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Topic 2: Creature Chemistry
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"Few Biology questions
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Topic 2: Creature Chemistry
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Before preparing your response to this week's discussion topic I recommend (not required) that you watch
this video, a crash course in biological molecules, in addition to working through this week's OLI modules
Pick and research a topic related to chemistry and your chosen creature from last week. You could
describe the chemical compounds responsible for hair or feather colors, that helps it survive in various
environmental conditions like extreme cold or heat, that makes it poisounous, glow in the dark, or the
chemical composition of its diet. Before you start your research state a hypothesis. Then summarize what
you learned from your research and in the conclusion state whether the research support your
hypothesis, or not.
As long as the topic is related to chemistry and your creature you have a free range of topics to explore
here. You need to explore the topic in depth and relate it to the OLI content. Your response should be 2-3
One main response is due Sunday August 31, two replies are due Tuesday September 2.
Hypothesis: The eggs shells of the Great Blue Heron are made of a calcium compound that make it hard, this is important for
protection of the embryo.
Research Summary: I learned that bird eggs are made primaryly of calcium carbonate, which consist of calcium ions and
carbonate ions, the latter consisting of one carbon atom and three oxygen atoms. The calcium and carbonate ions are connected
by ionic bonds, the negatively charged carbonate ions donating two electrons to the positively charged calcium ions:.
Image copied from:
The calcium carbonate in the ggg shells does make them hard, and this protects the bird embryos, but I also learned that they have
lots of tiny pores that allow transport of various compounds, such as gasses and water, in and out of the eggs. So in other words
eggs are surrounded by semi-permeable membranes just like other cells (we will get back to this next week).
If you are interested in learning more about the anatomy and chemistry of eggs, check out this
My hypothesis was supported by the research even though the function of the egg shell is more complex than I had originally
Emperor Penguin. My last week creature Pick.
The species that I chose is the Emperor penguins. I chose this wonderful creatures because of how
beautiful they look. Apart from Barn Owl they are my second favorite birds. I like how they huddle
together to escape wind and keep warm. The female penguins care so much for their chicks that when
they go outside they bring food home, while the male emperors go to the sea to fetch food just for
themselves. I guess that doesnt apply to every male species. They live in Anterctic ice, and like to be in
water. I saw this kind of penguins in Europe and in Africa..Emperor penguins picture from
Topic 3..
Actions for Topic 3: Creature Cells
1) What type of cell does your species have?
2) Does it have special cells to detect its environment or cells that help it live in its environment? Does it
have specialized cells that are important for cellular respiration or photosynthesis or important for another
type of cellular process, like reproduction?
If you are unable to find information about cells in your specific species you can describe cells that are
characteristic for the group of species your creature belong to (fish, birds, mammals, flowering plants
fungi etc). Use both the OLI course materials and additional resources to prepare your response.
Since the Great Blue Heron is a bird I can conclude that it has eukaryotic cells, and since it is an animal I can conclude that its cells
do not have a cell wall, but they do have a cell membrane, mitochondria and a nucleus in addition to other organelles (OLI).
When i did a web-search for ""Great Blue Heron cells"" I came across an article titled Intracellular Yeasts in Endothelial Cells of a
Great Blue Heron (Ardea Herodias) In this research study scientists from Canada found that the endothelial cells of a dead
Great Blue Heron contained yeast cells. This study was conducted in an attempt to understand the cause of disease in domestic
birds. Endothelial cells are cells that line the inside of blood vessels. They form a barrier between the blood and the the rest of the
circulatory system and allow for efficient blood flow.
This is an example of the many single-celled organisms that larger organisms contain. Yeast are single-celled fungi, which means
they are eukaryotic cells. On a side note, have you heard that we humans have more bacterial cells than human cells? Check out
this article to learn more: Humans Have Ten Times More Bacteria Than Human Cells: How Do Microbial Communities Affect
Human Health?
Topic 4
Actions for Topic 4: Creature Growth and Reproduction
In your main response answer at least two of these questions as it related to your favorite creature
1) How many chromosomes are found in each cell of your organism? Does this number vary between
different cells? Explain.
2) Explain your species' reproductive strategy. Sexual and/or asexual? Is mitosis and/or meiosis involved?
Other processes?
3) Can your species regenerate body parts or is healing limited? Does growth and healing involve mitosis
and/or meiosis?
4) Which stages does your species grow through as it develops into adulthood?
5) What happens if mitosis is out of control? Are there any known diseases associated with mitosis errors
in your species?
1. I was not able to find the chromosome number for the great blue heron, but I did find that chickens and doves have 78, and that
turkey and pigeons have 80. Since all birds are related I hypothesize that the Great Blue Herons chromosome number is in the
same range, which is a significantly higher number than humans. This is the number of chromosomes in somatic cells. Egg and
sperm cells would have half that number chromosomes.
2. The Great Blue Heron reproduces sexually, the male producing sperm cells through the process of meiosis, and the female
producing egg cells through the process of meiosis. Meiosis is the production of four haploid cells through a series of phases
grouped into meiosis I and meiosis II. Each of the haploid cells that result from meiosis are genetically unique. (OLI)"


Solution ID:351067 | This paper was updated on 26-Nov-2015

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