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Miss Baker's Biology Class Wiki
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9th Honors Biology
Science Online '09
Fallow Deer Pic
How Will I Meet This Expectation?
How Did I Meet This Expectation?
Demonstrate ability to evaluate sources of biology information on the internet
I will search for biology journals and first hand sources.
I will use the sources given to me in class.
I will view sources listed by my peers, evaluate them and if I they are valuable sources I may use them for my own blog post.
I will put my sources up for peer review and see if my classmates deem them valuable.
I will use sources approved by Ms. Baker.
-I used two biology news sources and a more general science news website.
-I used information given to me from a practicing evolutionary biologist (she has more degrees), which is a first hand source.
-I stated that I believed one of Jack's sources, sharp brains, is credible.
-I stated that I believed that one of Vincent's sources, Institute for Vaccine Safety, is credible.
-I stated that I believed one of Justin's sources, an article about the cure of a frog disease by antibiotics, is not credible.
-I stated that one of Amy's sources, Micro biolgy blog, is a credible source
-I stated that I believe that Jack's "Reality Bytes" source is credible.
-I found a first hand source of information (GrrlScientist).
Demonstrate an ability to read and understand current biology news
I will re-read the article numerous times.
I will look up any word that I do not understand.
If I have any questions I will ask Ms. Baker and any other science teacher with knowledge of the topic.
-I read four articles about current biology news, three articles for my post and one about the professional I contacted.
-I found out the meanings of aviculturist, ornithologist, etc.
-I have asked Ms. Baker MANY questions to make sure I knew what I was doing.
-I have used infromation given to me in an email in my post.
Demonstrate proper use of online resources
I will insert hyperlinks where appropriate so that my readers can see where I got my information from.
I will use creative commons pictures from websites such as Flickr and Google in my post.
I will put videos from websites such as YouTube or Yahoo! in my post.
-I placed hyperlinks for sources from the websites that I used for my post in the actual text.
-At the bottom, I showed the e-mails between me and GrrlScientist to show the inormation that she gave me which I included in my post.
-I put a creative commons picture from Flickr of a male collared flycatcher in the post.
-I added a YouTube video of two male fallow deer during the rut (the deer mating season).
-I added a YouTube video of a male collared flycatcher.
-I put a creative commons picture from Flickr of a fallow deer buck in the post.
Publish work that is available for peer-review
Before I put my post of the blog I will have a couple of my fellow students read it over and have them give me advice on what I can do to make it a better post.
I will try to get another science teacher to read over my post to see if there is anything that I can do to make a better quality post.
I will put the post on my wiki so others can view it.
I will put the post on facebook so my friends may critique my post.
I will then put the post on the blog for peer-review.
-I have had Geoffrey read my post and give me feedback.
-I have put my post on the wiki so others can read it.
-I have made my post available to my facebook friends that would like to read it.
-I have had Mrs. Ciluffo read my blog post and help me with gramatical and other errors.
-I have had family members give me feedback on my post.
Discuss published work with a practicing biologist in that particular field
I will also ask other Biology teachers that I know to review my post and give me advice to improve it.
I am going to ask Ms. Baker if she knows a practicing biologist that would critique my post.
-Ms. Baker helped me find GrrlScientist, who is an evolutionary biologist, aviculturist, ornithologist, birder, and freelance science and nature writer. She also has a PhD in Zoology and a BS in Microbiology.
-I discussed my post with Ms. Baker.
Provide constructive peer-review to classmates
I will try to review as many posts as I can so that my classmates will have more than one person critiquing their post so they can possibly get a better quality post.
I will also try to give people in the other class review if they would like it.
I will state if I believe that a source that one of my classmates have posted is credible or not.
-I evaluated Geoffrey's post.
-I helped a classmate with understanding what we were supposes to do with this table.
-I helped a classmate with placing a photointo his post and adding a hyperlink to it to show that it is a creative commons photo.
-I have approved and dissaproved many of my classmates potential credible sources.
-I commented on Alec's blog post.
Discuss in-class assignments
I will relate my post to an organism that we have talked about in class or something that will come up on one of the trips that we are going to take.
I will comment on posts that relate to topics that we have discussed in class.
-I related my post to the mating rituals of particular animals.
-I also discussed what a female organism looks for in a male organism when searching for a mate.
-I discussed how the age of an animal is attractive to a female because it shows that the organism is more "durable" and able to survive in the wild.
-I discussed how visual qualities show signs of healthiness and immunity to certain sicknesses.
Apply creativity to work
I am going to try to create designs using Flash and Photoshop.
I am also going to try to create cartoons for my post by drawing them and using Photoshop.
-I drew a picture of "love doves" but unfortunately couldn't get it on to the computer.
-I added a "catchy" title.
-I included interesting words such as "shallow" and "ornaments" in my post.
-I included my backround knowledge of this post from things I've learned from relatives who know about deer, what we've learned in class, and what I have picked up on Animal Planet and National Geographic.
-I chose a topic about animals that I like and enjoy learning about.
My Blog Project:
Why Do Sexy and Healthy Go Hand in Hand?
If you thought that being attractive and pleasing to eyes and ears was just shallow, there are many scientists that would like to disagree with you.
In fact, there are physical qualities, such as colorings, that express an organism’s immunity to certain diseases.
The collared flycatcher bird is one of these organisms.
The male collared flycatcher has a quality, which determines the bird’s
immunity to the Avian Flu
; this quality is the white spot on its forehead.
The white patch on the bird’s forehead is known as the
secondary sexual character
(As you can see, there is a white patch of feathers on the bird's forehead.)
It has been proven that the males with the largest white spot on their foreheads are the birds with the most antibodies produced to fight the avian flu.
This trait is not just useful to the bird itself, but also to the females looking to mate with the prime male.
In scientific studies, it has been shown that females are somehow aware that the males with the largest patch of white feathers on their heads are the males that will produce the healthiest and strongest offspring.
Making themselves more attractive, the males enlarge the white patch on their foreheads during mating season.
(This is a video of a collared flycatcher; if you look closely you can see the white patch of feathers on its forehead.)
Birds aren’t the only organisms that use attractive traits to judge health; the fallow deer is another.
The difference between the judgment of a female flycatcher and a female fallow deer is that the flycatcher uses its eyes to determine the prime mate while the deer uses its ears.
The male deer
while attracting females, mating, and battling other males.
Males can groan about once a second to twice every one and a half seconds; this is a very tiring activity.
The most successful males during the rut, the mating season, can lose 25% of their body weight; they don’t eat because of the constant challenge of finding a mate.
Females are attracted to the males with the deepest pitched groan.
The groans pitch is dependent on the size of the deer’s vocal chords.
Although they are not always the biggest, the dominant males may have a longer neck or another trait, which causes the extension of the vocal chords.
It has been discovered that the males with the deepest groan gain the “alpha” rank in the herd.
(This is a video of two male fallow deer fighting during the rut.)
I have acquired some additional information form a practicing evolutionary biologist (with many degrees). Her name is
and she is a brilliant woman. I sent her a message with the following question, “I was wondering if you could e-mail me some traits that a female of any of your favorite species looks for when searching for a mate.” She replied with an insightful e-mail with great information. She told me, “In the case of deer, females choose males with a large body size and with the largest and most symmetrical antlers because those features are possessed only by the healthiest males.” She later explained that antlers show a sign of health because they are made of calcium; in order for a buck (male deer) grow a large rack of antlers it needs to be able to have most of the calcium from its diet go to that specific spot. She also said, “These are known among evolutionary biologists as ‘honest signals’ because the male cannot fake a large body size, nor can he fake a large rack of symmetrical antlers. Those characteristics develop over time in healthy males, while weaker males have smaller body sizes and smaller antlers, or their antlers will be asymmetrical in shape.” She then stated that age was also an important factor to the females. It was important because age shows the ability to survive during frigid and barren winters, which is a good trait to pass on to the young.
In the later part of her e-mail she stated, “‘Ornaments’ such as wattles, brilliant breeding plumages, long tails, complex courtship dances, excellent territories and, in the case of passerines, song. All these behaviors and physical attributes require a large investment of energy of the part of the male, so females can rely on these characters as honest signals as to the quality of the male since the healthiest males are the only ones who can produce the highest quality plumages, ornaments, dances and songs, and hold the highest quality territories, while younger, weaker or diseased males fail at producing one or more of these many signals that they must provide to females in order to successfully attract a mate.”
I e-mailed a professional in this topic. She is a brilliant lady and was very helpful with my understanding of my blog topic. The document below is my e-mail to the scientist:
I am one of Ms. Stacy Baker's science students and am currently working on a blog project for her class. I am writing my post about how attractiveness to the opposite sex in the animal kingdom is useful for determining the healthy male. I will be mentioning two different species of animals, the collared flycatcher and the fallow deer, in my project. As a requirement I am supposed to contact a professional in the field in my topic and Ms. Baker referred me to you. I understand that you have worked with birds, parrots in particular, for most of your life, and I was wondering if you could e-mail me some traits that a female of any of your favorite species looks for when searching for a mate. Thank you very much.
Her answers to my questions:
i am always pleased to help kids with their projects, so thank you for writing.
as you mention, it is usually the female who chooses her mate and not
the other way around -- usually. in the situations when the females do
the choosing, it depends upon the sorts of "ornaments" that the males
possess. in the case of deer, females choose males with a large body
size and with the largest and most symmetrical antlers because those
features are possessed only by the healthiest males.
large body size is associated with health as well as age. older males
are more desirable to females because older males have been healthy
throughout their lives: they have survived several bad winters and
many escapes from predators.
antlers are important because the male grows them for several months
each year. growing antlers each year is a huge investment because they
are made primarily of calcium, just as bone is, and getting enough
calcium from their diet to grow a large and beautiful rack of antlers
is a measure of the male's quality and health -- only the healthiest,
highest quality males can do this. less healthy or lower quality males
cannot obtain enough calcium from their diet to grow large antlers,
and if the male is diseased, his antlers will grow in an asymmetric
these are known among evolutionary biologists as "honest signals"
because the male cannot fake a large body size, nor can he fake a
large rack of symmetrical antlers. those characteristics develop over
time in healthy males, while weaker males have smaller body sizes and
smaller antlers, or their antlers will be asymmetrical in shape.
in birds, the same principle applies. among bird species where the
males are brightly colored and they possess "ornaments" such as
wattles, brilliant breeding plumages, long tails, complex courtship
dances, excellent territories and, in the case of passerines, song.
all these behaviors and physical attributes require a large investment
of energy of the part of the male, so females can rely on these
characters as honest signals as to the quality of the male since the
healthiest males are the only ones who can produce the highest quality
plumages, ornaments, dances and songs, and hold the highest quality
territories, while younger, weaker or diseased males fail at producing
one or more of these many signals that they must provide to females in
order to successfully attract a mate.
if you have questions, feel free to ask.
hope this helps,
$upport science education for America's kids
American Expat living in Frankfurt, Germany
Are there other traits, such as scent, in which a female can determine the health of a male?
It is possible that a female collared flycatcher will mate with a male pied flycatcher; what are the benefits of this?
Are there traits that are not physical, such as mental, that can be expressed by males to “impress” females?
I think that dolphins are very interesting animals. They can be trained to do all sorts of tricks, for example, carrying someone on its flipper. Here is a video of a dolphin at
doing just that and more.
This is a picture of dolphins doing another one of the many tricks that they are taught to perform for many at SeaWorld.
SeaWorld doesn't just have dolphins; there are many more aquatic animals that can also be trained to do tricks.
I also find owls to be very interesting.
This is a
Great Horned Owl
. They are known to attack humans if they come to close to their young and even include other owls as part of their diet.
This is an informational video about a Great Horned Owl.
I like cars as well.
Here is a video of a Smart Car racing a Ferrari. You will never believe who wins.
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