Monday, September 30, 2013

Cassie's Restoration Ecology Reflection

I do think that restoration ecology is important for our environment, because it helps everything that's been messed up by humans get back to the way it's supposed to be. By us cutting down the invasive species in the forest and clearing out all of the unwanted plants and whatnot, it helps the forest get itself back to the way it's supposed to be and it helps the natural plants to grow back and flourish. 
This is a picture of the forest before we cleared it out

This is what it looked like after we got rid of all the invasive species. As you can see, we made a lot of progress on the forest, but there's still a lot that needs to be done. I think this experience really helped to show us how hard the forest has to work to get itself back to the normal state after humans mess it up and bring in unwanted species. It also shows the importance of maintaining the environment, and why we should take care of our earth. 

We also helped by planting acorns and watering trees. 
This is a type of oak tree, and the reason that we had to water it is because its roots aren't big enough yet to get its own water from the soil. Most tree's roots are big enough because when they start out as a seedling in the ground, they can establish their roots much better than if they were planted there by humans. That's why it's very important to give a lot of water to newly planted trees. 

Overall, I think this was a very good experience, and I learned a lot about the environment and the importance of helping it in any way that we can. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Restoration Ecology Assignment- Sam Brucks

To the left, I was watering a certain type of oak tree. Theses trees were planted not to long ago and we need to make sure they has a sufficient amount of water so they don't dry out because their roots are so tiny that they can only hold so much at a time.  Then to the bottom right we were using saws and lobers to get out some branches or invasive plants.

                   To the left, we were carrying branches to the burn piles. 

In the picture above, these were different kinds of oak trees that we watered and we also planted acorns in this area to be able to grow. We also spread out other seeds to help allow more plants or trees to grow. To the lower right, we were posing with a branch that we spent a long time trying to saw off.

                           In this picture, we were waiting for our buckets to get filled with water so we could go water as many plants as possible. 

In the picture to the left, Abby and I were taking a quick break from sawing to allow Conor to snap a picture of us!! 
Underneath, I was carrying a large branch to go put In the burn pile.
I do feel like ecological restoration is necessary and worthwhile becasue most people don't realize the amount of harm that we cause the Earth to be in and all the extra work that actually goes into caring for trees and plants and other nature life. The restoration helped me to understand more about the world around me and how hard some people work to make an area look presentable. it was a lot of work but you can make it fun and learn about different plants ans ways to creare new life and help restore an area. Ecosystems need our help to restore them or else it would take them hundreds of years to go back to their original state. The benefits of restoration ecology are the fact that the restoration ecologists can help new animals to adapt to the new environment to help with the restoration process or welcome back species that were unable to live there once the restoration is in process. When we restore an ecostyem we are putting balance back into it and we try to keep it as normal and safe for other wildlife try to grow in the ecosystem. In my opinion, I don't believe that there is a downside to restoration ecology. The ecosystems need us to speed up their restoration process and help plants grow and cut down other plants and trees that are no longer necessary in the ecosystem.

Katrina's Restoration Reflection

I have always loved nature preserves. It is actually somewhat of a family tradition that we visit one whenever we are on vacation. I've been to forests in Florida, Colorado, and Iowa, among others. But before the biology field trip, I had never been able to actually work in one before. We entered, and I'm pretty sure we could all tell the place was beautiful, as nature is bound to be. 

We walked in together, got our instructions, and went to work.

I wasn't sure what to expect, and was greeted with a thorny, dirty, buggy mess. Burs were stuck on my pants, the loppers were too big for my hands, and the gloves were not comfortable.

But by the time we got working, it didn't matter anymore. We were on a mission.
We cleared out species like honeysuckle and buckthorn, and planted acorns to help natural species of oak trees grow. We were able to seed the area too, so indigenous grasses could repopulate the area. By doing all of this, it is possible for animals like bald eagles and other animals to move back into the area. The small things we do bring back the natural condition, and plants and animals are given another chance at inhabiting their native region. I think it was amazing that we were able to work towards restoring this ecosystem to its natural state, even if only a small part of it. Humans are at fault for the invasive species moving in, so it should be humans that do their part to make it right again. It was ultimately satisfying to see the results of the work we did, and I hope I am able to take part in something similar again.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Acids and Bases Lab

Acids and Bases Lab

The purpose of the experiment was to determine the effect of acids and bases on the pH level, and to find the buffer range of each substance. We were testing each material to see how much the pH level differed between each test. The independent variable was how many drops of acid or base added to the substance, and the dependent variable was the pH level. We were ultimately trying to find out how the buffer range changed from solution to solution, and how it effected the pH level of the substance when acids or bases were added.

The pH level of a substance determines if it is an acid, neutral, or a base. If the substance's pH level is under seven it's a an acid, if it is exactly seven it's neutral, and if it's over seven, it's a base. A buffer is a substance that minimizes the changes in the pH level.


To do the acid and base experiment we used the labquest2 to take all of our data with the probes. We had to have 2 beakers: one that was labeled acidic and one that was labeled basic. In each beaker there would be 20 mL of each solution, which for us was water and spinach. There would be one person working with the acid and the other working with the base and one person using the lab quest. Each of us would add the acid or a base starting at 0 drops and adding five at a time, stirring the mixture after each addition. Then we would put the acid probe in the solution and the base probe in the solution. We would then continue doing that til there was 30 drops and take the data and graphs off of the lab quest. 


Graphs and charts
Bottom line shows addition of acid, top line shows addition of base.

Bottom line shows acid, top line shows base.

In the first graph, water is shown. The ph of both samples started at about 6.8, very close to the neutral value of seven. As base was added, the maximum ph reached for this experiment was 11.53. The lowest value, reached with the addition of acid, was 2.86. This yields a buffer range of 8.67 for water. In the second graph, a spinach solution was used.we are not sure why the two lines cross, but the line for acid and base cross. It is possible that the ph sensors were switched. If this experiment was conducted again, we would make sure the sensors were also clean. The highest base value was 11.09 and the lowest acid value was 3.11. Therefore the buffer range for spinach is 7.98. This means that the buffer range for water is lower than the buffer range for spinach. This could be because spinach is living, and must be able to keep its ph in a range for sustainable life.

This experiment showed us that acids decrease the ph and bases increase the ph of solutions. It also showed that water has a buffer range of about 8.67, and the spinach solution had a buffer range of 7.98.  As solutions change, they will have different abilities to buffer changes in ph.