• Question: What creatures do you work with? Bugs, slimy bugs, scorpions or all creatures?

    Asked by rwingfi to Cassie, Greg, Karen, Sofia, Tommy on 11 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Thomas Doherty-Bone

      Thomas Doherty-Bone answered on 11 Nov 2013:

      Because I work on whole food webs and ecosystems, it is basically everything. As most things living in ecosystems are invertebrates, I work on these most of all.

      In lakes, rivers, streams, I come into contact with fishes, newts, frogs (incl. tadpoles), dragonfly larvae (with really cool mouthparts), leeches, Mayfly larvae, aquatic snails, pea mussels, river limpets, aquatic maggots, caddisfly larvae (really cool maggot that makes a little house for itself and has long front legs to swim about), crayfish (freshwater lobsters).

      I mostly work with the latter, the crayfish. I also work with an exotic crab, the Chinese Mitten Crab, which moves into rivers after hitching a ride on ships. I work on these as they are apparently having an impact on the new emvironment they are colonising.

    • Photo: Karen Bacon

      Karen Bacon answered on 11 Nov 2013:

      I don’t work with any creatures at all. I’m a botanist, so that means that I work with plants, which are at least as cool as animals! So here are some cool plant facts for you:

      Plants first came onto the land over 400 million years ago – through photosynthesis they lowered the levels of carbon dioxide and raised the level of oxygen in the atmosphere which made it possible for animals to come onto the land – if there were no plants on land there would be no ecosystems on land and no land animals! (Including us).

      Some plants eat animals – people often think of the Venus flytrap which is native to North Carolina in America, but a plant called a sundew that can be found in British bogs also eats small insects. It’s a bright red and orange colour and is very pretty.

      The tallest plants are coast redwoods, found on the western USA, and they can grow to 115 meters! That’s the same height as slightly over 26 routemaster London buses piled one on top of the other.

      Some plants, including a huge bristlecone pine tree in America are over 4,500 years old.

      A redwood tree in California called “General Sherman” is the largest known tree with the following measurements – Height = 83.8m; Diameter = 11.1m
      Volume = 1,487 m3; Weight = 6100 tons; Age = 2500 years

    • Photo: Sofia Franco

      Sofia Franco answered on 12 Nov 2013:

      It depends on the project you are doing 🙂 now I am working with barnacles, stalked barnacles called Pollicipes pollicipes! They are curstaceans that live attached to rocks where the ocean waves beat in all their strenght (they don’t like quiet places!)…Try to Google them out “Pollicipes pollicipes” and let me know what you think! Aren’t they awesome or what?

    • Photo: Cassandra Raby

      Cassandra Raby answered on 12 Nov 2013:

      As an ecologist I try to look at everything involved with the disease that baboons get. The parasites I research release their eggs into the baboons poo and then this is how the disease gets passed from one animal to another – because the poo is eaten by them! Some of the parasites need to live inside insects in order to grow more. The insect that they live inside are Dung beetles and Crickets!
      The baboons eat these… so when the parasite has finished growing it will then be put back into another baboon!

      So to find out more about how this works I study the insects. I put little traps to find out how many there are, and I see how many diseases the insects are carrying! So I’ll get to see a lot of beetles, scorpions, spiders and solifuges…!