Colorful Chemistry

We run weekly water quality tests on all of our fish, alligator and turtle tanks in the Animal Department. We monitor the waters’ pH and the levels of Ammonia and Nitrates. This is important because aquatic animals are often very sensitive to chemical changes in the water they live in and drink; more so than their terrestrial relatives.   10 tanks plus 1 “control” tank (filtered water, to make sure the tests are working properly)   The end result: 33Read more

BWOM: Biogeochemical cycle

The Big Word of the Month is biogeochemical. You can probably figure out the meaning if you break down the root words. Scientists use the term to refer to the processes by which chemicals like nutrients move through biological (bio) and non-biological (geology and chemical) parts of the Earth’s ecosystem. One of the most important biogeochemical cycles is the Nitrogen cycle. Nitrogen is critical for animal and plant life because it is a constituent of proteins and nucleic acids (likeRead more

Trip to the National Zoological Park

On Friday I spent much of my day at the National Zoological Park in Washington, DC which is part of the Smithsonian Museum Complex. I spent most of time getting glimpses of some of the areas where the Animal Keepers work. I started my morning in the Reptile Discovery Center where I learned some helpful hints on exhibit design and modifications and saw there emergency system for dealing with venomous snake bites. As you can see from the pictures, anRead more

How Now Brown Trout?

As Sherry mentioned previously, we have been concerned about a growth on one of the trout living in Carolina Wildlife. She arranged for the trout to travel to the College of Veterinary Medicine at NC State in Raleigh. It was a little strange wheeling a large cooler into the lobby of the small animal hospital where others were waiting with cats and dogs. I bet a lot of folks wondered what Katy and I had in there! The first stepRead more

Trip to the Vet School…with a fish!

One of our trout has a growth on its chin. I have been emailing with a veterinarian or two at NC State College of Veterinary Medicine about the fish. Larry and Katy were able to get this photo to share with the veterinarians and I thought you would want to see it. Larry will be taking the trout to the vet school on Thursday.Read more

Big Word of the Month: Parthenogenesis

Parthenogenesis is a word of Greek origin that roughly translates into “virgin creation”. You may remember learning about asexual reproduction at some point and recall that it involves an organism producing offspring without mating or exchanging genetic material with another individual. Parthenogenesis is a special type of asexual reproduction seen in organisms that produce seeds or embryos. You might be surprised to learn how widespread this type of reproduction is in the Animal Kingdom. In the Invertebrate world (90% ofRead more