Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 3: March 25, 2013

Temperature today: 1 degree Celsius, cloudy

Today I learned a lot about Ecology and Mammals from Dr. Christina.   Ecology is the study of the abundance and distribution of living things.  In Nova Scotia, we are trying to figure out the abundance and distribution of mammals.  The scientists do this with direct and indirect methods.  A direct way is to count each mammal.  Do you think that’s possible?  The indirect way is to trap the mammals, and then use math to make estimates of how many are really there.  We will collect the data by using quadrants, trapping, and cameras.  I will go into each method in more detail tomorrow.  Keep in mind; none of the animals will be harmed by the methods.

Me listening to Dr. Christina about mammals.
 Dr. Christina also taught the team and I about mammals in great detail.  In addition to what we already know about mammals; have fur, live birth, produce milk, and constant body temperature, there are some new things I learned.  Here they are:
1)   Separate windpipe and esophagus.
2)   Lips
3)   Specialized teeth
4)   Secondary jaw articulation. You know that your jaw can go side- to side.  Reptiles, like alligators cannot do this!  Our primary jaw joint is still with us. It became the 3 bones in your inner ear.  This is what gives mammals sensitive hearing and good balance.
5)   Diaphragm.  Mammals need to eat a lot!  So we need to separate our lungs from our stomach.  Therefore, we could keep running or moving.  Reptiles didn’t have this. So you would have a good chance of out running a T-Rex because their stomach would interfere with their breathing.  Can you identify diaphragm in the body?

6)   We Age.  We live a faster life than other animals.  Our cells make more mistakes and they breakdown.  Reptiles not so much.  This is why turtles live so long.  Have you ever seen a turtle with gray hair?  Have you ever seen a dog with gray hair?  Have you seen a Dad with gray hair? (Sorry Dads!)

After lunch, we took a 5-mile hike along the coast.  We looked for signs of mammals along they way.  Scat (animal poop) is a great way to identify mammals.  Yes, we picked it up, looked at it, and smelled it too!! We also look for their tracks.

Finding scat during our coastal hike.
Looking a Scat!
Tree bark eaten by a porcupine.

Click here for link on mammal scat and tracks.

Abandoned lobster traps along the beach.

An icy pond just behind the beach. There is a lot of fresh water in Nova Scotia.

A Nova Scotia pond near the coast.
That's Atlantic Ocean behind me!!


  1. Hi Mr. R,
    1. Fenner's advisory was wondering if all animals produce scat? We thought all animals pooped. We are having a very lively discussion right now.
    2. Christina would like to know if Dr. Christina has a last name? She believes Dr. C is herself in the near future :)
    3. Skylar would like to know how you are doing? Also would you like us to overnight you some warm coats?
    Have fun :)
    Mrs. F and crew

    1. Mrs. F Advisory,
      Scat is fancy name for poop. Her last name is Buesching. Chrisitna, you would like this! Its great science. Skylar, thanks for the offer. I just need to wear more layers.

  2. Hi Mr. Rimlinger,

    This is Mrs. Johnson's advisory group. Ella Abbott is happy to report that Rocky is fine.

    Have you seen any rare animals? What is your favorite animal that you have seen (or heard about) so far?

    We hope you are staying warm!

    Mrs. Johnson's Advisory Group

    1. Thanks Ella! You are so good to Rocky!
      No rare animals yet. I did see a beaver and a beaver lodge. There are a lot of them here because of all the water. Animals are just beginning to wake up from winter.