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Showing posts from October, 2015

Angiosperms: How the Disappearance of Bees Put Flowers At Risk

By Zack Griggy, San Marin HS

          Plants are unique organisms. They have unique cell structures, ways of making energy, and reproduction. There are many different kinds of plants, but a category of plants called angiosperms makes up 80% of plants. But some of these angiosperms are at risk, as bees and other pollinators, which are vital to angiosperm reproduction, are disappearing.
         Plant reproduction varies among different kinds of plants in two significant ways. The two distinguishing factors that divide the kingdom Plantae are seeding and flowering. Angiosperms are the only group of plants that makes both flowers and seeds.
         Flowers are the reproductive system of an angiosperm. In a flower, two structures in particular play a vital role in plant reproduction. These parts are the pistil and stamen of a flower. The pistil consists of the ovary, the style and the stigma. The ovary is a small are in the bulb of the flower where eggs are stored. Atop the ovary is the …

Carnivorous Plants

by Jane Casto, Terra Linda High School Freshman

Carnivorous plants is a term often associated with flies and Venus fly traps. There is much more however, to learn about these organisms, and about their complex functions that allow optimal survival and ideal food supply. Scientists have been unraveling the true genius of these plants for years, and even now, breakthroughs are being made in research. To begin, we answer the question: what is a carnivorous plant? 
Carnivorous plants, or insectivorous plants, are plants that have adapted to consuming and digesting insects and other animals. These plants work in a variety of ways based on their species, of which there are 600 known to man. The basic understanding of the makeup of carnivorous plants is uniform throughout the different species. Carnivorous plants have adapted to a low-nutrient environment, making digestion of invertebrates optimal, as it is a low-nutrient energy method of consumption. the Venus fly trap's deadly leaves, …

Pollinators, Predator-Prey Relations, and Pursuing Your STEM Interests: an Interview with Biologist and MSS Speaker Amber Sciligo

by Talya Klinger, MSS Intern

Dr. Amber Sciligo, a scientist in the department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley, researches the interactions between insects, plants, the environment, and human economies. Whether she directs her focus to examining self-fertilizing carnivorous plants, observing how native bee communities enhance crop pollination, or finding the optimal level of crop diversity for sustainable farming, Dr. Sciligo’s research has important implications for the wild world of botany. Attend her research presentation at Terra Linda High School, Room 207, from 7:30-8:30 pm on October 21st. In Dr. Sciligo's words: -->
1. How did you originally get interested in ecology and evolution?
Multiple life events led me down this path. The first was in my high school biology class, when I was taught how to catch insects and curate them as if they were to be kept in a museum (arrange their body parts and pin them so that they would dry out and be p…

E-Cigarettes: A Subtle Danger?

By Zack Griggy, San Marin HS

          E-cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes, are marketed as a healthier and safer cigarette. But is it really? Multiple organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have found that they are not at all safer that traditional cigarettes.
          A traditional cigarette burns the leaves from the tobacco plant. Tobacco is a plant that naturally contains nicotine, the main addictive agent in cigarettes. Nicotine is also used as a strong insecticide and is so strong that a drop of pure nicotine can kill a person. When tobacco is burned, nicotine is released in the smoke. The smoker can then inhale the smoke and experience a high feeling, which is caused by excess levels of dopamine from the nicotine. In addition to

tobacco,cigarettes can also contain thousands of toxic chemicals, the purpose of which could be anything from making cigarettes combustible to enhancing the addictive effects of the ni…