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Cottage Pie's blog

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At the Water's Edge

I read At the Water’s Edge Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea by Carl Zimmer. This book focuses on evolution and in addition to providing facts and charts showing how evolution works also tells a story. It tells the stories of other scientists that have long been forgotten by high school biology books (including my AP Biology Text Book by Campbell Reese and Mitchell). This book shows how all of these scientists stories intertwine creating the the next chapter of the story of evolution which is then in turn studied by the next generation of scientists who further evolve the story of evolution.

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Pearls: The Unabridged Story

The Unabridged Story of Pearl Formation (and Categorization)

Did you ever, as a child wonder where pearls came from and then how they were made? Later on did you wonder if the oysters that provided pearls survived, or were at least eaten? Was pearl formation explained to you in way that ran as follows (or at least contains this information):

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Deep Sea Trawling, Fish Populations, Seamounts, and a Moratorium

The ocean floor of the deep sea has its own mountains, called seamounts, which rise from 500 to 1,000 meters above the surrounding sea floor. (1, 2)  It is not known exactly how many seamounts lie beneath the big blue, but it has been estimated that the Atlantic Ocean possesses 800 or more and that the Pacific has 30,000 plus. On harder portions of the seamounts “ancient forests” made up of “cold water corals, soft seapens, sponges, and seawhips grow.” (1, 2) These organisms house other sea creatures such as crustaceans and sea spiders. On top of that, seamounts also provide protection to small sea fish such as the orange roughy and deepwater oreo who swim close to the seamounts in order to prevent being swept away by the current. On the softer sediment of seamounts grow worms and more slipper lobsters. The seamounts number one threat is bottom trawling.

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Orca Social Structure and (Whale) Dialects

It has been known that killer whales speak in dialects since at least March 10,1990, when Leigh Dayton published “Killer Whales Communicate in Distinct Dialects”. In Dayton’s paper, J. Ford, the curator of marine mammals at Vancouver’s Public Aquarium, discovered this through listening to the two main communities of killer whales that were then divided into pods, each with its own dialect. Based upon these facts Ford concludes that since dialect is dependent upon pod the dialect is genetic. (2) Since Leigh Dayton’s paper in 1990 more has been found about orcas (killer whales) and their dialects with respect to their social structure along with the fact that dialect is not restricted only to killer whales but many other species of whale.

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