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Monday, 3 December 2018

Microorganisms; the good, the bad and the ugly

December 03, 2018 2 Comments
Microorganisms are very small organism that are not visible to the naked eyes. They, although very tiny, are everywhere and have large effects on their environment and other organisms. Are all microbes bad? What are some popular microbes and their importance? Read this article to know some good microbes, bad microbes and other notable microbes.

Microbes 101. Introduction to the tiny world

Microorganisms aren't aliens or so different from we humans or other organisms we can see. Here are a few notes about microbes:
  • They're just simpler and tiny organisms. 
  • Most of them are unicellular (meaning they have just 1 cell) but some are multicellular (meaning they're made up of two or more cells)
  • They can be found in all kingdoms: Monera (Bacteria), Protista (Unicellular animal-like and plant-like organisms), Fungi, Plantae and Animalia.
  • Some can live individually while others form colonies (making them visible)
  • Some are free living while others depend on other organisms for survival

Of course the list is endless but let's focus on classifying microbes based on their benefits or harms.




The good; microbes we benefit from

Diatoms

These microbes are plant-like protists. They're Unicellular and like plants, they're able to manufacture their food through photosynthesis. They can be found everywhere especially in water bodies. Here are a few ways we benefit from them:
  • They're responsible for the production of about 20% of the Earth's oxygen each year (they release oxygen through photosynthesis)
  • Since they're very small, they're in the bottom of the aquatic food chain. Other organisms like juvenile (young) shrimps, octopuses and fishes eat them, larger aquatic organisms eat these juveniles, subsequently, it gets to the top of the food chain (man).
  • Since they number in trillions and float in water bodies, they form a blockage for sunlight (one reason why the ocean waters aren't clear) so that heat (which travels with sunlight) cannot penetrate deep into the ocean. Since water is around 70% of the Earth's surface, the role of diatoms in maintaining the temperature of the oceans affects us on land as well.

The niche (role) of diatoms in the environment cannot be overemphasized.


Penicillium

There are different Penicillium species. These organisms under kingdom Fungi have been a breakthrough for man. They can be found in temperate regions and can also be found in damp parts of buildings. They produce a substance that stops the growth and reproduction of some bacteria like Staphylococcus. This substance which they produce, is what we call penicillin today. The discovery of penicillin started the study and production of antibiotics. If not for these organisms, who knows, a lot of people would have died because of incurable bacteria infections. You see? Microbes have medical importance as well

Rhizobia

These are under the kingdom Eubacteria (Monera). They can be found in the soil as either free living or in association with plants. They (when in the root of legumes) can collect nitrogen gas (N2) from the atmosphere, convert it into a simpler form of nitrogen then send it to the plant (which the plant needs for growth). Legumes like beans, peas, clover, etc. Rhizobia are especially important in the mass cultivation of such plants in places where fertilizers (to supply nitrogen to the plant) aren't available or affordable. This relationship with legumes have proven the agricultural importance of microbes.
Rhizobia in the root of a legume

Microbes that are beneficial to man and the environment are so much and we're grateful. Some like the Lactobacillus aid in the fermentation of milk and also breaking down of food particles during digestion. Their benefits cannot be overemphasized.




The bad; microbes that harm us

Clostridium tetani

It is a bacteria. It is found mostly in soils worldwide. It can be free living and is very deadly when it is parasitic. It is responsible for Tetanus. Tetanus is a severe disease that children worldwide are being vaccinated against it. Its spores (reproductive part) enter our body through wounds and release toxins that cause the diseases. This bacteria is the reason why children are still vaccinated till today. It is advised that you get vaccinated if you have an injury around the lower region of your body to prevent tetanus.

Plasmodium

Plasmodium is a protozoa (animal-like Protista) that infects the blood of different vertebrate animals (including man) to form the malaria disease. There are different plasmodium species like P. malariae, P. ovale and P. falciparum. There is also a zoonotic species (able to infect different species) called the P. knowlesi. Plasmodium can be found in places with high humidity, temperature and rainfall. Its disease Malaria is responsible for the death over 1 million people per year especially children (according to UNICEF). Plasmodium enters into our bloodstream through infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed and the young grows in stagnant water, plasmodium infects some mosquitoes through that medium and enters into our bloodstream when the mosquitoes penetrate into our skin.

Molds

Molds or moulds (under Fungi) are filamentous fungi (i.e they grow in filamentous colonies therefore appearing as multicellular as opposed to Unicellular yeast that grows independently). Mold is a diverse term used to refer to different species of fungi. They are decomposers (meaning they breakdown food into simpler nutrients). They are responsible for most food spoilage. They produce little spores that the wind carries so whenever you expose your food for long, the spores germinate and begin to form molds. Fungi, unlike plants, don't produce their food through sunlight so they rely on your food and other sources for nutrient. When molds are available in large quantity, they may cause serious health problems like allergies and other respiratory problems.
Image result for mold
Mold decomposing an orange



Other notable microbes

Euglena

This is kingdom Protista. It exhibits both plant-like and animal-like features. Like plants, it is able to produce it's own food through photosynthesis (in the presence of sunlight). When there is no sunlight, it feeds on green algae and other protists. Euglena can be found anywhere there is  green algae (ponds, water puddle, stagnant water, etc). The ability of Euglena to generate energy like plants (autotrophic) and animals (heterotrophic) makes it notable and special.

Cyanobacteria

This is a plant-like bacteria. The difference between Protista and Bacteria is that protists are eukaryotes (having nucleus) while Bacteria are prokaryotes (having no nucleus). Cyanobacteria, although being a bacteria, is the only prokaryote that is able to carry out photosynthesis. Cool right? Some Cyanobacteria also fixes nitrogen from there atmosphere to become available to plants (just like Rhizobia). They're indeed notable for been the only prokaryotic autotrophs.

Tardigrades

Tardigrades or water bears are under kingdom Animalia. They're Unicellular and can be found literally everywhere on the Earth. What makes them notable is their nature of endurance. These organisms can exist in the hottest, coldest and most actively radioactive places on Earth, they can also survive in space. They can survive after being dehydrated and they can reduce their metabolism to below 0.01% of how it should work. Although, they don't prefer to live in such extreme conditions, their ability to endure makes them notable.
A tardigrade (water bear) under an electron microscope


Reading this article, you must've realized that microbes are everywhere. Some benefit you, some harm you and you're unaffected by others. What's your favorite microbe? 



References:
S.O. Nzeako, F.O. Nduka, C.N. Eze (2018). Biology of lower Invertebrates. (1):14-17
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatom
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penicillium_chrysogenum 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Everything to know about phytoplankton

October 11, 2018 0 Comments
Have you every wondered about how life is possible in water? What do little fishes eat? Are there plants in the ocean that serve as food for fishes and other organisms? Read this article to learn about the unappreciated phytoplankton and why we should care for them.

Fishes don't have mammary glands (breasts) to feed their young. If fishes were to have mammary glands, they wouldn't be able to feed all of their young especially for those that lay more than 200,000 eggs. What then do fishes eat?

Introducing the plankton

Plankton are little organisms that float and drift in water bodies. They mostly rely on water current for movement except for some that move voluntarily. If you were taught that fishes eat plankton, your next question will probably be 'what do plankton eat?'. To answer this question, let use classify plankton by their kingdoms. There are the zooplankton (animals) and the phytoplankton (plants). The zooplankton just like other animals, need to eat other organisms (plant or animal) to get energy and survive. The phytoplankton however, gain their nutrients from the sun like other plants through photosynthesis. It is fair to say that phytoplankton are the foundation of life on water. They're eaten by zooplankton and other fishes, these zooplankton are eaten by larger fishes and the food web (a complex food chain) goes on to top water predators like sharks.
Illustration of the Southern Ocean food web.
Phytoplankton start the food web of aquatic Eco systems



Why are Phytoplankton so important?

Here are some importance of phytoplankton:
  • Through photosynthesis, they take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen as a bi-product. Without plants and phytoplankton, there may be little or no oxygen on earth.
  • They serve as direct food to zooplankton and other aquatic animals arthropods (lobster, krill, etc), indirect food to fishes like sardines, tilapia, sharks etc and both direct and indirect food to other animals like whales.
  • Phytoplankton aid in biodiversity by being available in different species across the world to suit other organisms around them. 
  • Since phytoplankton float near the surface of water bodies, they block the rays of the sun from entering deep into water bodies. This reduces the heat of the sun as the water goes deeper.
  • Since the earth is 70% water, the temperature of the water has great effects on the temperature of the whole earth so we can say that phytoplankton have a major role to play in both temperature and availability of oxygen on the whole earth.
A collection of diatoms (a unicellular form of algae). The most common form of phytoplankton



Plight of the phytoplankton?

Global warming

As the earth is getting warmer because of the green house gases we emit into our atmosphere, we're not the only ones negatively affected. You see, different organisms (especially those in kingdom plantea) have their specific temperature requirements. As the earth becomes warmer, plankton that prefer cold temperatures will die out while those that prefer warmer temperatures will grow rapidly. One may think that this isn't all bad because there will still be plankton but:

  • The organisms that rely on and can only be found where phytoplankton that prefer cold temperature are will die of starvation and/or competition
  • Global warming can cause Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). This is a phenomenon whereby some species of algae would grow rapidly and fill up their environment, covering the surface of the water thereby blocking sunlight from reaching fishes and plants below. Some species release harmful toxins into the water killing other lifeforms around.  

Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) bloom on Lake Erie in 2009    
Read Global warming in the world today

Pollution

Pollution introduces toxins into the water. These toxins do not only harm large visible organisms, they also harm plankton. For the plankton that don't die, they might absorb this toxin and it becomes part of them

When Phytoplankton absorb these toxins, they can pass it over to man. How? Polluted plankton will be consumed by other organisms like crayfish and lobster. Don't you eat lobsters? These lobsters will be eaten by fishes like sardines and tilapias. Don't you eat these fishes? The more we pollute the earth, the more we eat food with toxins. We are what we eat.




What can we do to help?

It all comes back to us being careful about the way we dispose our wastes and control the earths resources. 
  • Reducing the amount of green house gases emitted into the atmosphere will reduce the rate of global warming and therefore, help to save the earth's biodiversity. 
  • Let's dispose our wastes the right way so they don't find they way into the ocean. These wastes will come back to us as food.
  • To learn more ways we can help, read What about the earth? Why save it? and remember to share this article with friends

References:

    Sunday, 30 September 2018

    Meaning, importance and practices of conservation

    September 30, 2018 6 Comments
    Human needs are limitless. We don't give back to the earth an equal amount of what we take from it. Is this a problem? If then, how can this problem be solved? Are there vital lessons we need to learn to boost our practices of conservation for natural resources? Read this article

    Natural resources

    Natural resources are substances not created by man but are needed by man for economic gain and development. They include Crude oil, coal, wide life, water, air, minerals etc.

    Classification of natural resources

    Natural resources can be classified by different methods.

    Classification based on origin

    • Biotic resources: Obtained from living and/or organic substances like trees, animals and their products, coal, etc.
    • Abiotic resources: These are obtained from non-living, non-organic substances like gold, iron, water, etc.

    Classification as renewable and non-renewable

    • Renewable resources: These are resources that their rate of replenishment is greater than their rate of usage. Examples are sunlight, air, water, etc
    • Non-renewable resources: These are resources that have a slower rate of replenishment/formation with regards to the rate of usage. Examples are fossil fuels
    There are more methods of classification but these are enough for now. The main point is non-renewable. The term 'non-renewable' may be used to refer to a number of resources today and a greater number tomorrow. For instance if elephants' gestation period (period of pregnancy) is about 22 months and they're killed 1/day for their tusks, it wouldn't take long before their population will reduce to zero. Well, the actual figure as at 2017 is 1 for every 25 minutes. If only the killings would reduce, the status of wide life may be taken back to a renewable resource. Other examples of natural resources that need our urgent attention are forests, oil, atmosphere, etc.




    Introduction to conservation

    In a plain definition, conservation means maintaining, protecting and retaining anything so it would last longer. The biological term 'conservation' is an ethical term used to refer to management of the earths natural resources in order to protect nature's biodiversity and ecosystem stability. For instance, if we over use bamboo trees and their growth rate can't keep up with our consumption rate, our actions are directly affecting the tree and indirectly affecting organisms like Pandas that depend on the tree for survival. Pandas which were classified under endangered species are now recovering because of the conservation of the species and their habitat.
    Image result for what do pandas eat
    A Panda's primary diet is the Bamboo tree

    Importance of conservation

    Practices of conservation have countless numbers of importance. Their importance can never be over-emphasized.

    Stability of ecosystems

    Every organisms and substances have roles to play wherever they're found. For example, if we overuse the trees in the earth for buildings, making papers and other reasons, the oxygen in our air will become scarce, herbivorous animals (animals that depend on plants for food) would get lesser amount of food therefore leading to competition and reduction of their population, carnivorous animals (animals which feed on other animals) wouldn't get enough food to eat, humans in turn would not get enough food to it (no vegetable, no fruit, no meat and no animal product) and our population would reduce drastically because of starvation and lack of oxygen. See the impact of not conserving our trees. Would we want this to happen?

    Availability of natural resources to future generations

    There's no doubt that if we don't conserve our resources, today, our children may only see these resources in museums, zoos, schools, etc. The resources may not be available in commercial quantity. If crude oil takes between hundreds of thousands to millions of years to form and we use an average of around 90 million barrels daily, how long would we wait for a refill?

    Continuity of our development

    If natural resources are needed by humans for creation of materials used to make buildings, roads, appliances and other important sources of our civilization, it means that an aspect of our civilization and development would cease the moment a specific resource becomes too low in quantity.

    Continuity of the earth's biodiversity 

    It's no longer news that the lovely bird 'Hyacinth (or blue) macaw' that inspired the movie 'Rio' is now extinct in the wild. More organisms (plants and animals) are on their way to extinction if nothing is done. Do we really want this to happen?
    Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus -Disney -Florida-8.jpg
    The Blue macaw now extinct

    Solution to pollution

    Pollution is the presence of wastes in the environment. Wastes are materials that are not needed. Even though some wastes can be recycled, not all are recycled. If only we can reduce our use of natural resources, we would have less wastes therefore possibly recycle all our recyclable wastes. If petroleum used to make plastics gets exhausted, we'll have no choice than to recycle our plastic wastes. Why not recycle more wastes now so we conserve petroleum?

    As you can see, conservation has a to large role to play for the sake of our tomorrow. Let's move on to how we can conserve




    Practices of Conservation

    Conservation is not general meaning the application varies from a resource to another though all practices' mission is availability of the resource for future use. For we to conserve, we need to:

    • Know the amount of the specific resource left
    • Know our use for it
    • Check is it's renewable or non-renewable
    • Look for alternative renewable sources that would give us similar or the same product like the resource we're conserving
    • If the products of a particular resource is recyclable, let us recycle them instead of discarding them as wastes
    • Create awareness so others would get involved with the practices of conservation. Read Environmental awareness/Plastic pollution campaign
    Let us now look at some natural resources that need conservation

    Forest

    The forest is very important. It provides wood for construction, plants for consumption of some animals and canopy for various organisms. Wiping out the forest would have very bad impacts on the Earth, Well, how would we conserve our forests? Using the list above, we need to know how much forest is left. Forests which are supposed to cover 31% of the earth's land surface which is around 4 billion hectares (was around 6 billion during the pre-industrial era) are reducing by about 7 million hectares yearly. Forests really need our help. Our industries' major uses of forests are construction of buildings and making of paper. Rural places cut down trees to get fuel for heat and fire. 

    We can conserve our forests by replacing wood as a source of fuel with alternative sources like heater, stoves, coal or even solar panels. Schools can use more phones and tablets instead of books, construction companies should re-use woods used as temporal materials in buildings and there should be laws governing these companies to be conscious of the amount of trees they cut down and we should also plant and monitor the growth of trees.

    Wildlife

    Wildlife retains the biodiversity of nature. We feel wonderful when we see wild animals in zoos and other places. To some people, they've got other uses to these wild animals. For example:

    • Elephants are killed because of the value of their tusks
    • Helmeted hornbills are killed because of the value of their beaks
    • Tigers are killed for protection from their attacks and illegal wildlife trade
    • The population of most species is reducing because of loss of habitat. For example Koalas eat only eucalyptus leaves (gum leaves). Reducing the population of the eucalyptus trees is reducing the population of koalas
    The beautiful helmeted hornbill on the brink of extinction

    We should know animals on the brink of extinction and stop the killings and any other of our actions that have negative impacts on their population. We should encourage our leaders to support our practices of conservation of wildlife, we should open game reserves and other conservation units to protect the animals and should check the population constantly for increase or decrease to know the results of our actions




    Oil and natural gas

    These are non-renewable natural resources. We have countless uses for them. We use them for production of fuel, plastics, etc. As earlier stated, oil takes so many years to be formed. If we continue using these resources without conservation, they won't take up to 50 years to completely run off. Overusing these resources is one of the reasons why our atmosphere is polluted with poisonous gases and our lands and seas are filled with plastics. Some of our conservation practices for oil and natural gas includes:

    • Finding alternative sources of power like biofuel, solar panels, etc
    • Buying vehicles that don't require products of oil and gas therefore reducing the demand
    • Reduce, reuse and recycle plastics. Read Everything to know about plastics
    • Government should provide capitals to people who have ideas about making cars, generators, etc that don't rely on oil
    Natural resources in the earth are like money in our bank accounts. The more we withdraw, the emptier the account becomes. Even if we deposit money into our bank account, the account will get empty if we deposit lower than we withdraw. Let's remain hopeful that our conservation practices would have great impacts on the resource we're conserving and thus help nature so that the coming generations would view nature as it is.


    References:

    Friday, 29 June 2018

    Environmental issues awareness and plastic pollution campaign

    June 29, 2018 2 Comments
    On the 29th of June 2018, students of Animal and Environmental Biology U2016 set went outside their school University of Port Harcourt to campaign against Plastic pollution and other environmental issues.

    Our mission

    Our mission is to enlighten everyone we meet in the street about the various problems we find in our environment like littered roads, flooding and others especially plastic pollution. We also want to use the opportunity to invite people to study in our department 'Animal and Environmental Biology'. To fulfill our missions, we printed two different types of flyers. One for Environmental/plastic pollution campaign, the other for our department






    Our preparation

    We've always planned to do this rally either on World Environment day (5th June 2018) or on our community service day which was the 16th of June 2018. We postponed this movement to the 29th of June 2018 due to some factors like preparedness. We had to notify our department staffs about our campaign so they'll support us, notify the school security so they'll permit us to do a rally both within/around school and notify the Commissioner of Environment for Rivers state (who is also a staff in our department). After all consultations, we finally agreed to do the campaign on Friday the 29th of June 2018

    Our movement

    The day finally arrived. We've chosen white and blue as the color of the day. Our shirts were white, trousers/skirts were blue. Everyone cooperated with this arrangement. We chose Choba, a community not far from our school for the rally. We had to assemble in our department, trek to Choba junction and campaign in different streets in the community. We all assembled by 1pm and our movement started by 2pm. By then, our banners, bus and musical instruments, entertainment, badges and flyers were ready.
    Preparing to move
    With two of our lecturers before going





    Impacts on the community

    Asides sharing of flyers, we searched for interested people, spent time with them and told them a thing or two about their environment and the hazards we humans cause. We also campaigned with two waste bins. We used them to pick up whatever plastic we find on the road and also keep our dirt in it so we won't litter the environment we're trying to save.
    Two of our members picking plastics on the road
    On the streets
    My colleagues and I
    Let's beat plastic pollution

    Our vision

    We hope that our message would reach the minds of our listeners and also the readers of our flyers. We hope that more campaigns will be done to enlighten people elsewhere so they value and care for the Earth. Lastly, we hope that we can have more applicants of Biology-related disciplines like the department of Animal and Environmental Biology.
    This young boy was so interested in what we were doing so I gave him the flyer about our department. He's going to be a scientist in the future





    Contact us

    You can contact us as a class for enquiry and/or other reasons by sending a mail to our HOD hod.aeb@uniport.edu.ng or to me the class rep elijahakwijoro@gmail.com. Visit us at AEB building besides Ofrima complex, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria. If your're interested in knowing more about our department, please check Animal and Environmental Biology.
    A few of us with our HOD when we returned. She was proud of us

    Tuesday, 19 June 2018

    We learn from nature everyday. What engineers have learnt from nature so far

    June 19, 2018 0 Comments
    In recent years, we humans have been learning from nature. Scientists and engineers don't just learn but also apply what they learn. What are a few out of thousands of lessons we've gotten so far from nature? What are proofs that engineers have learnt from nature to build/modify items and structures? Read this article

    How the scorpion inspired NASA

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration got inspired from the legs and movement of a scorpion to develop a multilegged robot. A scorpion walks freely on rocky and rough terrains. Most often, sites that NASA is interested to study are on rough terrains or even on the sides of a cliff. A car or any machine which has big wheels can pass through a rocky terrain but can't pass through small spots. If smaller wheels are used, the machine can get stuck in sand. The best solution is to design a machine with legs so that all legs will support each other. That's where the scorpion came in handy
    Scorpion robot prototype manuevering down an incline

    Imagine a fabric material that adjusts to suit its wearer's temperature




    Imagine if one part of your body is hot and sweaty then the dress you're wearing opens up a bit (just at the sweaty part) to cool down your body temperature. Won't it be cool? Well stop imagining because such fabric is real and its production was inspired by the opening and closing of the pine cone's flaps. The reason behind the opening and closing of the pine cone's flaps is change in humidity. When warm and dry, the flaps open up to release seeds. When damp or cold, the flaps close up. Now, this material was designed using the reverse mechanism so that when it's wet in the inside (because of sweat), it'll open up and close as the sweat reduces. Each flaps in the material is just 1/200 of a millimetre. The material also features a water proof layer so that rain from thee outside won't pass through. This cool fabric was inspired by nature.

    Ultra-thin, high-speed motion detecting lenses

    You may know that insects have compound eyes (i.e eyes filled with lenses that view different directions) but you may not know that an insect like a dragon like could have around 30,000 lenses in just one eye. That's about 60,000 lenses in both eyes. Each of these lenses combine to produce images like a wide mosaic view. Because of such compound eyes, the dragon fly are superb at detecting movements. Now, engineers have developed an artificial compound eye that fits 8,500 lenses into a space the size of a pinhead. This compound eye however, would be attached to image sensors like cameras. This will modify high speed motion detecting sensors.
    Image result for 8500 lenses fit into the size of a pinhead
    8,500 lenses fit into a space the size of a pinhead

    Autopilot systems and navigation of our aircrafts inspired from the Monarch butterfly




    Monarch butterflies are able to migrate from Canada to Mexico yearly without losing their way. These butterflies have a brain with the size of the tip of a pen. How do they navigate with such a tiny brain? They do this with the aid of the sun. Since the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, they know that the sun travels from east to west. Traveling from Canada to Mexico is more like travelling from the north east to the south west so these butterflies rely on the sun for their Migration. Planes using a device the size of a debit card also mimics the butterflies. This device not only guides the plane from country to country, but also aids to land the plane. Engineers have learnt from nature how to produce such devices
    Monarch butterfly

    Mimicking the wings of a seagull

    Well, it's already certain that the wings of aircrafts were inspired by the wings of birds. This time around, engineers have taken this mimicry to new heights. How? When seagulls are maneuvering in the air, they flex their wings at the elbow and shoulder joints. This allows them to maneuver freely in the air. Engineers have made drones with movable wings so that they can easy dive between tall buildings by just maneuvering. 
    Image result for Mimicking the seagull's wings
    Notice how the wings are flexed

    Learning from the beak of a squid




    You may know that squids have no bones. You may also know that their skins are all soft and appear like jelly. What you don't know is that their beaks are among the hardest materials on Earth. The beaks are so hard that they can slice through fishes like a very sharp knife. How does such a hard material fit into a soft material? Observing the beak of the squid, scientists discovered that the tip is hard while the base is soft. The beak is made up of chitin, water, and protein which changes in density from position to position so gradually from soft to hard. This knowledge can be applied into various aspects. Engineers can use this knowledge to attach different materials together. One application is the making of prosthetic limbs that would match the elasticity of cartilage on one side and be stiff in the other side. This is one of what engineers have learnt from nature.
    Notice the hardness of the beak of a squid

    Now that we know a few of what scientists and engineers have learnt from nature

    Let us give the natural world and Biology their credits. Biology isn't just the study of life but also the application to the modification of our lives. Let us always study nature. Please share this article with friends
    Read What about the Earth? Why save it?


    References:

    Sunday, 17 June 2018

    Know the differences between venomous and non venomous snakes

    June 17, 2018 2 Comments
    Snakes are scary. The thought of a snake nearby is enough to drive some people crazy. We all run from snakes because we fear their venomous bites. What if not all snake bites are venomous? If so, how can we identify a snake based on the differences between venomous and non venomous snakes? Read this article to satisfy your curiosity.

    Differences between venomous and non venomous snakes

    Head

    Heads of Venomous snakes are mostly triangular (because their necks are broad) while the heads of non venomous snakes are more flattened than that of venomous ones.




    Colour

    Venomous snakes have bright colours. We could say pretty hurts. Non venomous snakes aren't as brightly coloured.

    Heat-sensitive pit

    Venomous snakes have a heat-sensitive pit between their eyes and nostrils. This pit is used to locate warm blooded animals like mammals. Non venomous snakes lack such pits. This is one of the major differences between venomous and non venomous snakes

    Rattle

    All rattlesnakes are venomous therefore, if you see a rattle or hear its sound, know that it's a venomous snake.
    Image result for rattlesnake
    See the rattle at the end of its tail

    Head scales

    In venomous snakes, the scales on top of their heads are usually small. Non venomous snakes however have larger scales on top of their heads

    Visibility while swimming

    When venomous snakes swim, they're fully visible because they swim at the surface of the water. On the other hand, non venomous snakes swim partly or fully invisible because they swim deep. 





    Teeth

    Venomous snakes have Fangs (Large Maxillary teeth with groves). you can identify fangs by seeing two long teeth in the front. Non venomous snakes lack fangs, their teeth are even and uniform. This is one of the major differences between venomous and non venomous snakes
    Image result for snake fangs
    Notice the two fangs

    Bite marks

    I just hope you've not been bitten by a snake. You could examine snake bitten animals though. The bite mark of venomous snakes look like twin punctures because of the fangs. Non venomous snakes' bite marks don't appear as two punctures.

    Examples of venomous snakes

    • Black Mamba
    • King cobra
    • Eastern brown snake
    • Coastal taipan
    • Inland taipan
    • Many-branded krait
    • Tiger snake
    • Boomslang
    • Mamushi
    • E.t.c
    Image result for examples of venomous snakes
    Rattlesnake, Copper head, Cotton mouth and Coral snake




    Examples of non venomous snakes

    • Northern water snake
    • Four-lined snake
    • Eastern garter snake
    • Emerald tree boa
    • Rough green snake
    • Bull snake
    • black rat snake
    • Milk snake
    • Python
    • Anaconda
    • E.t.c
    rough green snake
    Rough green snake

    Now that you know some differences between venomous and non venomous snakes

    So long as you aren't a zoologist, please stay clear from snakes. Don't go experimenting. Stay safe. View and share the photo below. It is a summarised list of differences.
    Summarised list of differences between venomous and non venomous snakes.
    References:

    Wednesday, 30 May 2018

    Global warming in the world today. Facts and controls

    May 30, 2018 0 Comments
    We see some negative occurrences in the world today which weren't present when we were younger. Most of these occurrences are caused by global warming. What is global warming? What are some facts to prove that it does affect us? How can we control it? Read this article

    What is global warming?

    Global warming (or climate change) could simply be defined as the rise in temperature of the Earth's climate in a century scale and all of its related effects. We can deduce from the definition that:

    • Global warming is the increase in temperature. That is it is responsible for the hotter days and nights we experience
    • It is a worldwide issue
    • It started a very long time ago
    • It has side effects



    Cause(s) of global warming

    It is caused when pollutants like carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants (greenhouse gases) collects and absorbs sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface which is supposed to escape into space. Sadly, these pollutants that trap the heat can last for centuries in the atmosphere. This simply means that global warming is caused majorly by air pollution. The more we pollute the air, the greater the effect.

    Read What about the Earth? Why save it? What can we do?

    Effects of global warming

    Worldwide increase of temperature­čî×

    increase in temperature caused by global warming
    We don't need anyone to disclose to us that these days, we've been feeling too hot because of the sun. Well, the sun didn't get hotter, global warming just got worse

    Shrinking ice sheets

    Image result for shrinking ice sheet
    Size of ice sheets reducing
    Parts of the Earth filled with ice are reducing drastically. This is affecting the animals that dwell in such regions because their habitat is reducing as time goes by.



    Increase in sea level

    Since the last century, the sea level rose about 8 inches. This figure however, doubled since the past two decades. We better be careful and control global warming before the Earth's water surface increases from 70% to 99%

    Read Flooding across the world today

    Even more events

    Over the years, high-temperature events have increased while low-temperature events have reduced, since humans emit more pollutants into the air, water surfaces have been absorbing such pollutants and the acidity of oceans have increased. We can't help but fear that these pollutants also directly affect both man and animals.

    How to control/reduce global warming

    Plant trees­čî│­čî│

    Plants and Trees gain their nutrition from the sun through a process popularly known as photosynthesis. CO2 is a very essential component of photosynthesis since plants use it to produce oxygen (dispersing it into the air). This means that the more trees are planted, the less CO2 would be present in the atmosphere. Not to mention, trees add beauty to our environment.

    Reduce waste

    Some waste decompose and release harmful gases like methane (and others which are green house gases) into the atmosphere. Also, to manufacture items that become garbage (e.g. plastic bags, bottles, metal, etc) energy is required and harmful gases emitted into the air come as by-products

    Read Everything to know about plastics



    Reduce burning of fossil fuels


    Fossil fuels are natural fuels (coal, gas, crude oil) formed by the remains of organisms. Petrol, kerosene, diesel, etc are products of crude oil. Burning these fuels release green house gases into the air. We can reduce the consumption of fossil fuels when we opt for alternative sources of energy like Solar panels, hybrid cars and others.
    Install Solar panels to replace generators and other green house gases emitting energy sources

    Decrease the effects of global warming with your day to day activities

    • Always fix your cars and never use cars that emit too much smoke
    • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Use energy efficient appliances
    • Save energy
    • Stop burning dirt and dispose them the right way
    • Always read articles and journals that direct you on how to reduce global warming

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