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Photosynthesis (or Gimme Some Sugar) | Drawing Flies
Making an aquarium or a terrarium is not a complicated thing. Learning to build them isvery useful for those who are fond of breeding animals, observing them, taking picturesand movies. You can use an aquarium to breed fish, amphibians, protists, algae, artemia,shrimps, etc. You can use a terrarium to breed many species of animals, but avoid raisingspecies which suffer in captivity. Aquaria and terrariums can be used also to take picturesof animals temporarily taken from their environment.
In their simpler form, acquaria and terrariums are simple glass boxes enclosed on 5 sidesand which can be provided with a lid. This simple container is suitable to breedamphibians and as a terrarium. Aquaria for fish require a compartment for a filter, a pumpfor water circulation, another pump for air, a thermostat, lighting, etc. We'll deal ofthe simplest aquaria.
How you can build an aquarium? In first you have to make a drawing. The bottom glass hasto be surrounded by the other four walls and it has to be the thickest. The thickness ofthe plates has to be proportioned to the size of the aquarium. Avoid building too wide,and more importantly, too high an aquarium. The pressure of the water increases and couldunglue the plates. After having drawn the acquarium you have to cut the glass plates bymeans of a glasscutter. To do this keep the glasscutter vertical and push down with forcewhile you move it along a ruler. This operation require practice, so use some scrap piecesuntil you have the necessary manual ability. It is important you use a sharp glasscutter,kept in oil to avoid rust. Before gluing the slabs, you have to round off the edges withsandpaper in order to remove their sharp edges. With some acetone, clean the slabs wherethe silicone rubber will be deposited. As the acetone is toxic, work outdoor or in a wellventilate piece. Use high quality transparent silicone. To keep the internal walls free ofexcessive glue, on the slabs and near the gluing positions, place stripes of sticking tape(figure 6). When the silicone is cured, remove these stripes and the excess glue.
: handling and cutting glass is a dangerousoperation which has to be made only by adult people wearing gloves and a heavy apron. Away to elegantly solve this problem is to order plates. A hardware or building supplystore can help. Never move aquaria and terrariums containing water or stones, move them onlywhen they are empty. Do not place aquaria in positions where a water leak could damagesomething below them, for example over electrical devices or sockets, and books. Onlyadults should handle glass-made aquaria or terrariums. Give children transparent plastictanks. Do not keep dangerous or rare organisms. Do not breed and most important, do notfree species which do not belong to your environment! Do not free sick animals or plants.
Reef Aquarium Guide
CyberAqua (list of links)
Internet keywords: aquarium glass homemade.
An ecosystem consists of the whole community of living organisms (biocenosis), the abioticcomponent of a certain environment (biotope) and their relationships.
The relationships essentially consist in a flux of substances which pass from thenon-living components to living ones and in a flux of energy which passes from thephotosynthetic organisms (plants) to the herbivorous animals, then to carnivores. Thewastes and the dead organisms are then decomposed by the micro-organisms which brake downthe substances back to simple components, in a full cycle.
1 - With a shovel in a field or in a wood, dig a square hole of about half a meter (1 1/2feet) square and about 40 cm (18") deep. Describe the non-living components of thesoil and all forms of life you find: roots, earthworms, snails, centipedes, spiders,crickets, etc. To complete the description of the ecosystem of the soil, look forinformation on the role of each of these organisms and the relationships with the otherforms of life of this environment.
2 - In similar way you have studied the soil ecosystem, you can analyze other ecosystemssuch as the ones in a forest, pond, shore, or desert.
G. and L. Durrell (2) can be useful, or there are many other books on this matter.
An Illustration of a Soil Ecosystem
Protocols for a Soil Ecosystem Approach for Characterizing Soil Biodiversity
Internet keywords: soil ecosystem.
Protocol Online - Your lab's reference book
If placed in a suitable nutrient environment, cells and tissues of many organisms are ableto reproduce and form new plants or animals. Now, we will deal with vegetable tissues,whose culture is simpler than that of animal cellules and tissues. It is necessary toprepare a nutritive and sterilized culture medium for the piece of plant tissue. Keep theculture in the suitable conditions of light and temperature and which vary from plant toplant. Over many days, you will observe the growth of a callus or roots or shoots. In thisway you can obtain even whole plants (cloning). These experiments show that special cellskeep all the information necessary to generate the whole plant.
As we have mentioned, it is necessary avoid bacteria and moulds in the cultures. For thisyou will need sterilize tools, vials, tubes, and nutrient medium. Place each in anautoclave for a ten minutes or, lacking an autoclave, a pressure cooker. The tissues aswell have to be free from microorganisms and they have to be sterilized with bleach (40%solution for 15 min) or with alcohol.
The transfer of the tissues into the test tubes has to be made in aseptic conditions,using a sterile box. Lacking that, make your first trials in a quiet place, as devoid ofwind and dust as possible. The culture medium should contain water, vitamins (particularlythose of the B-complex. For this, use yeast extract), sugars, mineral salts. To enrich thewater with mineral salts, boil some water with a handful of soil, then let settle andfilter it. Usually, people also insert 0.5-0.8% of agar-agar to "solidify" themedium. As culture medium, coconut milk has been used. It contains mineral salts, sugars,vitamins and growth hormones.
1 - For yours first tests of micropropagation, use strawberries tissues.
2 - If this simple experiment interests you, you can continue on the way of the invitro culture of vegetable tissues. In fact you can propagate a lot of plants in thisway. Plants easy to culture are the following: tomato, potato, strawberry, chrysanthemum,geranium, sunflower, tobacco, carrot and onion. You can use tissues obtained from seeds,such as the embryo, but you can use also tissues taken from adult plants, such as tissuesof roots, stems, apical buds, shoots, leaves, even single cells. Each plant and tissue hasits own needs. They are different from each other. You can try the influence of thevegetable hormones, special nutrients, etc.
This field is very broad and complex so, if you are interested in continuing with theseexperiments, you can buy special books and you should build a sterile box.
Plant Tissue Culture for the Gardener
Basic Principle in Plant Tissue Culture Technique
Plant Tissue Culture Kit Manual
Plant Micropropagation Using African Violet Leaves
Plant Tissue Culture (links)
Internet keywords: in vitro culture plant tissue micropropagation.
The beauty of butterflies makes their culture particularly charming. Do not believe you will immediately have these beautiful insects, in fact for most of the time you will have to raise caterpillars and preserve pupae. Only at the end will you have butterflies. To culture these pretty insects, you first have to read texts about lepidoptera and practice in the field. In this way you will learn how to find butterfly eggs, to raise caterpillars and to keep pupae, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. Usually, butterflies prefer one or a few kinds of plants called hostplants. Caterpillars feed only on these plants and it is only on these that the adult female lays her eggs. So, in order to find the eggs of a given species of butterfly it is necessary to know which are its hostplants and when they lay eggs.
You should breed caterpillars in well ventilated cages. They have to be closed with mosquito net to avoid predators (figure 14). In fact, many bugs lay their eggs in the body of caterpillars. You have to feed your caterpillars with fresh leafy branches of the host plant. To do this you can pot these plants and insert them in the cage, or you can insert the cage over a branch without cutting it from the plant. If this is not possible, cover a branch of the plant with a cloth bag including the caterpillars. Cure the pupae according the suggestions in the books. When butterflies emerge from their cocoon, free them where you have collected the eggs. If you want to keep some adults to admire them, put them in cages like the one of the figure 14 and nourish them with mixtures of water and honey. Often, the caterpillars you find in nature are victim of bugs which lay their eggs on the caterpillar. In this case, there are little dark spots on the caterpillar skin. You can raise these caterpillars to study their parasites.
Butterfly Gardening and Conservation
The Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Conservation Project
Caterpillar Hostplants Database
Unsure About Butterfly Releases?
Internet keywords: butterfly breeding culture.
Photobiological Sciences Online (PSO)
Ponds are among the richest and the most interesting natural environments to observe. Tomake a pond it is sufficient to have a garden or, a meadow or a wood near your home. It isnot necessary to be large, a square meter (9 square feet) of surface is sufficient, buttwo(18 sq. ft.) are better. Find a shady position in the garden. Dig a hole of about 2square meters, 50 cm(2 feet) deep. At least one side, the border has to gently slope downto allow to little animals to enter and leave, for hedgehogs and opossums to drink and tobirds to bath without being too deep. Put some sand in the bottom. Leave the grass on theside. Bare roots are okay. Waterproof the hole with a tarpaulin of white PVC. Why white?Because you can see aquatic animals better when they come near the shore. Cover the borderof the tarpaulin with the grass sod. Allow the tarpaulin to extend for at least 40 cm (16inches) beyond the sloping shore. In this position you can keep the water in such a way tocreate the typical conditions of a marsh. Fill up the pond with tap water and shovel somesand or soil in the bottom: they will benefit the aquatic plants. Go to a natural pond ormarsh and collect some aquatic plants. If it is possible, carry some gallons of water fromthe pond and pour them into your puddle, which will be enriched with microorganisms,algae, and animals, which live in ponds. In few days, your little pond will become greenwith algae and very rich of protozoa. Rapidly dragonflies will come to lay eggs, boatflies, coleoptera and aquatic spiders also will come. In the spring, frogs and newtswill come to lay eggs. The observation of the life in a pond is fascinating. You canremain for hours watching the organisms, which live in this ecosystem. Buy books torecognize the organisms that live in the ponds. See bibliography (5, 6). These texts willalso give you also useful information on the habits of these plants and animals. For anexercise, note your observations in a book, glue pictures, and sketch drawings. Everyyear, during the fall, you should clear out the pond. Shovel out the stinking mud, washthe tarpaulin, or changed it if it leaks, put some tap water, winter rain will supply theremaining part. In spite of what shopkeepers will tell you, your pond does not need pumpsto circulate water, nor aerators, nor falls, nor fountains, nor anything else. The pond isbetter to be as natural as possible. Little ponds of private gardens are very important toamphibians. Avoid introducing fish. They will eat the eggs of the amphibians and thetadpoles. Moreover, the newts will keep the pond free from the mosquito larvae. When thereare tadpoles, your pond will be visited by water snakes, with difficulty you will noticeof them!... and --- don't be frightened: they are harmless!
Multiple Microhabitat Pond Microcosm (good cross section of a pond)
A Large Pond
Building a Pond
"Pond" Cultures of Microscopic Invertebrates
Internet keywords: pond building homemade.
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