Molluscs ​, Echinoderms, Invertebrate Chordates

What are the major Characteristics of Molluscs?

Anatomy of a Sea Slug

Image result for Chiton look like?
Image source:
This image depicts what the overall anatomy of the Chiton (sea slug) appear like.
It also has two overlapping layers for protection.

Observing Nudibranchs

Image result for Observing Nudibranchs
Image :

What is seen in this picture ?

The Nudibranchs is a multiple colored sea slug out of its shell. After their larval stage, these slugs shed their shells. This species Nembrotha cristata is found primarily in Indonesia. The colors on the sea slugs vary depending on abiotic factors in their given niche that allow them to be most productive.

Triopha catalinae 1.jpg
Image : Wiki

Another Nudibranch species is shown to the right and is identified as Triopha catalinae.

The Triopha catalinae is commonly referred to as the Sea Clown Tripoha. This species is found in Northern California coastline.

Both Nudibranchs are from the same species but as shown vary quite a bit from being in different environments. Their skin is altered in order to be better adapted to each respected niche.

Observing Bivalve shells …..

Image result for bivalve shells
Image : Wiki

This image depicts the labeled sections of a bivalve shell from the top view.

What does Bivalve mean ?

An aquatic mollusk that has a compressed body enclosed within a hinged shell, such as oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops.

Image : Taken by myself

What substance are all of the Mollusc shells made of?

Mollusk shells are made of a chalky material called calcium carbonate. The shell has three layers for extra strength: a tough outer layer, a chalky middle layer, and a shiny inner layer, next to the animal’s skin.

Anatomy of a Clam

Image result for internal anatomy of a clam
Image: Wiki

Label the function of the “mantle”, “adductor muscle”, and “foot”.

Mantle : The mantle’s fuction in mollusks that have shells, such as clams, mussels, and snails, the mantle is what secretes calcium carbonate and a matrix to form the mollusk’s shell.

Adductor Muscle:  Scallops and clams canswim by opening and closing their valves rapidly by alternatingly contracting and relaxing their adductor muscles; water is ejected on either side of the hinge area and they move with the flapping valves in front.

Foot: The foot in a clam is the mechanism the organism uses to burrow itself into the sand to hide from predators .

Observing the preserved Squid, Octopus, and cuttlefish.

Image From myself
Depicted is a gulf squid in preservatives
Image from myself
Depicted a octopus in presevatives
File:Cuttlefish komodo large.jpg
Image from : Wiki
Image depicting a cuttlefish in the wild.

The head is located a the top of the tentacles that are protruding from the rest of the body this houses the mouth and brain of the cuttlefish. The eyes are located mid level on the head they are a yellow tone with a black slit in between the layers. Finally, the arms/tentacles are again protruding from the head of the cuttlefish.

How are Squids, Octopus and cuttlefish still related to Bivalve’s ?

The cephalopods appear to be very different from other mollusks, but physiologically they are similar. Cephalopods, like most mollusks, have a mantle, a mantle cavity, a radula, and a U-shaped digestive tract. Cephalopods have two kidneys and three hearts, which pump blue blood. They are carnivores that feed on fish, shrimp, crabs and other cephalopods.

The most obvious difference between most cephalopods and other mollusks is the apparent lack of a shell. Octopuses do not have shells at all, while squids have a small internal shell. (Nautiluses, which are found in the South Pacific and Indian oceans, are the only cephalopods with an external shell. They are also the only cephalopods with four gills instead of two.)

Name the major characteristics of Echinoderms

Echinoderms in Latin is “spiny skinned” organisms. These include but are not limited to as Sea stars, Brittle stars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers, Feather stars.

The characteristics of a Echinoderms :

Radical Symmetry

Several arms

Body consisted of 5 equal segments

They have no heart, brain, nor eyes

Mouth is located on the underside and the anus on top.

Image : Taken by myself
This depicts a dried sea star from an aerial view.
Image : Taken by myself
This image shows the mouth of a sea star located in the center of the body on the underneath side.

Name the phylum ?

What is the function of the tube feet?

Tube feet function in locomotion, feeding, and respiration. The tube feet in a starfish are arranged in grooves along the arms. They operate through hydraulic pressure. They are used to pass food to the oral mouth at the center, and can attach to surfaces.

<Observing the live Sea Urchin, and the Urchin and sand dollar skeletons >

Image : Taken by myself and depicts a sea urchin under a micro scope showing its mouth.
Image : Taken by myself
Depicts a live sea urchin in a glass vial.
Image: Taken by myself .
Depicts a whole body of a skeleton of a Sea Urchin
Image : Taken by myself and depicts a Sea Dollar skeleton

What Composes all these Skeletons of these organisms ?

The skeletons are made up of a water vascular system. Their spherical shape is typically small, ranging from about 3 cm to 10 cm in diameter, and their bodies are covered with a spiny shell. The skeleton of a sea urchin is also known as the test.

Image : Taken by myself
Depicts a Sea cucumber in preservatives.

How is a sea cucumber similar to and different from a sea star?

They are similar in structure and movement is limited. They are different in a few ways as the sea cucumber eject a toxin if they are threatened which the sea star lacks.

How does a Sea Cucumber feed?

Sea Cucumbers are scavengers that feed on small food items in the benthic zone (seafloor), as well as plankton floating in the water column. Algae, aquatic invertebrates, and waste particles make up their diet. They eat with tube feet that surround their mouths.

What are the four basic structures that are diagnostic or characteristic of the Phylum Chordata?

A notochord,

A dorsal hollow nerve cord,

Pharyngeal slits

A post-anal tail.

Arthropod of​​ Interest Post

Black legged Ticks

Wiki Images

Blacklegged Ticks also are carries of many diseases and can carry them in mulitple stages of their life.

Both nymph and adult stages transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis.

Lifetime activity :

Nymphs :

Nymphs are active May-August, and are most commonly found in moist leaf litter in wooded areas, or at the edge of wooded areas. The eight-legged, pin-head sized nymph typically attaches to smaller mammals such as mice, voles, and chipmunks, requiring 3-4 days to fully engorge. Nymphs also readily attach to and blood feed on humans, cats and dogs. Once fed, they drop off into rodent burrows or leaf litter in animal bedding areas where they molt and emerge as adults in the fall.

Adults :
Adult males and females are active October-May, as long as the daytime temperature remains above freezing. Preferring larger hosts, such as deer, adult black-legged ticks can be found questing about knee-high on the tips of branches of low growing shrubs. Adult females readily attack humans and pets. Once females fully engorge on their blood meal, they drop off the host into the leaf litter, where they can over-winter. Engorged females lay a single egg mass (up to 1500-2000 eggs) in mid to late May and then die. Larvae emerge from eggs later in the summer. Unfed female Blacklegged ticks are easily distinguished from other ticks by the orange-red body surrounding the black scutum. Males do not feed.

Behavior of Ticks :

The deer tick will quest when it actively seeks out a host. Deer ticks cannot fly or jump, but they can climb. Research has found that blacklegged ticks in the southern parts of the U.S. will quest differently than black-legged ticks in the northern states. Deer ticks in northern states will climb up blades of grass or other vegetation and stretch out its legs hoping to grab on to a host that is passing by. Deer ticks in southern states will spend more time under leaf-litter to avoid hot temperatures instead of climbing up plants. This reduces their exposure to humans and will instead find a small mammal or reptile as a host. Larval deer ticks can climb a few inches from the ground, nymph deer tick will climb up to one foot, and adult deer ticks can climb up to 2 feet off the ground

Distribution of Black-legged Ticks

Image sourced to :

Annelids and Arthropods Lab

Annelids and Arthropods

What is an Annelid?

An Annelid is defined as a segmented worm in the Annalida phylum.

The Annalida phylum defining characteristics

  1. Symmetry and Size
  2. Coelom
  3. Body Wall
  4. Parapodia
  5. Nervous system
  6. Sense Organs
  7. Circulation and respiratory structures
  8. Segmental organs

Neris worm

Nexis worms in perservative
Nereis worm head
Image produced by myself

What is the primary way of feeding for these segmented worms?

They primarily feed on decomposed plants materials and this applies all of the species of segmented worms except leeches (freshwater segmented worm) that feed on blood.

Where are Neres Worms Typically found?

The Neres Worm or rag worm are common North American species is Nereis limnicolafound on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. N. virens, which may be as long as 80 cm (31.5 inches), occurs on both sides of the North Atlantic.

Nereis parapodia

Image from Wikipedia

Differences between Errant and Sedentary polychaetes

Errant Polychaetes
Image from Wiki
Sedentary Polychaetes
Image from Wiki


  1. Body Segments – A large number

2. Anterior appendages –

Few in number and differentiated into palps, antennae, tentacular cirri, etc

3. Life Habit – Free living and generally rapacious

4. Feeding: (breast mode) all have jaws; scavengers or predators (on plants and animals)

Learn more from the source :


  1. Body Segments – A limited number ; May be separated into different segments

2. Anterior appendages

May be absent or a few to many similar appendages

3. Life habit – Tubicolous or burrowing

4. Feeding: (animalistic) usually  filter- or deposit-feeders (i.e. consume sediment)


Main Characteristics of Arthropods

All arthropods share a common set of characteristics that include having jointed limbs, an exoskeleton, good senses, and bilateral body symmetry. An exoskeleton is a hard, shell-like covering that protects an arthropod’s inside body parts.


Crayfish 4 alternating size images from myself an example of an arthropod
2 Crayfish in presevatives an example of two large crayfish classified as an arthropod

Observing other Arthropods


This is an image of another crab .
Both images were captured by myself.
Image 1 and 2 were taken by myself and are hermit crabs
The hermit crab species is a Caribbean hermit crab and is indigoes to the Caribbean

Horse Shoe Crab

Dried up raisin looking Horseshoe Crab
Horseshoe in preserves in a container

What does the animal use for respiration?

Book gills are used for both swimming and breathing. They are covered in a membrane that allows oxygen to enter but repels water. … The operculum covers and protects the other five pairs of gills. 

A horseshoe crab is not a crab- how does it differ from the “real” crabs?

Horseshoe crabs are “living fossils” more closely related to spiders and scorpions than they are to crabs.

What are the barnacle shells ?

How does this animal feed?

Barnacles feed through feather-like appendages called cirri. As the cirri rapidly extend and retract through the opening at the top of the barnacle, they comb the water for microscopic organisms. … Four more plates form a “door” that the barnacle can open or close, depending on the tide.

Locate and watch a video of barnacles feeding on youtube……

Academic Excellence Conference

What is AEC?

The annual AEC showcases the research, scholarship, and creative work completed by KSC graduate and undergraduate students. It gives students an opportunity to present their best academic work to a broad audience of their peers, faculty, and the public.

Why was I taking part in this event?

This semester I have been working in Dr. Susan Whitimore’s lab working with evaluating the effect of Short Term Exposure of Diesel particles on developing Larval Frogs. This data is then used to model the development of a possible fetus in the womb as these particles are in the bloodstream permanently once the body has intaken them.

This is the poster we displayed at the AEC conference used to discuss what our recent study has found.

What was presented?

The main purpose of the AEC conference held at Keene State College is to take your research and be able to explain it to the general public and funders of this research. This was done by using the medium of a poster and having 1 on 1 discussions with panel members on the topic that you did research on.

This is a photo on myself pictured on the left. Casey Koziara in the center. Audrey Kaiser on the right. This is a image of our project at AEC during the presentation.

Salamander Crossing Brigade (In Action)


Last night was a big night for Salamanders Crossing Brigade Monday, April 15th, 2019. It was raining hard and was about 55 degrees out which prompted the conditions for migration BIG NIGHT

The local site was located at the back of robin hood park in Keene NH. On the corner of the Water street and Jordan road near a large light post.

This is what we recorded :

Conditions :

Site : Jordan Road

Start time 12:34am – End time : 1:23am

Road conditions/Traffic : wet road, two cars drove by in total.

Predicted for this site :

This site is known to be home to a large population of Jefferson Salamanders and typically does not see any other populations.

Recovered :

Spotted Salamander : 5 alive, 1 dead 6 total

2 – Linded Salamanders: 3 alive

Spring Peeper : 2 alive, 2 dead

Field documentation :

This is a video of myself handling a Yellow spotted salamander.
Another photo of another yellow spotted salamander
This image is myself handling a 2 lined Salamander. *Since they are so small I had to use a leaf in order to pick up the Salamander. *
This image is of a small lined salamander on the pavement making its way across the road.

Take away from going out to a site at midnight on a monday:

Although, it may seem silly to go out of your way at midnight to help animals cross the road but it is not. These animals are a significant piece of the food web in our local forests and currently, up to 80% of these Salamanders populations die making this trip across the road. Just think about that 80% of the population is killed just due to human traffic on these roads during their “big night”. So, my takeaway from this experience is that going out and seeing these animals, holding them, and helping them survive another day is worth the trip out of bed. I never knew these beautiful species lived so close for all this time, this activity certainly opens ones eyes to making a chance you want to see in the world!! More updates to come as the rainy days continue to come.

Salamander Crossing Brigade

Organization : Harris Center for conservation education

Background information :

The Harris Center for Conservation Education, a member-supported non-profit organization, is dedicated to promoting understanding and respecting our natural environment.

Getting Salamander Crossing Brigade Training:

In order to get to saving these Salamanders, one must complete the suggested training that is offered by the Harris center in many places throughout the community. These training sessions are supposed to bring attention to safety measures of how to handle the animals, as well as the safety in the volunteers and how to be safe while saving these precious animals.

During the Presentation, you are shown how to submit information to the “BIG NIGHT DIRECTORS”. This citizen science data is used in order to graph certain locations and map populations of certain species.
This was another example of the presentation were the background of the lives of each species was discussed in order to integrate the learners into these animals lives.

After the presentation, one big take away is that the Salamanders migration is spread throughout the month of April and May. Their migrations start when the weather warms to near 55-70 degrees and when its a rainy night. These ideal conditions are called the BIG NIGHT in which many sites of the migrations of these animals have heavy traffic. It is during these nights you are most likely to see the species that are listed and can help them reach safety. However, there is quite a lot of variability to when these conditions are right which is why you need to be watching out for emails from the Harris Center in order to establish when to get outside and safe lives.

Recommendations for a minute man style pack for the big night:


Bright reflective jackets

Scrappers for dead salamanders

Pen, paper, and writing log in order to track activity

Gloves (if you find needed) (FAQ about handing Salamanders is that this does not harm the animals )

A car and updated information on where to park to avoid running over the animals you are trying to save!!

Phylum Porifera ​and Phylum Cnidaria

Phylum Porifera

Attached is a photo was taken of Commerical Sponge Fibers that would clean your dishes with!

Magnification: 10 x .25 magnification

The function of sponge fibers is to help transport nutrients. In addition, they are part of the sponge’s exoskeleton and maintain the structure of the organism.

Types of sponges :

Rope Sponge :

Location of picture: Turks and Caicos
Common name: Scattered Pore Rope Sponge
Scientific name: Aplysina fulva

Tube Sponge :

Location of picture : Turks and Caicos
Common name : Yellow Tube Sponge
Scientific name :Aplysina fistularis

Barrel Sponge:

Location of picture : Turks and Caicos
Common name: Netted Barrel Sponge
Scientific name: Verongula gigantea

Similarities among the listed sponges :

The first major difference that can be seen among all three of the sponges is that each has a certain type of structure. These specialized structures allow each species to filter feed at the rate that best fits each organism. The three types of sponge structures are asconoid, syconoid, and leuconoid. The similarites would be these sponges though may vary in struture feed the same way all of these organisms filter feed by letting water in via pores tehn sucking the nutriets out and expelling the excess water out of the tubes.

Why are sponges brightly colored?

Simply based on the diet of what is being sucked out of the water these sponges show the bright colors as the by-product of the cyanobacteria, bacteria, and plankton they consume.

Phylum Cnidaria

Attached is a photo of an Obelia or a Hydrozoan. These are microorganisms that latch onto solid surfaces in marine ecosystems to feed, reproduce, and survive. They have no brain but posses a nerve system, digestive system, and defense mechanisms.

Specimen : Obelia
Magnification : 10 x .25

The two attached images of Hydra that are “budding” which is a term used to describe the process of how these animals reproduce.

Magnification : 10 x .25
Here we have this specimen of hydra showing stage 5 as this appears to be a new daughter that just was produced from a parent hydra.
Magnification 10 x .25
Here we will see a step 1-3 possibility of a parent hydra budding an offspring

Stages of “hydra budding”

Source of image :

1. Non-reproducing
2. Creating a bud
3. Daughter growing out
4. Beginning to cleave
5. Daughter broken off
6. Daughter clone of the parent

Follow up questions:

Cnidarians come in Polyp and/or Medusa forms what’s the difference ? :

Polyp as adults are sessile and do not move at all ex. sea anemone. In addition, they tend to be in colines sharing one parental stock. Whereas Medusa’s are mobile as adults ex. Jellyfish. These organisms tend to self established and do not share a common parent such as polyps. But some organisms in the phylum shared both these cycles during their lives ex. Portuguese man of war. These organisms share both characteristics of having polys but also colonized to be not sessile and use one another in every move.

How is Obelia different from Hydra?

Hydra Obelia

Hydra are freshwater coelenterates. Structurally like are elongated and have stalk like tubes.

In addition, Hydras are only found in freshwater environments.

Tend to be isolated but exist also in colonies.

Sessile organisms.

Obelia are sedentary organisms. They are also colonial coelenterates that are upright branching stems.

This organism lives in both freshwater and salt water environments

Exists in colonies in the wild.

Both sessile and mobile.

Structurally they posses branching stems and have minute cups that hold polyps.

What does colonial mean to a hydrozoan?

I mean that multiple organisms work together symbiotically in order to establish in a way one organism that is controlled by every single respected organism.

The Life cycle of the Obelia

Specimen : Hydromedusae (Comb Jelly)
Magnification : 10 x.25

This comb jelly is in adulthood it is translucent in appearance and small rounded in shape.

Life Cycle of an Obelia and reproduction took through step by step with each transition labeled. Check out this fellow bloggers post to get the full run down and the source of this image here.

Portuguese man of war

Source : picture of Jelly fish

How is this organism not just one but many organisms that come together to form one thing?

The polyps that form this organism work together in order to survive. They do this by coming together just as a school of fish comes together to decrease predation. As one the polyps would have a decreased fitness but together as one floating among other Portuguese Man of War they are a presence to not be ignored. Although the polyps have no way of moving independently together they form gas sacks on the Jellyfish and are able to navigate the seas via currents, winds and using their inflation of the gas pack.

Cnidarian types

Jelly fish

Image : Taken at the Boston aquarium by myself.
Specimen : Lions mane Jelly

These jellies are found along the coasts of the US. In colder waters is their typical preference environment. They can grow to have a top dome of 6 ft and have 100 feet long tentacles.

Sea Anemone

Image : Source from myself
Specimen : Sea Anemone

The Sea Anemone is classified as a Cnidaria and are sessile in nature. They do not go through a medusa phase and are a great example of these types of individuals. The orange extended tubes are polyps that collect food for the organism.


Image Source : Source
Specimen : Hydroid

Some Hydroids are isolated individuals as shown in the image. These are organisms in the youth stage that will eventually grow and detach from the substrate becoming an adult branching off later.

The similarities/differences of all the organisms listed above


Lengthy appendages

Bright color appearance

All exist within the same phylum and eat the same way.


Movement some are locked down and some are able to be mobile.

Stage of life

Hard Corals

Specimen : Bleached/ dead coral
Image: Taken by myself

What makes up these Corals?

CaCO3 (Calcium Carbonate) are what make up almost all corals. The preparations that you seem on the coral what appears to be holes are remains of what used to be polyps. Once the corals started to die these polyps release themselves and are free while their host (this coral) dies.

Different types of Coral

There are over 2,500 different species of coral that live on our planet!


Specimen : Annella mollis
Image : Taken by myself

Soft Corals

Specimen: Mushroom Leather Coral ( Sarcophyton spp)
Image : Courtesy of Reef Guide

Black Coral

Specimen: Hawaiian Black Coral (Antipathes griggi)
Image: Courtesy of Reef Guide

Stony Corals

Specimen: Common Mushroom Coral (Fungia fungites)
Image: Courtesy of Reef Guide

Similarities of the coral types

All contain polyps that can be seen on the branching surfaces of these corals. All show bright vivid colors from the feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton. Compared to the dead specimen in the first image, one can see how important the polyps are to these organisms.

Zooxanthellae and the mutualistic relationship they share with coral.

What is a Zooxanthellae?

Defined by the dictionary a Zooxanthellae are a: “yellowish-brown symbiotic dinoflagellate present in large numbers in the cytoplasm of many marine invertebrates.

What benefits do these Zooxanthellae have for corals?

These Zooxanthellae exist in the tissue of corals and provide a mutualistic relationship with them. This relationship is conveyed by the coral giving the Zooxanthellae a place to stay keeping them safe from predators. They also provide the nutrients for them to photosynthesize as well. The Zooxanthellae then provide back to the coral’s oxygen as a by-product of there processes, amino acids, and glycerol which are all essential for corals to carry out building calcium carbonate which is the struture of the corla.

Caribbean Reef Shark

Scientific Name: Carcharhinus Perezi

Order : Carcharhiniformes

Family: Carcharhinidae

Genus : Carcharhinidae

Species : Perezi

Source :

Below is a Distribution of Caribbean Reef Sharks in the world :

The most abundant area of distribution would be located exclusively in the South-Western Atlantic ocean. Distributed from the coast of Georgia to the southern coast of Brazil these sharks can be found.

Size, Shape, and Overall body form of Caribbean Reef Shark :

Size: 6ft – 10ft Adult Size Shark / The recorded size for this species : Around 9.6 ft

Color: Silvery Grey and Greyish brown with a white underside.

Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi). Illustration courtesy FAO, Species Identification and Biodata

Shape :

1. Snout is rounded defined by the short features

2. Pectoral fins are long in length and skinny in appearance

3. The dorsal fins are used to navigate and are short as well

Conservation status:

The Conservation of this species is monitored by International Union for Conservation of Nature. This organization rates the level of which a species is threatened in the wild.

The Caribbean Reef Shark status can be found here

Reasons to being a threatened species in todays ocean :

Depicted above is an image of fisherman using mile-long nets in order to maximize their catch. However, using these nets captures many other fish in the process. In turn, not targeted species are also falling victim to these practices such as sharks, dolphins, turtles and many more.

Learn more about overfishing here: Over Fishing 101

Habitat and Behavior :

These sharks prefer to swim about the reef near the bottom hunting small boney fish in isolation. The Caribbean Reef Shark has evolutionarily evolved to hunt at the bottom depths having an extrasensory gland that allows these sharks to hear extra low frequency sounds making hunting for panicking fish easier. Also in Brazil, these sharks are documented hiding in small caves to hide to hunt prey and to rest. This is one of the only species of sharks that lies motionless to sleep versus counterpart species such as great white sharks that swim while sleeping.

Human interactions:

Caribean Reef Sharks are not deadly to humans typically but will be if they feel threatened or are provoked. If you are more curious about the number of attacks each type of shark species has on humans and if they were deadly check out this link: Shark attack records

Tropical Role of Caribbean Reef Sharks :

Self sustaining eco system :

Like many sharks, the Caribbean Reef Shark is an apex predator. They fear nothing and eat a healthy diet of cephalopods and small boney fish. They also have a mutualistic relationship with smaller fish that almost piggyback on the shark. They swim close to the bottom jaw and assist the sharks in sometimes finding prey and getting the scraps of the kill. In addition surgeonfish, goby, and other cleaner fish will pick off algae or any type of parasites growing on the sharks when the sharks rest near sites containing these species.

Want to see these Sharks in the wild check out this video on youtube of Caribbean Reef Sharks in the wild : Nature Habitat of Reef Sharks

(February 19th Notes)

Coral Reef Fish: Form, Function,Ecology, and Evolution

How much of planet is freshwater?

Less than 2% of the water

How many fish species live in the ocean ?

Around 20,000 salt water fish species

Sharks and Rays

  • Have adaptive immune system

Basic fish anatomy in identifying the fins

Lateral lines – Used to to detect vibrations

  • Banding patterns
    • Strips on fish

Bar (vertical lines)

Stripe ( Horizontal line)

Band (Diagonal lines)

Specialized cells for color and iridescence

  • Chromatophores  
    • Cells that contain pigments
    • Stimulated by nerve impulses and or hormones
    • Higher density of cells
      • More brilliant color
  • Iridophores
    • Cells with crystals that reflect light
    • Act like mirrors (Silvery fishes)
    • Can display different shades of green, blue, pink, and iridescence
  • Hogfish
    • Rass family (dorsal spine)
      • Change color using its cyclic AMP in the skin
  • Camouflage for predators and prey
    • Some fish use Camo as a foraging strategy : sit and wait to eat (ambush predator)
    • Some fish use camo to blend into their surroundings to keep from being eaten.   
  • Colors or patterns can indicate social and sexual status
    • Male (terminal phase)
    • Female (Initial phase)
    • Sequential hermaphrodites
      • (protogynous fish and
  • Courtship, Mating, Egg Guarding
    • Some female fish may be attracted to male fish
  • Getting noticed when you’re drab
    • Making a visual queue to attach fish to mate with.
      • (Just like a bowerbird)
  • ANother use of color is countershading
    • Dark on top and light on bottom to conceal yourself
      • For predators or to sneak on prey
        • Dark on top (dorsal)
        • Light on bottom ( Ventral )
      • Light Ventral surface of a counter blends in with the lighter surface when viewed from below, camouflaging the shark from predators.
  • Other functions of color and patterning
    • Concealed eye
    • Exaggerate size
    • Advertise Toxicity

Phytoplankton and Zooplankton lab

  1. Record the name of the specimen/culture/slide you are observing.

Specimen #1

Specimen: Volvox W.M. (Globe Algae) ZooPlankton
Magnification: 10 x 0.25


Circular in appearance with a light purple pink cell containing darker purple dots.

Specimen #2

Specimen: Spirogyra (Phytoplankton)
Magnification : 4 x 0.10

Observations: Filamentous freshwater green algae containing spiral bands that appear to be chloroplasts.

Specimen #3

Specimen: Ulothrix (Phytoplankton)
Magnification: 10 x 0.25

Observations: Algae typically found in fresh and marine water. Cells are broad and long at about the same rate. Live in cold temperatures.

Specimen #4

Specimen: Stentor ( ZooPlankton) Live Culture
Magnification: 10 x .025

Observations: Quite a lively video footage of the zooplankton in action. Is seen making a move toward his food in the dish using flagella like back to project itself forward. Its body contorts to slim and elongated, to short and fat body.

Specimen #5

Specimen: Vaucheria Geminata (Phytoplankton)
Magnification 4 x 0.10

Observations: Multinucleate tubular branches that lack cross walls. Reproduce asexually and sexually.

2. Define Plankton in General what is it?

A Plankton is one of the smallest microorganisms found in the ocean drifting and riding out the currents of the sea. Consisting of diatoms, protozoans, small crustaceans, and the eggs and larval stages of larger animals. Many species in the ocean and freshwater environments rely on these organisms as their diet especially filter feeders.

3. What important role does Phytoplankton play in marine or other aquatic ecosystems?

Phytoplankton are plants in the ocean or freshwater that accounts for up to half of global primary production from photosynthesizing. They provide the primary food source for the zooplankton which forms the first level of the oceans or other aquatic food chains.

4. What important role does zooplankton play in marine or aquatic ecosystems?

Zooplankton plays a major role in the export of carbon in the ocean. They are animals that consist of small immature species and tend to be bad swimmers that float in the currents.