Friday, January 15, 2010

Fingernail diseases!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The boiga irregularis

The brown tree snake is a dangerous invasive species; invasive species is when an organism that is unknown takes over as an alien invader and seriously damages our ecosystem. If the brown tree snake escapes Guam, it has already destroyed 30% of the bird, snake, and lizard species into extinction.
If it continues to spread, it has already got safely to Hawaii safely from boats, if so much as one escapes the whole worlds ecosystem is at risk.
If something was to happen and the snakes got into Hawaii’s national parks, over 95% of their species would go into extinction. The USDA has spent over $1 million dollars to take care of the sitchuation.
But are they getting every last single snake? Well, not the USDA admits, as about one-in-a-half years ago,7 Boiga Irregularis snuck up and hide in dark places then they made it all the way to their destination, Hawaii, they were discovered alive. Also 7 more made it to Ohio but they were found dead.
But before the program people were coming and going and mean while they didn’t even know they were bringing back alien invaders.
The snake can grow up to 8 feet in length. The scientific name of the brown tree snake is the (Boiga Irregularis).It has the ability to become poisonous if it wants to. If it does, it takes five seconds for the poisonous fangs to bit you. Because its fangs are located in the very back so in order to eat, or poison, it must chew on you. The species is nocturnal, which means it’s only active at night. It travels by car, boat and plane.
Well you’re probably asking how a snake can travel by plane.
When a plane lands the wheels come down inside that plane where the wheels come down, there is an 8 foot opening. Perfect place for a snake to travel undetected. The snake simply crawls up them and will the plane takes off and you have a new vacation only it never goes home.

Nathaniel overmyer

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jake Melton 10

The Fight of Purple Loosestrife: North America

By: Jake Melton

November 20, 2009


The Robertson’s have just moved in, there are some beautiful, luscious, purple flowers across the street so; they decide to plant them around their new pond. This plant is the awful, yet beautiful flower: purple loosestrife, an invasive species. Yet, the Robertson’s have no clue what they’re getting themselves into! Invasive species are a horrible thing. The definition of an invasive species is: an organism that harms, or has the potential to harm an environment where the plant did not originate. Sometimes species with this definition can be brought non-intentionally or, possibly intentionally. Sometimes an organism, such as the zebra mussel could latch onto a boat, or get sucked into a boat’s ballast, brought from the sea, and brought into Lake Michigan. In these situations the human did not mean to bring these zebra mussels across, yet they did. Now, let’s say that some scientist figures out that a whale, for example, can kill these dreadful zebra mussels, so they bring in a whole bunch of whales, but these whales just do the same thing as the zebra mussels, invade. So, the scientists have gotten rid one problem, and have started a whole other problem. These scientists intentionally brought in the whales to destroy the zebra mussels; this is a case where humans intentionally brought in an invader. An ecosystem can be harmed by invasive species. One way this could happen if, let’s say a zebra mussel, comes in and eats all of the plankton. If all the plankton die out every animal that eats the plankton are now without food and could starve to death. This tragic accident would make the whole food web collapse. Well, you might be asking: why don’t people just destroy all these invasive species? First, usually an invasive organism is plentiful in number and cannot be overtaken by humans. Second, people do try, for plants they try to burn, mow, or even desperately hand-pull. Just a few examples of these invasive species are organisms such as asian carp, cane toad, garlic mustard, zebra mussels, and africanized honey bees.

The purple loosestrife’s natural habitat is throughout Great Britain, in Central and Southern Europe, Central Russia, Japan, Manchuria, China, Southeast Asia, and Northern India. These areas are more generally flat and swampy; the climates of these regions are moist. Most moist locations, such as fresh water marshes, fens, sedges, meadows, and wet prairies, along with roadside ditches, river and stream banks, reservoirs, and even the edges of road sides can hold purple loosestrife. This plant is also rather shade tolerant, being able to survive in up to 50% shade. Leaf eating insects along with three species of beetles: are purple loosestrife’s natural predators.

Lythrum salicaria, or purple loosestrife is an herbaceous perennial plant with five to seven lance shaped, rose-purple flowers that are opposite or in whorls of three that produce over 2 million seeds annually. Some other distanced characteristics of purple loosestrife are the erect, 4-sided stems that flower in early July to early September. These plants can range from two to eight feet tall; averaging out at about five feet a plant, each with a stiff stem. On larger plants the base of the purple loosestrife appears woody. Each rootstock can have as many as 30 to 50 stems growing. Purple loosestrife has a very vicious “attitude”, outcompeting, and taking over other plants and their habitat. This plant replaces grasses, sedges, and other flowering plants. Loosestrifes natural instinct allows it to grow thick, dense, homogeneous strands that restrict other native species. On the other hand purple loosestrife provides a great supply of pollen for pollinating insects.

Purple loosestrife was introduced into the east coast of North America, not to be a bad plant. The Europeans, who brought purple loosestrife over brought it for medicinal uses. They also brought it over to be ornamental, because this plant is very beautiful; so purple loosestrife was obviously not brought over to harm anything, but in fact to be of good use.

Scientist’s are doing their best to prevent the spread of purple loosestrife. This task proves extremely hard. One way they are trying to prevent this is trying to burn them. A second way they are trying to prevent the spreading of purple loosestrife is mowing it. They are trying to cut them all down before they can spread. They are even trying to hand pull them, this is probably the hardest.

So, all over Europe and Asia this plant is a good plant that causes no harm, and the Europeans intended it to be that way in America. Yet, this plant is causing harm and scientist are trying to stop purple loosestrife’s spread by burning, mowing, manipulating the water level, applying chemicals, using biological control, and even hand pulling, and hopefully they will succeed.

Bailey Kolenda 9

Oh No!

It’s The



By Bailey Kolenda



What does make European Starlings one of the most feared little birds of all? Many many reasons. Spreading disease to many livestock, causing oh so much trouble in the fall/spring, and disrupting the peaceful sounds of nature. But where do these unwanted fellow come from, and why do they cause chaos in our everyday North-American lives?

The European Starling is naturally found in the land of Europe. Europe has mild weather. As in North America, European Starlings nest in all types of habitats and under all levels of population. The farms, undisturbed areas, the city, structured trees, and so on. Their natural predators include: Falcons, Squirrels, Hawks, Owls, Snakes, Cats, and other natural bird eating carnivores.

Of course every organism has a description of it’s own, that is why the European Starling can also be referred to as the Sturnus vulgaris. To easily identify this pest, just look for a bird that looks like: Black bird- Robin sized bird with Purplish-greenish head, looks sort of black in the distance, pointed wings, and spotted plumage. Both genders look quite similar from another. Their character can be recognized by a boisterous, loud bird that commonly travel in large groups, and make noises such as rattles, whirs, ad whistles. They can fly very fast.

The European Starling hadn’t always been in North America, of course. It was originally introduced into the ‘New World’ in the 1800s by Eugene Schieffelin and plenty of Shakespeare enthusiasts. They wanted to see a bird from one of Shakespeare's stories in the New World, where they could always see them. In this climate, they could nest in places just as the same in Europe (farms, trees, houses, etc.). The climate in the European Starling’s new home would include a variety of climates and weather all over North America, and with plenty of plains, mountains, and woods to settle in.

Over back in Europe, the European Starling was not a bother at all, but when introduced to North America, all havoc broke loose. The harm and damage caused cost so much to the environments, and to farmers acrossed the country. They destroyed many Vineyards, Crops, Orchards and so on. Spreading disease towards thousands of farms, hurting the economy deeply. They even multiply VERY quickly! That is not good at all. By now, the multiplying has slowed down considerably but they still are of a bother. They are said to in the fall/winter travel in large flocks, causing trouble in the air. There are benefits from these somewhat pesky birds. They eat bugs that are often harmful to crops.

To battle against this abnoxious bird, some methods of fighting them are Pellet guns, cats, repellants, poisons, nets over crops, moving colorful objects such as ribbon, kites, balloons, etc. Moving colorful objects have been found to be very effective.

The diet of the European Starling consists of 50% beetles! Millipedes, spiders, worms and snails. Grains, and seeds, wild black berries, elderberries, and grubs. To a European Starling, this is all so good!

Now you know, and to some may still be a mystery, why and the European Starling does. To this day, they do cause chaos among birds by annoying them, but by now, a lot are adjusted to them.

Kaitlynn Kimmel 8

Rusty Crayfish
Kaitlynn Kimmel

Orconetctes rusticus is an aggressive, invasive, destructive type of crayfish, commonly known as the Rusty Crayfish.
The Orconetctes rusticus is an invasive species to Michigan, New York, New England, Minnesota and Utah. Invasive means not from that area and causing harm to the native environment. It would be like one of us going to the bottom of the ocean and saying; “I like it here, I just need to make a ‘few’ changes” and then destroyed the seabed. (That is an exaggeration, who would do that anyway?)
Orconetctes rusticus is native to southern Indiana northern Kentucky and all of the Ohio River Basin. It lives in fresh water lakes, streams, creeks and places like that. Rusties are eaten by the fish in its native habitat.
Rusties have big claws with dark tips; they are pretty much all big compared to the native species, more aggressive too. They have rusty colored spots on their sides like you picked them up with paint on your thumb and trigger fingers. They feed on aquatic plants. In some lakes these aggressive creatures are so bad people don’t swim in the waters anymore. I know why too, it hurts, a lot, I tried to catch one and it more or less caught me.
The rusty crayfish was brought by fishermen as live bait and were released into the rivers of Minnesota and spread like wild fire, the same thing happened in New England and Utah. Rusties destroy the native plant beds, kill native fish and displace or kill the native crayfish. They cause swimmers not to swim any more. There is no scientific way to get rid of them, not without harming the natives. Otherwise saying, there is nothing scientifically we can do. But we can fish. Yep I said fish. Rusties are good to eat and are definitely plentiful here. In Michigan, you can catch an unlimited amount of them as well as every other state they are invasive.
So grab a line, some ham, and a fishing pole and let’s get started!

Beau Redfield

Autumn Olive
(Elaegaguns umbellata Thund)
By: Beau Redfield
Invasive species are something the world would be better if they were not here. One of many definitions for invasive species is organisms that are non-native and cause harm to native plants, animals, and the environment. Invasive species are usually from across the sea, and harm the native plants, which in turn, harms the environment. An ecosystem might be invaded if you can see many native plants or animals that do well die, or they might start to act strange and/or out of the ordinary. A couple of ways that invasive species can be introduced are by bringing them on purpose, (for environmental purposes) or by accident, like on, or under or, attached to a boat. Just a few ways to fight invasive species are by cutting or pulling the plant out while they are young, or by killing the animal. There are many invasive species; three of them are Round Goby, Zebra Muscles, and Autumn Olive.
The Autumn Olive is naturally and native to Asia, China, Korea, and Japan. Its natural climate is usually mild, with some rain, although it is almost drought tolerant. Autumn Olive’s native landscape is open to semi open areas, like fields and meadows. Autumn Olive is usually eaten by birds and raccoons, which eat the berries. The role in its natural habitat is mostly to f\stop erosion and feed animals.
Autumn Olive’s scientific name is Elagagnus umbellate Thumd. It has a very distinct appearance. It is characterized by the tall plant, with simple leaves that have a silvery underside. Berries of the Autumn Olive are very small and reddish with silver spots, yet the deciduous shrub has many trunks and are brown with minute silver spots. Autumn Olive’s behavior is characterized by the soil moister, how many berries it produces, and if it is eaten by a large number of animals, or if a very small number of animals eat it. Have you ever seen a plant like that?
Autumn Olive was introduced into the United States, where it was alien. The climate in this habitat is mild to warm and the geography is open to semi open, with any kind of soil. Autumn Olive was introduced into the United States on purpose for animals, ornamental uses, and erosion control, then, it was rapidly spreading everywhere.
In its natural habitat, Autumn Olive has a role and functions very well, indeed. But, when it is in the United States, it causes harm. Some very destructive ways that Autumn Olive causes harm is by killing native plants, it grows and then spreads very quickly, and it blocks the sun from the other, smaller, native plants.
There are many efforts being taken to control this problem. Tons of scientists are both finding new ways and trying to get rid of the Autumn Olive in many places. Only a few of the many places that Autumn Olive has invaded is Florida, Michigan, Georgia, the New England states, where it first invaded, and Tennessee. There are three ways that scientist are getting rid of Autumn Olive. One is by pulling out the plant when it is young, and the roots have not established yet. Scientist are also cutting the trees at about 6 to 12 inches from the ground, and putting chemicals on the stump, and lastly, using very specific solutions to kill the plant. If you have a very mature plant, please do not pull it out, or it will grow back stronger and will use more energy.
Although there are many invasive species in the United States, Autumn Olive is defiantly one of the worst here. In the natural habitat, Autumn Olive causes no harm at all to any of the native plants, but the Autumn Olive causes great harms here. Some of the reasons are that it spread sooo quickly, killing the native plants and animals. Autumn Olive’s are an invasive species that does critical damage in the United States. There are oodles of scientists are trying to control this problem by killing it and pulling it out until it is gone, or is almost gone from its invaded areas.

Zach Terpstra

Invasive Menace:
The Round Goby

Invasive species are being recognized every day throughout the world. I suppose the main question would be why some non-native species are alien and some invasive? Invasive species are defined as an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to alter the ecosystem or economy in a negative way. Invasive species are not considered invasive unless causing harm and has originated from a different area. The invasion usually begins with an organism overpopulating and rapidly consuming resources. Usually, humans are involved in the introduction of invasive species. Some of the ways we help is by bringing them overseas on our cargo ships and passenger ships. Invasive species cause harm by overpopulating and outcompeting the native species. There are many ideas to stop invasive species, but the most common is to use pesticides to harm and kill the invasive species. Although many have introduced a different species that devours the invasive species. Some examples of invasive species are the notorious Purple Loosestrife, the destructive Japanese beetle, and the disgusting Round Goby.
The Round Goby is an aquatic fish that is native to the Black and Caspian Sea watershed (located in Eurasia). The climate of this area is normally temperate, and the average air temperature is 10.75 degrees Celsius. The geography of these area highland areas surrounding the world’s largest enclosed water body. The Round Goby usually eats mollusks and small fish/fish eggs. In the invaded area, it is eaten by the Lake Eerie Water snake (this is the only consume that depends on the Round Goby for nutrients). The niche it plays in its natural environment is that it takes nutrients from the environment and uses the aquatic plants for shelter.
The scientific name for the Round Goby is Neogobious Melanostomus. Its appearance is characterized by its muddy brown color with black spots it is similar to the sculpin; the only difference is that the Round Goby has a fused pelvic fin. Its behavior is characterized by its aggressiveness towards native fish and competitiveness for food.
The Round Goby was introduced into the Great Lakes watershed in the 1990’s. Since then, it has reproduced rapidly. The climate of this region is temperate and the geography is great lakes with sand dunes scattered throughout the coasts. The Round Goby was introduced into the Great Lakes watershed by a European cargo ship emptying its ballast tanks.
In its natural habitat, the Round Goby has a role and functions well. But when in the Great Lakes watershed it causes a lot of distress. Some the ways the Round Goby causes distress are that it eats native fish eggs. It also eats native fish “food” and takes native fish “shelter.” Not to mention the economic stress this fish causes. I estimate that two million dollars have been spent on the economic problems caused by this fish. Scientists are trying to control the Round Goby by using pesticides. They are also informing fishermen to identify and kill the round Goby. One of the Round Gobies major food source is human fish bait. Scientists also urge fishermen to dispose of unwanted bait on land.
Invasive species are found throughout the world. In their natural habitat, they cause no harm, but as invasive species they can cause harm by overpopulating and rapidly consuming food. The Round Goby is invasive species that causes distress in the Great Lakes watershed. Scientists are most commonly using pesticides to control the Round Goby, hopefully they be successful.