Lectures and more lectures

Every once and a while I am overwhelmed by the advanced nature of the thoughts that the boys have.  Partly because they have always been in a Montessori environment and now a home-based Montessori environment and partly because I was an only child and have a poor understanding of what knowledge is “age appropriate” and what is not, I don’t realize how amazingly intelligent, articulate, and mature the boys are.

Anywho, just had to say that.

Off we went to the College of Charleston for their weekly Biology Seminar. The last one we attended was on Blood Sucking Flies. Not only did we get to see Dr. Wiseman but we got to be thoroughly informed on the history and questions surrounding food webs.

UNC-Wilimgton faculty member, Dr. Long, spoke on the sufficiently vague title of  the Relationships between biodiversity, trophic complexity, and food web stability. He showed the traditional models of food webs do not take into account things like cannibalism or parasites.  Where do you put parasites? They are more closely related to the top predators in the variety of what they feed on, but often they are smaller than the base organisms.  Incidentally, they can account for huge amounts of biomass in ecosystems.

He went on to discuss his own questions regarding omnivore roles in ecosystems and frankly,  I became rather confused by the mathematical formulas and what the various initials meant.  The bottom line for me fell into two questions: 1. since the predator prey population relationship in aquatic systems is vastly different than in terrestrial systems, how was that worked into the model; and 2. 38 day cycle does not allow for reproduction and natural life-death patterns, how accurate can these results be?

Since we are beginning discussions on the various levels of Fundamental Needs of Man, any form of interdependency and webbing is helpful.

 

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Filed under AV, Biology, BR, DW, Going outs (Field Trips), JV, Montessori, Science

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