Friday, September 30, 2016


I learned about a really cool topic from my friend Gena in class today! It's called "animism" and its exact definition is "the belief that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls." I made the connection to biological systems when Gena was explaining how one of the key beliefs is how everything that is living is equivalent meaning humans should not be the dominant species. After researching it I found that it's related to religion and psychology (specifically Piaget's Theory), so overall it's a pretty interesting topic to do a little reading on if you're ever bored!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


My time at the zoo was awesome! I really enjoyed the monkeys. My biome is the cave system and I actually found a monkey that lives in caves! That is one of the very few cave related concepts I found at the zoo. I can throw like bears or spiders or snakes in there but there wasn't really a specific cave related exhibit which is fine.

Back to the monkeys I definitely saw some Jackie Chan moves and was impressed by there parkour skills. Running on walls and jumping clear across the closures was very entertaining. I spent most of my time in aw of them.


This is Neil, the largest Polar Bear at the Como Zoo.
We were able to catch Neil doing his favorite thing - swimming!  You might notice I had my hand on the glass- the water was kept at a cool 65 degrees. Though I was sad to see such a majestic creature in an enclosure, we interviewed the zoo keepers and learned that he had been bred in captivity, and was very healthy and happy. He is also given LOTS of toys to keep him busy, good meat in the winter, and a place to go when he is tired of the spotlight. He also has other bears to socialize with. He is kept fairly thin in the summer to keep his normal 4" blubber layer down so that he can stay cool and comfortable, but he's allowed to fatten up for our harsh Minnesota winters.
This was my favorite part of the zoo.

Como Zoo Exhibit

While exploring the Como Zoo I decided to spend my thirty minutes with the giraffes. One giraffe in particular kept my attention. As I filmed this giraffe moving around I noticed that his/her mouth never stopped moving. It was almost like they were chewing or yawning or maybe a little of both. As I had learned later on, giraffes are "very oral creatures". Giraffes regurgitate their food and chew on it a lot of the time. I had also noticed that the corners of the brick building were covered for protection. Some of the giraffes were brushing up against it whenever they walked by. I found this to be interesting but I was not able to find a volunteer or information online as to why. So with that I had uploaded a video of what I captured while I spent my time at the exhibit.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Solo Zoo Trip to the Conservatory

For my Zoo trip I had to go on my own, since I was unable to attend with the class last Tuesday. Now I’ve been to the Como Zoo countless times throughout my life, and even went this summer with some friends, but this solo adventure turned out to be a great one.

Now while I think all the animals are super cool (Especially the penguins and the seals, they’re literally the cutest….) I spent most of my time in the Conservatory with the plants. We were vibing.

It’s crazy how many different species they can fit into one space, and how they manage to maintain them all so well, I’m sure that’s no easy task. I was really interested in how they decided what plants would be easy to place next to each other, and how they transition them from one type to the other. As well as how they get the whole space to seem so cohesive. Its really an amazing area of Como, and I also seem to get lost in it…

While my biome (the wetlands)  isn’t quite as visually stunning...this area reminded me a lot of it. It’s all these living things, working together, synthesizing, soaking in those sun rays and producing oxygen and just existing for the benefit of all the other living things around it. That’s pretty cool if you ask me.

Observing The Conservatory

I spent the majority of my day at the zoo in The Conservatory. I moved from bench to bench swooning at blooms and foliage. While there I notice that not many people were too interested in any individual plants or took much time to observe. Most everybody wanted to see as much of the zoo and conservatory as they could. Except for one older gentleman who sat on a bench near mine. I studied him studying the life around him. We sat side by side on our separate benches taking in all the environment had to offer. I grew a great respect for that man.

I talked with several zoo employees during my visit. The woman in The Sunken Garden told me all about how there are three or four gardeners at a time working together to plan the shows for the exhibit. These gardeners use their knowledge of the plants and amazing design sense to create these beautiful gardens. It made me think about The Entrepreneurial Studies Program and made me so excited to see these things coming together.
I gained so much inspiration by forcing myself to be in one spot actively observing. This is something that i am working to implement into my life every few days to take a break to refresh. 

The Monkey Exhibit

We observed the Orangutans and it was a surprising moment. One starting coming towards the window to take a nap in the well-made grass and/or hay. Seconds after, a baby Orangutan came to kiss the one lying down, possibly it's mother. But we weren't sure. That was going on for minutes and it was such a precious and playful moment of bonding. Sadly,  I didn't get it on video because we were all so into it. More people came to where we were and saw what was happening. Everyone was in, "ahhh," amazed at the cuteness going on. I was able to capture the baby swinging on the rope back and forth. It was trying to get to another Orangutan who was sitting in the tree with food. Once it made to the tree, the baby started to eat out of the hands of the other Orangutan, who then carried the baby in its arms,  down below to the lower floor. We weren't able to identify what family member was who, but the first could've been its mother and second, an aunt figure.  It was an interesting experience.

   (swinging on rope)

Each one of them were occupied and didn't look so sad, like some of the animals we saw. They were lively and playful. The monkey exhibits were probably one of the most engaging and fun while our time at the zoo.

    (playing tag)

Gorilla Forest

Observing the Gorilla Forest for roughly an hour was both splendid and sorrowful all at once. I sat outside the building near a panel of glass that looked into the enclosure. In front of me sat a big male gorilla who throughout the entirety of observing him ate fistfuls of grass while sitting on his haunches. It was interesting to note how meditative he looked while munching on his food, and that while to my eye all the grass appeared to be the same he clearly saw something I didn’t for he was particular on where he pulled up the grass. My observation of him was calm and informative but I couldn’t help but notice how loud the inside of the building got as people came and went. At one point there was loud bang on the glass which startled both I and my gorilla compatriot. Most likely the oldest and largest silverback that lead the family was displaying his protective instincts and displaying aggression towards the observers. Running sideways on all fours he would rush towards the glass, then stop suddenly and sit down. What surprised me was how calm he appeared at one moment and then in an instant he would be banging on the glass and stomping around. Curious as to the source of the agitation I went into the building and saw what was happening. A man was finding humor in the gorilla’s actions and was pounding on the glass intermediately. His actions served as a catalyst for another man who then pretended to chuck his water bottle at the gorilla angering him further. I felt that the information on these marvelous creatures was ignored in people’s pursuit of interacting with the animals I learned a lot about gorillas but even more about people through my time observing.

(Gorilla above was the one being tormented) 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Observing the Orangutans

After watching the Sumatran Orangutans for a couple of minutes I realized that they were basically the same as my family. The way that they interacted with each other ... either being super playful or pulling each others hair. One of them was definitely the instigator, yanking on the huge males body (assuming that was dad/"alpha" male).. he tossed him around a little bit and the instigator kept coming back for more. He must've gotten bored eventually because then he decided he was just going to hang on the ropes in their enclosure. While this was going on the mother of the little tiny one was holding onto her little orangutan and picking through the grass and putting it/whatever she was finding into her mouth. The little orangutan scampered away a little while later and began swinging from the ropes right into the dad.. pulling his hair as he swung away. The little one must've gotten a tad upset from getting no reaction from dad .. it looked like he was throwing a temper tantrum, laying on the ground.

The whole time I was staring at the orangutans I maybe made eye contact twice; they were very focused on each other and engaged in their "environment". They didn't pay attention to any of the crowds or any of the noises that were going on around them. By the time I was wrapping up my observations they were all heading inside, perfect timing!

Zebra Observation

As I was watching the Zebras, the biggest thing that appealed me to them were their strips. I noticed that they have a black strip that starts at the tip of their nose, down their spines, to the end of their tails. The zebras didn't do much, but eat endless amounts of grass and walk around. Whenever the mother moved, the baby followed and at times I would catch the baby nuzzling the mother's side with its head (Like an animal hug). Overall, zebras are very calming animals, and don't make much noise. So precious! Such beautiful creatures. 

When Observing, I noticed that the Zebras were wagging their tails. This made me wonder if they wag their tails when their happy like dogs do?

After doing some research, turns out they use their tails as a swatter to swat at the pests that bite them. 

QUESTION: Do you guys think zebras are white with black strips or black with white strips?

~Pictures of Our Lil' Critter Friends~

                                                                    Juvenile Archer

                                                               Spotted Puffer Fish

                              My spirit animal: Zebras!!! <3 A youngin following their mother

                                                                           Sea Lion

                                                                          Lesser Kudu

At the Zoo!

After hearing that gorillas like to watch Youtube videos, my biome group decided to try it out... we could not get the gorillas to watch the videos, but it turns out that the monkeys love them! One little guy was totally absorbed and sat for a good 5-10 minutes just watching!

At one point while he/she was watching, another one came up to him, gave him a hug, and then wandered off. Our group was wondering why he did that... what do you all think?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Emotional Symbiosis...

I thought this a very thought provoking idea.

Imagine the internal adaptation necessary to facilitate with such a capability.

You'd certainly want to be cautious of who you connect with. Some people have had very traumatic experiences in life... Could you cope?

Experiencing the private lives and feelings of others is no thing to take lightly.

Here is the main excerpt of the article:

Poyiadgi says of the book: “Veripathy is a collection of short stories exploring a world in which technology allows us to directly experience the feelings of another. The stories examine the lives of those who use the technology and the consequences of knowing what it feels like to be someone else.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Future of Commerce

Symbiotic Economy

Why we need new economic models:

Voting with your $:

Why I am a fan of circular economy:

: )

Mother & Baby Relationship

Here is the link to the video about giving birth:

Mutual Symbiosis: Moray Eel & Wrasse

As threatening as an moray eel may look, it is one of many underwater creatures that take place in a symbiotic relationship with the Laborites Dimidiatus, or more commonly the Blue Streak Cleaner Wrasse. The eel becomes the host for the wrasse and benefits by the wrasse cleaning out microscopic parasites within its body. Many of these parasites are harmful to the host and can feast on the flesh, tissue, blood and mucus, as well as cause infections and outbreaks of diseases. In return for the cleaning the wrasse is gaining its necessary nitriteon. However one eel generally does not have enough nutrition for the fish so it bounces around creating other symbiotic relationships with eels to get that food. Usually these interactions happen in what is called cleaning stations, usually under coral reefs, the fish gather for eels and fish to come and get cleaned. 

The Blue Streak does a dance to initiate the symbiotic relationship. The dance helps the host identify the fish as a cleaner and not as prey. This can also be determined by identifying the wrasse by the streak going down their back. Where the fish cleans is situational depending upon who its cleaning and where the largest amount of mucus is. The fish generally moves between the gills, mouth, and body depending upon the host. 

Sophie Weber

Mutualistic Symbiosis: The Ruby Throated Humming Bird and the Cardinal Flower

Mutualistic Symbiosis: The Ruby Throated Humming Bird and the Cardinal Flower
These two species benefit from each other by providing a way for the flower to pollinate, providing the hummingbird nutrition. This happens when the hummingbirds head touches the flower as it reaches for the nectar. The pollen from the flower sticks to the head of the bird- it is then taken to another flower via Ruby Throated Humming Bird.

Baylee Hopkins
Wood Ant Colony & Humans

A colony of wood ants built their home over an underground nuclear weapons bunker from the Cold War in Templewo, Poland. Their colony is located near a vertical ventilation pipe, and every year thousands of ants fall into the pipe when the colony expands and cannot climb back out. The survivors started their own underground colony in harsh, cold, and mostly barren conditions. This new colony is solely composed of non-reproductive female workers, as the new colony doesn't produce queens, males, or offsprings. The colony is only supplemented with new workers by ants that fall into the shaft every year. Ants are known to be tidy and remove their waste, but their biggest waste in this are dead bodies. Through the years these ants moved the dead bodies to the top of the colony and the surrounding area creating an ant cemetery where mites and a few other invertebrates feed on the bodies. It is still not clear what the main source of nutrition for the ants is, they are living in a constant state of starvation.

The free ant colony above ground

The ventilation pipe the ants fall from

The new ant colony below the pipe

A close up of the ant colony with the ant cemetery against the wall

Hawaiian Bobtail Squid & Chemiluminescent Bacteria

The bobtail squid is a fascinating example of symbiosis. When fish are swimming at night they appear to be a shadow to the predators beneath them because of the moon shining through the water. This squid though is able to not cast any shadow due to glowing bacteria (chemiluminescent bacteria) in its stomach. Not only does the squid's bacteria glow, but the squid can also adjust the strength of the glow to match the light coming from the moon. This glowing bacteria comes directly from the light organ that is inside of the squid's stomach. It's an interesting relationship that the squid has with the bacteria; if the squid feeds the bacteria, the bacteria will repay by making the squid invisible during the dark hours. It's actually an awesome friendship that these two have.

Hawaiian Bobtail Squid:

Monday, September 5, 2016

Mutualistic Symbiosis:

The Rhinoceros & The Oxpecker

As formidable as a rhinoceros may be, it can be quite sensitive to insects in the small fissures of its hide. Parasitic insects are often found burrowing into these cracks causing itching and irritation.     Another potential weakness in the rhinoceros is its poor eyesight. The rhinoceros has found a friend in the oxpecker bird - the bird plucks out and eats the burrowing insects, and flaps its wings and squawks if it sees danger approaching.  

This is an example of a mutualistic symbiotic relationship; the rhino stays free of pests and its sense of danger is enhanced by the bird's warning, and the oxpecker gets a free meal and protection for its vigilance - both species benefit from the relationship.

Mutualistic Relationship: Jellyfish and Algae

Jellyfish are often characterized by drifting to and fro in the ocean currents, but millions of golden jellyfish in Palau’s Jellyfish lake break from such tradition. These jellyfish spend much of their lives on the move, for a crucial reason. Inside these golden jellies lies an algae called zooxanthellae, which provides their hosts with energy as a byproduct of their photosynthesis. The jellyfish undergo a daily migration across the lake following that of the sun in order to provide the energy the algae needs. To make sure the algae has the best care the jellyfish will even rotate counterclockwise, ensuring the algae has even exposure to the sun. This daily migration also benefits that of the lake, mixing its waters and nutrients as well as upturning small organisms at the base of the food chain. Because of the lakes isolation and lack of predators the jellyfish have lost their ability to sting. Now this lake has become a tourist’s attraction letting people swim with the gelatinous hordes and their algae counterparts.


Society, National Geographic. "Golden Jellyfish, Golden Jellyfish Pictures, Golden Jellyfish Facts -- National           Geographic." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.

"Jellyfish Lake." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.

Aphids, Plants & LadyBugs

Aphids damage plants by munching on them, ladybugs in turn eat the aphids, saving the plant. 

Aphids are a very common plant and crop pest; they are small insects with long skinny mouths that they use to pierce plants' stems and leaves in order to suck out the plant's fluids. The relationship between the plants and aphids is not a mutually beneficial one but rather one in which one benefits and the other is harmed. In the biology world this is known as parasitism. Parasites, although harmful to their host, tend not to kill it because in order to survive their host needs to be alive.

Although the plant is being damaged by the aphids, it has the ability to make "friends" with things that are harmful to aphids, an example, ladybugs. This new relationship between the plants and ladybugs is called mutualism. The ladybugs get a full meal and the plants are rid of the aphids, it's a win-win!

Agarwal, Naveen. "LadyBug Muncha Muncha Muncha on Aphids in HD (How to Get Rid of Aphids)." YouTube. YouTube, 2013. Web. 05 Sept. 2016. 
Bar-Yam, Shlomiya. "Evolution." Evolution. NECSI, 28 Feb. 2011. Web. 05 Sept. 2016. 
Flint, M. L. "How to Manage Pests." Aphids Management Guidelines--UC IPM. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.

Mutualism Relationship: Acacia tree and Ants

The acacia tree is home to a colony of stinging ants that live in large thorns of the of the tree and use them as shelter. The tree provides the ants with food sources, a sweet nectar that oozes from the tree and tip of leaves.  So what does the tree get? The ants protect the acacia tree from everything that touches the tree such as deer, humans, grasshopper to caterpillars.  Serving like bodyguards, the ants will attack anything that may damage the tree. They will clear all vegetation and herbivores giving the acacia tree a big advantage to anything that comes near it. This is called mutualism relationship, where both species benefit one another.