Thursday, October 20, 2016

This would have made a great biomimicry project

Watch the video from this link. Pretty cool stuff! Good example of how nature is used for our products. I wish I would have thought of it!!

"Squishy Robots"

 I found this super cool article while researching for my project... A mechanical engineer is trying to come up with a way to figure out how to make a material that will allow robots be able to "shape-shift" and fit through tiny spaces and be pliable yet hard at the same time. There's a video on the page that she talks about how they're trying to create robots that emulate biological systems.. woohoo for biomimicry!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dani's Zoo observations

Como Zoo Observation • 20 Sept 2016

My biome is estuaries, guessing I probably won’t see an exhibit at the Como Zoo

Overall Zoo Observations
·      Step-stools in restroom for kids (don’t see that in public spaces often)
·      No lids/straws were available in the cafĂ© (cashier lady said they end up in the exhibits and are harmful to the animals – however I did see others with lids/straws throughout the zoo …)

Observation spot
·      I’m drawn to moving water, found a fountain area in the conservatory with a bench

·      I was focused on the people who went by and recorded what they said …
o   Is this your secret spot? Are we welcome?               (few minutes later) whispered “Enjoy”
o   Oh look! They have papaya!
o   You sat in a wet spot (mom to toddler); Ok. I guess that’s alright.
o   It’s really beautiful here.
o   Oh! They have koi fish!
o   (footsteps) You guys – it’s wet.
o   There’s a tamarind tree! It’s neat to see one.       “The tree of life” (reading sign)
o   Group of 4 chatting in foreign tongue – not sure what they said but looked content, peaceful
·      No one stayed too long – 5 minutes each

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Systems and Species

Red Lipped Batfish
The Red Lipped Batfish is located in the Galapagos Islands. What is interesting about this fish is that it hardly acts like a fish. The species uses fins/limbs that are located in their pectoral and anal areas to crawl along the floor. The Red Lipped Batfish also has a shiny attractive lure to attract prey just like the anglerfish. This species is also classified as a type of anglerfish that had gained interesting features from the galapagos islands. This is a great example of evolution happening before our eyes.

Lowland Streaked Tenrec
The Lowland Streaked Tenrec is located in madagascar. This species is really unique because they have a variety of skills that help them in survival. The Streaked Tenrec can drop their body temperature to nearly that of the surroundings and still remain active. This is to conserve their energy. They also communicate by stridulating which is vibrating and using specialized quills from their mid-dorsal region to create a low-pitched noise. They also create a crunch and putt-putt sound when agitated. This species will also raise the spines around the neck and buck the head violently to attempt to lodge the barbed spines into the attacker as defense.

Mantis Shrimp
The Mantis Shrimp is located in the indian and pacific oceans. What I find really interesting about this species is the 16 receptor cones located in their eyes. Which allows them to detect ten times more color than we as humans can imagine. The Mantis shrimp can also punch its prey with the speed of a bullet. This single punch is strong enough to break through a mollusk or shell instantly.

The Endocrine System
A single hormone is essentially a chemical signal that is secreted into the circulatory system. This communicates regulatory messages inside of us. We  have two systems of internal communication. The nervous system and the endocrine system which work together to keep us alive. The jobs of the endocrine system are incredibly essential to our well being mentally and physically. Sexual development and growth as well as stress and hormonal levels are also tackled by the endocrine system. For my project I’d really like to study this system and the hormones that make up our emotions or the psychological aspects of biology and incorporate that into my ideas. The endocrine system is an incredible way to look at the emotions in a biological aspect. I believe studying this can open new and bigger ideas to this project.

Side Note: Couldn't upload photos and videos

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

3 species and a system.

System:Circulatory system: pumping and channeling blood to and from the body and lungs with heart, blood and blood vessels.

 Catfish are probably the most finely tuned creatures on earth. Unlike most fish, they don’t have scales and their smooth skin gives them a heightened sense of touch. In addition tiny hairs that run along the catfish’s side are very sensitive to vibrations. So much so, catfish are rumoured to be able to detect earthquakes days in advance.

Blue Dragons float upside down on the surface of tropical waters and target blue bottle jellyfish. They ingest the poisonous cells of the jellyfish, which they then use on their own predators.
The Blue Dragon packs a deadly venom for anyone who dares touch its body.

 The critters are native to South American rivers, but they don’t spend all their time underwater. They have to come to the surface to breathe. They are not actually an eel but a species of fish called Kinfe fish.
All of an electric eel’s vital organs are crammed into the front 20 percent of its body. The rest is packed with 6000 cells that act like tiny batteries.
an eel can zap out more than 600 volts!

Seeing Color!

This is a video on how people across the world see color. It's very cool and I recommend everyone watch till the end!


System & Species

Species: The Hairy Tree Frog

This frog can be found in Central Africa and it gets its name from the hair structures on the body and thighs of breeding males and they are arteries that work as external gills. When the frog is threatened it breaks its bones in its toes and protrudes them though its toe pads to create claws.  

Species: The Immortal Jellyfish

Overtime the Jellyfish is faced with death it reverts back to a sexually immature stage. They sink to the ocean floor while their tentacles retract and they become smaller. However this process has yet to be observed in nature only in a laboratory. 

Species: Dumbo Octopus 
This Octopus is a deep sea animal that is around 8 inches tall. They often hover above the sea flor looking for snails and other small creatures to ear. They are called the dumbo finish because its fins look like Dumbo's ears.

System: Bioluminescent Waves
The bioluminescent waves are caused by different species of bioluminescent phytoplankton, the most common kind is called dinoflagellates. There is a channel sending electrical signals in the brains of the plankton to allow them to create this illumination.

Ability: The all-seeing eyes!


Famously known for their ability to camouflage, these guys in disguises are also housing some incredible eyes. Both eyes can move independently from each other. This allows them to scan their surrounding throughly, giving them a full 360 degree field of vision! These guys are able to see critters several meters out and they're also able to see ultraviolet light.

The Dragonfly eyes are extremely sensitive to movement. This sensitivity allow the Dragonfly to make super quick discovery for any potential prey or predator. The Dragonfly eyes are made up of 30,000 visual units called ommatidia! Each unit of ommatidia contains lens and series of light sensitive cells that allow them superior sight and detection for colors and polarized light.

Mantis Shrimp:
Like the Dragonfly, the Mantis Shrimp have compound eyes but they have about 10,000 ommatidia units per eye instead of the Dragonfly's 30,000. Unlike the Dragonfly, each eye serves a particular function for the Mantis Shrimp sight. All information is processed individually by each eyes instead of the brain.

Imagine combining the abilities of all these fantastic species into one product; the smart auto glass for your car.

System & Species

SYSTEM: Biodegradation
Biodegradation is the disintegration of materials by bacteria, fungi, or other biological means. Below is an image of a biodegradable plastic bottle, where you can see the effects of biodegradation over time:

Specifically, molting. 

Snake molt, or "shed their skin" as the grow. Once the top layer of skin is too small, it is stretched to the the point that it splits, and the snake is able to slither out of the old skin casing, often leaving it in one piece:

SPECIES: Pineapple
Specifically, Bromelain. 

Bromelain is a protein-digesting enzyme complex found in pineapple, and in higher concentrations, in the pineapple stem. It is able to hydrolyze or break down a wide variety of protein types in a range of both acid and alkaline environments.

Specifically, Mycelium. 

While mushrooms might be the most familiar part of a fungus, most of their bodies are made up of a mass of thin threads, known as a mycelium. We now know that these threads act as a kind of underground internet, linking the roots of different plants. They help out their neighbors by sharing nutrients and information – or sabotage unwelcome plants by spreading toxic chemicals through the network.

Beautiful Systems

Fireflies //

Also known as the lightening bug, most do not realize that these insects are actually beetles... What?! They are a nocturnal and a part of the Lampyridae family. Their other "siblings" are classified as "glowworms". They are as big as a paperclip and there are 2,000 kinds of them. Lucky for us Minnesotans, fireflies love humid climates that have a lot of moisture. There is a light organ under their abdomen, which is how they produce the heat-less glow. It works like this: they breath in oxygen, the oxygen mixes with a substance called luciferin, and boom! There is light. So cool.

Jack-O-Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus Olearius)  //

These mushrooms actually glow, plus they fit in with the season. In the daylight, they are orange. Their bioluminescence, the glow effect, in dark conditions. The entire mushroom is not glowing, though, only the gills do. Similar to fireflies, this is due to luciferin. The only downside about them is that they are in fact poisonous to humans... Bummer.

Dinoflagellates  //

This is by far the prettiest marine plankton I have ever seen! They are part of the phenomenon called "red tide" when they are in large groups. They sometimes appear in freshwater, not just salt. Another cool fact is that they are also sometimes involved in a symbiotic relationship with coral. You can also surf on it too, which creates some amazing shots!

3 Species & 1 System

Species #1 Superpower: Strong Ass Teeth

     Chiton are small, oval molluscs; also called 'coat-of-mail shells' because their shell resembles chain-mail. What's special about these little chiton's is their teeth. Their teeth are arranged in tiny rows along the radula (rasping tongue/food conveyor belt). The teeth are made mostly from magnetite, which is one of the hardest materials made by living organisms.With their teeth they can cling to rocks so "tightly" that a dent will be left behind; also when trying to pull a chiton off a rock the likelihood of them getting damaged or cracked is much greater because of their strong grip.

Species #2 Superpower: Sensing Electric Fields
    We all know what Bumblebees are so I don't need to explain them to you... but what you probably didn't know about them is that they can sense electric fields around flowers. The electric fields are created because of the uneven charges between the ground and the atmosphere. Bees have little hairs all over their bodies - this is what they use to sense the electric fields. When they come near a flower the little hairs will bend, generating a nerve signal. Studies have shown that bees use this to help them differentiate between flowers (rather than relying just on color and smell).

Species #3 Superpower: Surviving Under High Pressure
    The Blobfish is a fish that lives way down at the bottom of the ocean in the Benthic Zone. They lack gaseous bladders that other fishes have to help them maintain buoyancy. It also has a low density so it floats abovet the ocean floor. Because of the high pressure at the bottom of the ocean, the Blobfish survives by not having a full skeletal structure or any muscles. It literally looks like a blob when out of water ------------->

Being exposed to the high pressure in the Benthic Zone is what makes them actually look like a real fish. ----->
Because of their lack of muscles the Blobfish can't actually move around anywhere, so they just float in one spot and wait for their dinner to come to them. When some kind of food product nears them they suck it in their mouth and eat it or they just float there with their mouths open and wait for things to swim into it before eating it.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Kick-ass species

The name “parrotfish” refers to the “beak-like” jaws and fused teeth of the species in the genus. These teeth are used to scrape algae off of rocks and corals. Strangely, they also possess what are known as Pharyngeal teeth, which are essentially just teeth in the throat. Parrot fish use these teeth to grind rocks the rocks/corals that they ingest into sand, which is then eliminated, creating new sand. This actually leads to the formation of small islands and sandy beaches in the Caribbean. Individual parrot fish can produce as much as 200 lbs of sand a year.

One of the most distinctive features of both the Okapi and the Giraffes their long prehensile tongue which can not only be used to grab onto leaves and branches but it also assists the animal when grooming. The tongue of the Okapi is in fact so long, that they are one of the few animals in the world that are said to be able to lick their own ear! Although they are quite rare and very secretive animals, there were sightings of the Okapi in these forests but these generally involved seeing the animal from behind and so the Okapi was known by many as a Forest Zebra.

1.    Blobfish aren’t exactly “tigers of the deep.” They don’t actively hunt. They will sit with their mouths open and wait for anything to pass by. When something does, the blobfish sucks the unlucky victim down into its bulky belly. Mainly they feed on small crustaceans.


Protists are single-celled and usually move by cilia, flagella, or by amoeboid mechanisms. There is usually no cell wall, although some forms may have a cell wall. They have organelles including a nucleus and may have chloroplasts, so some will be green and others won't be. They are small, although many are big enough to be recognized in a dissecting microscope or even with a magnifying glass. Nutrients are acquired by photosynthesis, ingestion of other organisms, or both.

Bees, and lyrebirds, and sea cucumbers. Oh, my!

Bees are incredibly sensitive to electricity. They can sense the geomagnetic field of earth.  Bees can tell when a storm is coming and when they need to head back to their hives for safety. This sensitivity also helps them a ton when it comes to food and keeping their hive healthy. They are drawn to pollen rich flowers, which they gather on their bodies that have been specially designed for just this. 


Sea Cucumbers can get themselves out of nearly any situation. When threatened or in need of escape, they basically melt in to a sea cucumber puddle (tasty, right?). They are able to squeeze themselves into almost any place. 


Lyrebirds can mimic any sound they hear, natural or artificial. Thats great for them when it comes to hunting. They are able to lure in certain critters. Their call plays a large role in their mating process. 


"Man is a system that indicates the state of the system through behaviors"

3 Organisms and System

Pomelo Fruit

The Pomelo fruit has excellent dampening properties due to the hierarchal organization of its composite peel. Dropped from higher levels the fruit shows little to no damage on the outer layer. Analyses of thin sections of pummelo peel revealed a gradual transition in density between exocarp and mesocarp. Thus, structurally, the dense exocarp cannot be separated clearly from the spongy mesocarp. The mesocarp with its air-filled intercellular spaces represents a compressible foam, and has the ability to dissipate large amounts of energy. 

Notaden Frogs 

The skin of Australian frogs of the genus Notaden protects from insect bites via a secreted glue. When set, it is flexible and has a porous structure that should make it permeable to gas and nutrients, which would encourage healing. The glue is secreted by two species of burrowing Australian frogs of the Notaden genus that live underground. These frogs only surface during torrential rain. At these times they are vulnerable to attack from insects. To protect themselves they secrete a glue that gums up the jaws of the biting insects and traps them to their skin, which they later eat.

Jewel Beetle 

Larval jewel beetles spend up to five years boring through hardwood before metamorphosing into adult beetles and emerging. The mandibles they produce must be strong enough to chew through the tough acacia wood. Most arthropods and invertebrates incorporate minerals and transition metals into such structures that demand extreme strength and hardness (e.g., beaks, jaws, shells) and this addition has been long considered crucial to their physical properties. However, the larval jewel beetle's mandible is stronger than most metal-laden biomaterials yet contains only carbon-based, organic materials. Amazingly, this material is composed of fibers of crystalline chitin sheathed in proteins that cross-link and harden.

Termite System

Termite mounds. They may look like just a big pile of well-structured dirt but they are actually marvels of architecture and fill an unexpectedly important function in the ecosystems in which they appear. In fact, the areas around termite mounds can be some of the most biologically diverse in an entire habitat.