Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Cool System and Organisms!

Anoxygenic Photosynthesis

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Oxygenic photosynthesis is when autotrophic organisms (makes its own food using light or chemicals) take light energy, water, and carbon dioxide and transfer it into glucose (sugar) and oxygen. Anoxygenic photosynthesis is very similar but instead of water uses a different electron donor. For example, some bacteria will use hydrogen sulfide instead of water and produce sulfur as a byproduct. The equation for anoxygenic photosynthesis is:

CO+ 2H2A + Light Energy → [CH2O] + 2A + H2O

“A” stands for any potential electron donor (like the hydrogen sulfide). Anoxygenic photosynthesis is necessary for bacteria like the purple sulfur bacteria to survive.


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Chameleons are a well-known organism, and it is also well-known that they are able to change the color of their skin. The way that they do this, however, is complicated and very interesting. Chameleons have a transparent outer layer of skin, and underneath it they have multiple layers of skin with different pigment sacs called chromatophores. The pigment sacs all contain different colors and are locked away until the nervous system tells them to expand. Depending upon what chromatophores are activated (usually based on mood), a chameleon can be all different sorts of colors. In fact, people who own chameleons can learn to tell what mood their pet is in based on its color.

Sunda Flying Lemur (Galeopterus variegatus)

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mage result for sunda flying lemur

The Sunda Flying Lemur is neither a lemur (it is a colugo) or able to fly, but it is one of the world’s best mammal gliders! Sunda Flying Lemurs can glide on average up to 100 meters at a time and only go down 10 meters in elevation. They are able to do this because they have a flap of pure leathery skin that extends from their tails to their fingers and then their heads. They also have “toothcombs,” which are teeth specially designed for combing the parasites out of their fur.

Blue Ocean Slug (Glaucus Atlanticus)

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lue Ocean Slug, Glaucus atlanticus

The blue ocean slug is a species that spends its life on the open ocean. An interesting fact about them is that scientists have had trouble categorizing them as planktonic (no motion of its own) or pelagic (moves around by itself) because observations for both have been made! They are also super tough little guys and their favorite meal is Portuguese-Man-O’-War, and it is able to do so because it swallows its prey’s stinging cells. They will also eat each other if food is scarce.

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