Toucan Play That Game

A blog about life...literally

Current Event Blog Post

An assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering named Adam Smith, and his team of researchers examined samples from groundwater aquifers and a well-known groundwater treatment facility in Southern California to find differences in ARG concentrations. They discovered that the treatment facility diminished almost all targeted ARGs to below detection limits, yet the groundwater samples showed a clear presence of ARGs in control locations as well as locations recharged with water from the facility. Due to this discovery, it is apparent that antibiotics, ARGs and antibiotic-resistant pathogens are increasing in water sources from an overuse of antibiotics in society. In a normal water treatment cycle, wastewater is first treated in a wastewater treatment facility. This study demonstrates that this water maintains high ARGs, as it continues through treatment. The water is then purified using advanced physical and chemical techniques such as reverse osmosis, a process that purifies drinking water by using a partially permeable membrane. Examining differences in ARGs between different water sources is crucial in evaluating future health concerns, such as the development of superbugs. Wastewater treatment plants are not typically designed for removal of micropollutants like antibiotics so they often persist in treatment processes, leading to high densities of ARG resistant bacteria at different stages of treatment. When this water is exposed to an aquifer, it can potentially become contaminated with ARGs and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. To worsen the problem, ARGs are easily transferred through horizontal gene transfer, an even greater risk for antibiotic-resistant pathogens. For handling this increasing pressure on global water supply, Wastewater reuse serves as the most cost and energy-efficient through Adam Smith’s perspective. Although, the hazard of spreading antibiotic resistance should demonstrate which methods gain more traction as time passes. Reducing hazardous unknowns that remain in the water buffers could be a significant method of ensuring that water, containing no ARGs or other contaminants, reaches our taps.

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Written by Emily R.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Making It Past Infant Years

In recent years, mothers and fathers have been more worried than ever about the health of their newborn babies. This newly found worry comes from the increased chances of a baby, that is less than 8 weeks old, for a fever with double the risks. For the average human, a fever will make you sweat, feel dehydrated, your muscles will ache, and you will have many headaches. This sounds very bad, but in fact, the symptoms for babies are nearly twice as bad. Babies are more prone to meningitis, or other infections in the urinary track. Researchers of this highly suggest parents to visit a professional if your baby that is less than 8 weeks old has a 100.4 degrees (F) fever.

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Written by Fitz H.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

New Discoveries in Extracting DNA From Hair

For years crime tv shows have shown DNA being drawn from hair follicles and used to find criminals, however DNA can only be pulled from the hair follicle if the root is still attached. Recently though, paleogeneticist Ed Green has found a way to get the DNA sequence from a rootless hair follicle.

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Written by Jaelen M.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Plants Deriving Own Nutrients Through Root Hairs

Most plants flourish based on the conditions of the environment around them and the soil’s richness that helps provide them with many nutrients and materials needed to survive through harsh conditions. A new, recent discovery of a shrub growing in the Rocky Mountains of Brazil is a perfect example of how plants are able to adapt to their surroundings based on what nutrients they need to attain. In many areas of Brazil, there are dry patches all over the landscaping, and these rocky and dehydrated areas contain many plants that outstretch their roots and attach them to the inside of rocks in order to obtain nutrients like phosphorus. But how does this occur exactly?

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Written by Emily Y.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Mother Knows Best … For Frogs That Is

The Strawberry Poison Dart Frog is found in the region of Panama called Bocas Del Toro. Due to the formation of islands on the archipelago from a rise in water level over millions of years, Strawberry Poison Dart Frogs have been isolated on separate islands in the archipelago. The color of the frogs vary from island to island but are common in orange, red, green and blue. The color of these frogs was previously thought to let predators know it was poisonous with their bright colors. Now, scientists are wondering if the coloring of the frogs has any other function for the frogs.

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Written by David W.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

New Technology Helps Test for Malnutrition in Children

Testing for life-threatening nutrient deficiencies should be available for anyone who needs it and can help others. Many aid workers in remote villages need to prick a toddler’s fingertip because they are sick. When the child is sick, the blood sample turns yellow on the test strip. If an experimental malnutrition test was made with bacterial innards, it could work one day to expose widespread zinc deficiencies blamed for roughly half a million deaths annually. The innards include plasmids, which are loops of DNA. These are not the same DNA strands that are behind reproduction and cell construction.

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Written by Sofia Z.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

The Dangers of Dehydration

Water is essential to all life on earth. The human body is composed of up to 70 percent water, and it is necessary for many bodily functions to occur. Water helps to maintain cellular architecture, regulates body temperature, and aids in the efficacy of many processes within the human body. So, what happens when the human body suffers a deficit of this vital substance?

Dehydration occurs when cells lose more water than they gain. When the human body does not contain an adequate amount of water, cells begin to shrink due to an imbalance of osmotic pressure between the fluids within the cells and extracellular fluids. Water flows out of the cells into the extracellular fluid, leaving the cells dehydrated. Additional electrolytes and salts may be needed in addition to water, depending on the amount of nutrients contained within the lost fluids. Dehydration can come as a result of physical activity, illness, or simply not consuming sufficient water through drinking or eating. The effects of dehydration can be minor or severe. Thirst is one of the first noticeable signs of dehydration, and loss of bodily functions or death can result from severe dehydration.

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Written by Halle B.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

The True Adaptive Powers of Our Brain

Everyone knows how important the brain is and we have all been taught about keeping it healthy and how to look out for it but we often miss looking the other way around and seeing just how much our brain does for us. Our brains control our bodily functions, thoughts, memories and so much more but what happens if we lose any of those abilities?

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Written by Matt G.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Unit 3 Review Videos

Here’s a set of videos that will help you learn about cell energy, cellular respiration, and photosynthesis, the major topics of Unit 3. We watched the first video in class.

Here’s one other video, just for fun.

They Might Be Giants – Photosynthesis from They Might Be Giants on Vimeo.

Check out Mr. Andersen’s “bozemanbiology” channel on YouTube for more.


Written by Mr. Mohn| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Three Important Terms From Chapter 7

Three terms that were very important in chapter seven were selective permeability, lipid bilayer, and types of transport. These all show how the cell membrane works to protect the inner part of the cell.

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Written by Olivia J.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

Viruses Are … Helpful?

When we think of viruses, most people are reminded of deadly pathological diseases from Law and Order or Grey’s Anatomy. Proven by a recent study from the Collaborative Research Center, however, is quite the opposite. The animals researched, different species of animal sponges, are very unique creatures. Sponges have a very rare and special viral sequence that allows it filter viruses out of thousands of liters of seawater to obtain its’ food. For reference, one milliliter of water contains on average, 10 million viruses. Some of the sponges’ bacteriophages, viruses that normally attack bacteria, are actually able to moderate the symbiosis of the sponge and bacteria, protecting the bacteria from being digested.

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Written by Raghav R.| Tagged | Leave a Comment

The Wheel Bug – An Ally of Plants

Insects are one of the most extraordinary creatures to exist on this plant. With over 900,000 species, this world hosts insects that are both beneficial or harmful to human productivity. For instance, bees benefit humans by plant pollination for crops that are grown to convert into food. At the same time however, locusts may be a pest for crops as they consume crops collectively in a swarm. An average person would not think much of an insect, but when it comes down to their benefits or threat to an ecosystem, the factors are fascinating. It has been excessively interesting to the point where even some of the wildest insects in this existence can be of good use in the eyes of gardeners or botanists.

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Written by Momin R.| Tagged | Leave a Comment