Topic 1: Population Distribution of termites in a Savanna.
According to Dr. Corina Tarnita termite mounds are a biological hotspot that concentrate water and nutrients in the savanna ecosystem. She was able to find out that the spacing of termite mounds looked very regular and with the help of a mathematical tool that used the satellite she came up with the conclusion that termites have six neighbors around one mound. The hexagonal pattern enable them to optimize space, the number and distribution of mounds across the land space.
Dr. Tarnita thinks that climate change is the main factor that governs the spatial distribution of the mounds due to water stress which is a vital tool for monitoring such a pattern.
Termites make rich moist soils that favor plant growth in the savanna and the mounds also contribute to the stability of the ecosystem.
Topic 2: Pacific Lampreys.
The Pacific Lampreys have got no bones, scales or even jaws making them to be different from the common fish characteristics. But these characteristics that they display does not imply that they do not belong to the fish family.
Some of the challenges that Pacific Lampreys face include: Urbanization which is the development of rural areas into urban areas. Channelization is also a challenge to the population of Pacific Lampreys since the channels lengths are reduced by substituting straight cuts for a winding course. Stream degradation and irrigation withdrawal are also challenges that the Pacific Lampreys face.
The native American tribes of the northwest are concerned about the reducing population of the pacific lampreys because the lampreys help in restoring the river system.
Topic 3: Supporting the Energy Needs of a Large Brain.
One of the hypothesis discussed is the social brain hypothesis which implies that brains evolved in order to process real information about the world and also to deal with real ecological problem solving tasks among other hypothesis such as epiphenomenal, developmental and ecological. According to the hypothesis the adult brain weighs about 2% of the body weight but it uses about 20% of the total energy that the body takes in. It was also noted that large brains will only evolve when the selection factor is able to overcome the steep cost gradient.
Topic1: HHMI Biointeractive (2015, November 11) Analyzing patterns in the savanna landscape. [Video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/nJGpABrEatc
Topic2: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (2012). Taking the initiative to conserve Pacific Lamprey. [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkwfDVAoSXk
Topic3: Carl Zimmer, July/August 2011, The brain Discover, 32 (6), 18-19https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=61992134&site=ehost-live&scope=site
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