Wednesday, September 26, 2007

SEE FORUMS (Chapter 18, Page 422)

Critical Thinking - Question 3

Tourism and its effects (for example, pollution from hotels and the impact of boats and tourists on fragile habitats) often clash with conservation efforts. Sometimes, however, tourism can help. The economic impact of banning the hunting of harp seals in eastern Canada has been compensated for, in part, by the influx of tourists who now come to see the seals. Can you think of other examples? What recommendations can you make to minimize the impact of tourism on unspoiled marine environments?

An example that I believe will work is to EDUCATE! Educate by handing out brochures, in languages that the tourists use, explaining the effects on our marine environment while having their fun in our waters. Businesses have brochures readily available to promote their sales on water activities regardless of the damages it causes everyone. People like us who care together with Marine Biologists that are on island and Coastal Resources Management staff should come up with our own educational brochures to be made readily available to tourists.

The recommendation that I will make to minimize the impact of tourism on unspoiled marine environments is to INFORM! Inform tourists the importance of our marine organisms in our daily lives compared to their water sport activities for just a few hours of fun. Suggest to tourists that if being in our ocean to view the many different species of organisms is their passion, then perhaps they can contribute in many ways by becoming a Marine Biologist or by volunteering.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Algae Cell - 09/25/07

Eukaryote (Algae)
Eukaryote - an organism that consists of one or more eukaryotic cells.
Eukaryote Cell - a cell that contains a nucleus and other organelles.

The parts of an algae from top to bottom and their function is as follows:
Cell Wall - protects the Cytoplasmic membrane.

Cytoplasmic Membrane - the very thin, highly flexible, but structurally weak membrane that lies under the wall and surrounds the interior of the cell.

Cytoplasm - the cell interior which consists of a solution of salts, sugars, amino acids, vitamins, and a wide variety of other soluble materials in water. Since the Cytoplasm has a higher solute concentration than the water surrounding the cell, osmosis causes water to pass from outside the cell through the relatively permeable cell wall, continue through the cytoplasmic membrane, and dilute the cytoplasm. This builds up pressure within the cell until it equalizes to the effective osmotic pressure and, if not for the rigidity of the cell wall, the cell would burst. Other chemical compounds necessary for the life of the cell are selectively passed through this membrane and waste products are evacuated through it.

Nucleus - contains most of the genetic material of the cell, and the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecules exist as linear strands. The DNA is condensed into obvious chromosomes only at the time of nuclear division (mitosis) in most algae; however, the nuclear DNA of the classes Dinophyceae and Euglenophyceae is always condensed.

Nuclear Membrane - has specialized nuclear pores that regulate the movement of molecules into and out of the nucleus.

Nucleolus - within the nucleus are found chromatin and a structure called the nucleolus. Chromatin is DNA in its active form. It consists of DNA looped around histone proteins. The nucleolus is a knot of chromatin. It is the nucleolus that manufactures ribosomes

Mitochondrion - is the site where food molecules are broken down and carbon dioxide, water, and chemical bond energy are released, a process called cellular respiration. Special organelles where respiration takes place. Mitochondria are the cell's power plants, breaking down organic molecules to provide energy.

Ribosomes - serves as the “workbench” during protein synthesis. It provides the site where genetic information, as messenger RNA, is translated into proteins. The ribosome carefully interprets the genetic code of the DNA so that the protein is made exactly to the genetic specifications.

Chiefly aquatic, eucaryotic one-celled or multicellular plants without true stems, roots and leaves, that are typically autotrophic, photosynthetic, and contain chlorophyll. Algae are not typically found in groundwater. They also may be attached to structures, rocks or other submerged surfaces. They are food for fish and small aquatic animals. Excess algal growths can impart tastes and odors to potable water. Algae produce oxygen during sunlight hours and use oxygen during the night hours.

2 Examples of organisms with algae cell:

1. Ulva (Sea Lettuce) - green alga
2. Padina - brown alga


1. Where does respiration take place in an algae cell?
2. What part of the algae cell manufactures ribosomes?
3. What does algae produce during sunlight hours?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

SEE FORUMS (Observing Your World)

Science is the process of trying to make sense of the world around us. Every culture has its own way of making sense of how the world works. Modern science follows a tradition of asking questions, forming hypothesese, testing the hypothesese through experimentation and recording observations. These observations are compared against the observations of others to see if the results are varifiable or reliable. Most of what we accept as factual in science was ascertained by this process. There are limitations to this world view and there are other ways of coming at the same information or at the very least recognizing patterns in the environment etc. without necessarily knowing why.What are your cultural ways of understanding the world? How do you do science? What conflicts have you faced or contradictions?

One of the most touching cultural practice for me as a Chamorro that began since I was a young girl is what we do for our departed loved one. Because we strongly believe that prayers are very powerful, we pray for our dead so they can be allowed into Heaven and be by our Lord's side. Our belief is that if a spirit of a loved one lingers in Purgatory, through prayers from family members and friends, that spirit makes its way into heaven. It is customary for us Chamorro's to pray the rosary for 18 straight days . The first 9 days of rosary is open to the public and the remaining 9 days are only for immediate family members. Through experience of having lost loved ones, I believe that as we gather together to pray the rosary, we not only help our beloved ones reach heaven but also help each other cope through the difficult times. This in itself explains why I am so touched by this cultural practice of ours.

Our cultural ways of understanding the world I would have to say is through "respect." Respect is strongly practiced in our culture. Respect for the land! Respect for the animals! Respect for the plants! Respect for the dead! Respect for the elders! Respect for the visitors! Respect for the people who do not believe in God! Basically, respect our entire surroundings because it is our way of life.

My way of doing science is through observations, documentations and experimentations.

One conflict that I have faced is our custom of having to provide food for everyone during the 19 days of rosary. Not only is this custom a burden for the surviving spouse, it really is not realistic.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Paupau Beach - 9/15/07

What was supposed to be a snorkeling adventure at Paupau Beach for me turned out to be an obeservation of the watershed pipes and the effects it would have on our marine environment. This is only because I forgot to bring my contact lenses. Lesson learned for me, "carry contact lenses at all times!"

It was unfortunate that I did not witness the amount of water that flows out of the huge pipes built on the shore of Paupau Beach. Although I did not see any action of water flow at the time, I could imagine just form the size of those pipes, that tons of water drains out from there and straight into our ocean. The water that has been flowing out of the pipes for many months now left a trail about 6 feet wide that leads down the beach. I followed the trail down and found branches as well as coconuts soaked and so old they had algae growing on them. Algae also grew on the rocks that were laying around on the trail.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

SEE FORUMS (Chapter 14, Page 323)

Critical Thinking - Question 1

Pictures of Atoll in the Hawaiian Islands and Atoll in the Pacific Ocean

What factors might account for the fact that the vast majority of atolls occur in the Indian and Pacific oceans and that atolls are rare in the Atlantic?

Temperature is the factor of why vast majority of atolls occur in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and are rare in the Atlantic. Reef corals require warm water. Figure 14.11 (Marine Biology sixth edition - Castro/Huber) showed that there are more warm surface currents in the Indian and Pacific ocean than in the Atlantic Ocean.

Student Notes Only:
Atoll - A coral reef that develops as a ring around a central lagoon.

SEE FORUMS (Chapter 7, Page 152)

Critical Thinking - Question 3

A new class of echinoderms, the sea daisies or concentricycloids, was discovered in 1986. They are deep-water animals living on sunken wood. They are flat and round, looking very much like a small sea star without arms. They also lack a gut. Without ever having seen them, why do you think they were classified as echinoderms, not as members of a new phylum? Any hypotheses as to how they feed or move around?

I think the sea daisies were classified as echinoderms and not as members of a new phylum simply because they look very much like a small sea star without arms. Having this similarity definitely would mean that they are related somehow.

Hypotheses: Sea daisies feed and move around using the central part of their body.

Echinoderms - Invertebrates (no back bone) with five-way radial symmetry (the regular arrangement of similar body parts around a central axis) and a water vascular system (a network of water-filled canals in echinoderms used on locomotion and food-gathering). Examples are sea cucumbers, starfishes, sea urchins, etc.

Phylum - The taxon (a group of organisms that share a common ancestry) that represents a main division of a kingdom

Hypotheses - A statement that might be true.

CITE: Picture obtained from

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Shape of Life - 09/08/07

Episode 1 – Organisms (Sponges)

1. What organism is thought to be the first multi-cellular animal? Ancient Sponge

2. How is it the same (3 ex) and diff (3 ex) from animals today?

Animals Today
- move
- feed themselves
- reproduce and care for their young
- engage in fear territorial boundaries

- mysterious (have lots of secrets)
- no definite shape
- 9,000 different species
- live both in cold and warm places
- vibrant animal
- cells are unique in the animal kingdom
- cells have a unique way of working together
- does not have a heart, nervous system or blood
- perform many responsibilities
- continuously re-invent themselves
- no other plant or animal can resurrect themselves the way sponges do

3. How do scientists know it’s an animal? Through a process - Gene Sequencing

4. What evidence do scientists have to prove that other animals (multi-cellular) evolved from this organism? Through DNA testing which proved that all animals evolved from the same blue print

5. What more do you want to know? How many different species of sponges live in our ocean, the Pacific Ocean?
Additional Information:
Way of feeding of a Sponge: they are a living filtering machine sucking water and filtering out particals. 1 ton of water = 1 ounce of food
Sex life of a Sponge: their sex life is affected through pumping. Pumping = feeding and reprodcution.
I enjoyed this movie very much because it was very detailed and understandable. Most especially learning that we evolved from a sponge, "DYNAMIC!"

Tide Chart - 08/28/07

Mount Laulau - 09/08/07


It is a beautiful thing knowing that there are people out there aside from our local people that show a great deal of love and caring for our islands. Thank you Angelo and Bree. Your dedication and devotion are vary much appreciated. I am very interested in doing volunteer work to beautify CNMI. I will be checking your blogs for scheduled dates and you will definitely see me around. I will also bring family and friends to lend a helping hand.

The hike to Mount Laulau was a bit difficult for me but very interesting. Our class was accompanied by Angelo.

Angelo explained that the local ways of clearing land is by burning the trees which is not good. He went on and explained that when the trees are burned, not only does it spread further but the fire also burns the soil. When soil is burned, it becomes very dry so when it rains or we have a typhoon, there is a runoff of burned soil from Mount Laulau into our ocean.

I learned that the disadvantage of the soil being burned is that it becomes acidic disallowing plants and trees to grow. When there are no plants and trees on the hill, the soil becomes loose allowing runoffs to happen on rainy or typhoon days. The advantage of having plant and trees planted on the hill is to hold the soil in place and avoid major runoffs. Angelo showed us areas where ferns grew on the hill and he said that ferns grow well on acidic soil but plants and trees does not.

Angelo also explained that farmers near the hill uses fertilizers and pesticides and these also gets washed down into our ocean by rain or typhoon. In addition to farmers is the golf course in which they use chemicals for the growth of their grass and although a beautiful sight to see, the chemicals are deadly for our marine animals.
Economic View:

Because Laulau is one of the best diving spots for tourists, it is important to keep Laulau beach clean so marine life will be present for many years to come. An estimate of divers per day at Laulau is 100 with a diving cost of between $75 to $100 making about $1,000 daily.

The hike was a learning and an enjoyable experience for me and I hope we will do more before our semester is over. I definitely will inform my family that they should not burn trees as a way of clearing their land.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

San Antonio Beach - 08/25/07

Our very first Lab was at San Antonio Beach where we would collect marine animals and put them in our class aquariums for extra points. I always strive for the extra points for a better grade. The snorkeling was fun but the water was nasty.

Below are pictures and information on the marine animals that were caught and also some of my observations of the San Antonio Beach.


1. Banded pepefish, Corythoichthys intestinalis, 10 cm [Family Syngnathidae - Pipefishes & Seahorses]

2. Synapta maculata (Synaptidae), 140 cm [Holothurians - Family Synaptidae, etc.]
Charmaine, Justo and myself found one just like this one but it was returned back into the ocean because someone had already collected one.

3. Diadema savignyi (Dia dematidae), 20 cm [Sea Urchins]

4. Frog shell, Bursa rubeta (Bursidae) [Murex Shells, etc.]

5. Shrimp

6. Fishes

7. Black Boxfish or Puffer (I thought this fish was really cute)

8. Black Sea Cucumber

My observation of San Antonio Beach:

- Lots of Sea Weeds

- Lots of algae

- Lots of Black Sea Cucumbers

- Many different types of small fish

- fish travel in small groups apart from each group

- parrot fish (Bullethead parrotfish, Scarus sordidus, 30 cm - Parrotfishes - Family Scaridae)

- striped fish (Striped surgeon fish, Acanthurus lineatus, 35 cm - Surgeonfishes - Family Acanthuridae)

- butterfly fish (Moorish idol Zanclus cornutus, (Zanclidae) 22 cm - Surgeonfishes - Family Acanthuridae, etc.

- Lots of small holes in the sand that the fish use to hide (home)

- Fish hides underneath rocks as well as in between (home)

- Fish are mostly present where the wreckage remain at the very bottom (home)

CITE: pictures obtained from

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Obyan Beach - 09/03/07

While snorkeling at Obyan Beach, I saw the following fish. These fish were mostly small in size and they travel in a small group. I love eating fish and while observing these fish I wondered about fishermen and how much more different species of fish they see all the time. Then I began to realize why people love diving. I never dove but hopefully one day I will learn how and at the same time become a certified diver.


1. Parrot Fish – Bleeker’s parrotfish, Scarus bleekeri, 35 cm (W. Pacific) [page 327 – Field Guide]

2. TatagaBluespine unicornfish, Naso unicornis, 40 cm [page 337 – Field Guide]

3. HangunOrangespine unicornfish, Naso lituratus, 35 cm [page 337 – Field Guide]

4. Striped Fish W/Sharp Blade Near Tail – Sohal surgeonfish, Acanthurus sohal, 30 cm (Red Sea) [page 337 – Field Guide]

5. Tiny Gray Fish W/Black Vertical Stripes – Convict surgeonfish, Acanthurus triostegus, 25 cm [page 337 – Field Guide]

6. Butterfly Fish – Moorish idol, Zanclus cornutus, (Zanclidae) 22 cm [page 339 – Field Guide]

7. Pipefish – Banded pipefish, Corythoichthys intestinalis, 10 cm [page 267 – Field Guide]

8. Gadao – Dwarf-spotted grouper, Epinephelus merra, 18 cm [page 275 – Field Guide]

9. Baby Yellow/Black Striped Fish – Gold-lined sea bream, Gnathodentex aurolineatus, 25 cm [page 288 – Field Guide]

10. I’I or E’E/TarakituThicklip trevally, Carangoides orthogrammus, 40 cm [page 283 – Field Guide]

Below is a sea cucumber that Charmaine, Marge and Justo collected at Obyan Beach. While working on my assignment on sea daisies, I stumbled into this picture and amazingly it looks exactly as disgusting as the sea cucumber that the three caught. Disgusting but very interesting!

Sea cucumber - The Sea cucumber, like the Brittle Star, belongs to a group of animals called the Echinoderms. Most are scavengers - some sift through the bottom sediments (like sand or mud); others trap their food by waving tentacles around their mouth in the water. Many types of sea cucumber will "throw up" many of their internal organs when attacked. These organs can regrow if they survive the attack.

CITE: pictures obtained from