in common with peaches and other fleshy fruits; how the male and female flowers develop inside a sheathe.