Tsuki and Cean’s Rubix Cube


We chose something kids of any age could play with. It’s safe, fun, simple, and educational. We ordered this small Rubix Cube online, drew our pictures and printed them on sticker paper from Staples. We split between us certain endangered species to draw. Each marine species is depicted in the center of each side of the cube, surrounded by drawings of the causes for its endangerment. Twisting, mixing, and toying with the Rubix Cube’s endless possibilities reinforces the idea that the causes for endangered species are similar. For instance, oil, fishing hooks or bait, and litter are huge threats to each species. In addition, each side/species are also color-coded to specify the threats to their lives.

Here are a few close-ups of the drawings:ImageImageImage

Some of the pictures also hint what you could do to prevent harm to these species. Here are examples:

The Turtle:

1) shield lights or turn them off if your house is on the beach

2) cover up holes on beach (in case hatchlings fall in them)

3) remove litter/furniture/debris (it’ll crush, confuse, or trap hatchlings and their mothers)

4) use red Turtle Safety-Light (it doesn’t disturb hatchlings or nesting mothers)


The dolphin:

1) slow down in your motor/powered boat, for its propellors will cut or kill them

2) DO NOT feed them. It encourages them to rely on humans for food, reducing their wariness to predators or boats and reduces their socialization with other dolphins. It increases their aggression toward humans because they expect food, and it increases chances of them TEACHING other dolphins to rely on humans. They’re hunters, not beggars. Beggar the Dolphin was a good example of human interaction endangering dolphins. He fed on human food like pretzels, beer, hotdogs, etc, which didn’t provide him the nutrients he needed as a dolphin. It starved him, especially whenever he waited and waited for humans to float by. He couldn’t survive with other dolphins because he didn’t know how to socialize with them. He was found dead a week ago with many wounds from encounters with boats, but it was his reliance on humans for food that starved and killed him…

The Manatee:

1) same applies with any marine life: slow down with your motor/powered boat, for its propellors will cut or kill them

2) do not attempt to swim with them for it encourages them to rely on humans for food and care

3) be aware that they can get trapped, crushed, and killed in flood canals




Team TaKaKriLa on Stingrays!

Florida is home to many exotic species not seen anywhere else in the world. These creatures are greatly admired and very well know, but what about the species common to Florida; the ones we overlook.
One of these species is the stingray. Despite what people might think, stingrays are actually one of the least studies marine animal. Very little is know about these creatures yet you can find them practically at every aquarium, and in every beach of the world. Here are some fun facts about stingray you maybe didn’t know:
A group of stingrays is called a FEVER

Stingrays are part of the shark family

Stingrays are solitary creatures but travel in groups

Stingrays rely on scent to hunt since they cannot see their food (they’re mouths are at the bottom of their bodies, while the eyes are on the top).

There are two types of stingrays: Pelagic (these are swimmers rather than bottom feeders, and are diamond shaped), and Benthic (these are found at the bottom of the ocean floor, and are more round).

Stingrays migrate along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico every year between the months of May and October. When encountering these creatures in the wild it’s best to steer clear. While they do have stingers, they value it as a resource and try not to use it under any circumstance.

Stingrays are a valuable species of the world and should treated as such.
Shuffle your feet!




Biodiversity Project: Sarasota Clean-Up!!!

Biodiversity Midterm Group Project Members: Nicole Gutzmann, Clayton Chod, Caitlin Bernoskie


The pollution floating around in our oceans is a major issue, and around the Sarasota area, so for our group project we focused on making a game which teaches children about the marine wildlife of the area while having them “clean up the ocean” through a fun and easy memory game. The game is composed of 24 memory cards. Six(12 total) are based on some of the marine life from Sarasota here like the Manatee, Snowy Plover, Bottlenose Dolphin, Sea Turtle, Horseshoe Crab, and the brown Pelican. The other 6 types of cards each depict a form of ocean pollution that is common not just in the Sarasota area, but around the globe. These pollutants are plastic bags, cigarettes, food wrappers, plastic bottles, utensils. These six are some of the most common forms of trash thrown into the ocean so it was appropriate to include them in this game. Said trash is being thrown into the ocean that a number of marine species have become threatened due to taking in or being entangled by the trash.

Besides the main 24 cards, there are also six informational cards based on each marine animal seen in the game. Each marine animal card lists basic facts about the animal and what threatens them so children can enjoy an easy, little educational lesson while playing through the game.


The goal of the game is to match as many cards as possible of course, but the winner is determined by the person who collects the most trash based matches by the end of the game when all of the cards have been matched together.The game will eventually become a PnP game when I have the time to put together a proper PDF for it, so keep an eye out!

When I grow up…





After mating at sea, adult female sea turtles return to land to nest at night. They make from one to eight nests per season. The female sea turtle digs a circular hole and starts filling the nest with a clutch of soft-shelled eggs one by one until she has deposited around 50 to 200 eggs. After that, she re-fills the nest with sand, re-sculpting and smoothing the surface until it is relatively undetectable visually. then she returns to the ocean, leaving the eggs untended.







Incubation takes about two months. When ready, hatchlings tear their shells apart with their snout and dig through the sand. Once they reach the surface, they instinctively head towards the sea. Only a very small proportion of each hatch succeed (usually 1%) because local opportunist predators, such as the common seagull, gorge on the new sea turtles.



So, the main theme of the game is about baby turtles’ little journey to the ocean. This is the most important and most dangerous part of turtles’ life.




Artwork by Soojin Lee / click the picture!


Player picks their baby turtles and lead them safely to the sea. Each turn player draw the direction card and follow the instruction.

There are normal card which allows to move safely and trap card.

The percentage of trap card is very high because there are many dangers like human and predators.

The poacher card is the most critical, so it helps to understand how strong human activities effects turtles’ life.


Yes, this is PnP game. You can follow the link and print the pictures and play it.

When I grow up

Sarasota Bird Sketchbook by Diana, Molly and Asia

For our project, we put together a small book of drawings and facts about some Central Florida birds. Each of us picked a broad category of birds and illustrated six species from that group, making a total of 18 birds. Both the sketches and the facts we selected are meant to interest young people in local wildlife. Our booklet can give them a starting point from which to learn more, online, in books, or out in nature. We even added blank sketch pages to the back of the book to encourage childrens’ personal investigations into the world around them.




For my part of the book I focused on “Birds of prey”, a bird of prey is a predatory bird. The birds I chose were the bald eagle, black vulture, osprey, eastern screech owl, red shouldered hawk, and the peregrine falcon. All these birds where very interesting and varied in size. I primarily used a site called “allaboutbirds.org” but used other sources as well. Most of the birds ate fish but some also eat insects, small mammals, and other birds. I had fun researching and drawing all of them but i think my favourite to draw was the bald eagle. I also put together everyone’s pictures to make the cover. I think everyone’s drawings work well together, and that the book came out good.


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My part of the book was about wading birds, which is more of a generic catch-all term I am using for heron and crane like birds of our area—I don’t believe the Sandhill Crane is always necessarily classified as a wading bird since it doesn’t spend as much time as some of the others in or near water. In general, these kinds of birds are found near water and, well, wading, looking for small fish and crustaceans to eat. It’s a surprisingly diverse group of birds—ranging for ibises to flamingos and more— and their diets and habits vary between species. I was most interested in this group just because I really love these long-legged, long-necked birds and I enjoy seeing them around town and wanted to learn more about them and share that with the prospective audience.
*   *   *   *   *
My category was shorebirds, though I kind of departed from that with the cormorant (which lives near mostly fresh water.) I love going to the beach, seeing the ocean and the variety of interesting birds that live there. I have always found pelicans in particular beautiful and fascinating — there is something fantastic and prehistoric about them. And while people in Florida regard all kinds of seagulls as a nuisance, they have a very romantic connotation in Russia, where they are seen as symbols of wanderlust and free-spiritedness. One thing I was interested to learn was all the different ways that shorebirds get their food. Even though all they mostly eat fish, their methods of getting it range from skimming the water’s surface, to diving, to scavenging and more. To me, these birds are an intrinsic part of the seaside, and I am glad to know more about them.

Greetings from the Praying Mantis




Wazzuppp? 😀


Another fascinating species of  2,200 that comes in TOO MANY shapes, sizes, colors, and awesomeness…

Like this.



Or this.


“Praying mantis” comes from their “prayer-like” stance but also can be referred to as “preying” mantis for the fact that it creeps on its prey, like a monk wishing you good fortune with a nearly 100 degree rotation of its creepy, yet majestic head and multiple eyes–




If not wingless, it has a gorgeous 2 sets of wings: the outer opaque, leathery wings for camouflage, and its delicate, broad hindwings designed for flight. They whip them out and spread them to seem scarier if they feel threatened:



What’cha gonna do about it??? >:D

They eat insects, but are cynically known for going for creatures bigger than themselves: scorpions, lizards, frogs, birds, snakes, fish, even rodents! I hate photos like these, but here’s a sad example of their prey:


We all know they’re also known for cannibalism amongst their own, especially during mating. Male mantis (as Dr. Zoidberg struggled, from “Futurama”): “Live or mate?” Female mantis eating: “Yum, yum, yum–whup, I’m bored. CHOMP!” There ya go. Domestic violence. Male’s gone. Eaten by the female…her fangs like a mustache with fangs hidden inside her mouth.

God, doesn’t matter how big or small a mantis is. They’ll find any way to survive, even if it means putting on some boxer gloves like this Boxer Mantis Nymph. 



At any rate, considering the endless kingdom of kinds there are, these are definitely one of the kings of hunting in the insect world: 

YES. Yes, they are…


Anyway, “The True Fact About the Mantis” couldn’t say it any better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aSCPmabRpM. 

ASSASSIN SPIDER (or hysterically a.k.a “Pelican Spider”)

OK, guys. My favorite new insect. At first I cringed, but I laughed at the cynic nature/adaptation of this unique spider unlike any I’ve  Image 

seen so far. Yeah. That’s a @#$@!! spider. Thank god it’s only in Madagascar, Africa, and Australia. Not much is known about them since they’re a recently discovered species, so I can’t say much.

I cringed for sure. But got used to it the more I read about it. It’s kinda cute the way it slopes/tucks its neck like like a pelican. But that’s about it. Its neck is long, its eyes at the very tip. It has two scissor-like jaws that act individually: one reaches out stabs its prey from a great distance, waits till it wriggles and dies, then the other jaw comes up and crunches on it.

Its legs are so much longer than its body: mid-legs can hold a giant egg sac while the rest help the son-of-a-gun hunt or defend against predators.Image 

Other defense mechanisms: sit like a bird in its nest and fake death? Image

 Don’t worry. It’s only 2-8 mm. It hunts only spiders. It mostly comes out at night. But its clever hunt strategy is just…creepy.

It’ll follow other spiders’ web “draglines”. At the edge of another spider’s web, it plucks it as if playing some tune–similar behavior spiders share when courting each other. Prey comes along curiously. Assassin reaches out and…well….stabby, stabby, stabby.


Other hunting methods: creep along upside-down above prey.



If you’re still conscious from looking at this dreadful thing, check out the following link for further details: http://pbertner.wordpress.com/spider-assassins-archaeidae/

Cosmos Talks About Evolution This Week!

I just finished watching the newest episode of Cosmos this weekend( Cosmos: a spacetime odyssey, presented by Neil deGrasse Tyson, a reboot of Carl Saga’s 1980 Cosmos). He talks about the artificial selection of dogs, which reminds me of the subject we talked about earlier this semester, and some other natural selections; he also told really good story about the evolution of eyes, some basic stuffs about DNA… It’s a visually stunning piece of art, very well scripted as well. Anyone who’s interested in it should definitely watch the first episode too, I think it is a very inspiring TV documentary series!

Lido Beach

I really enjoyed our trip to Lido. It was like going on a mini vacation. Everyone looked like they were enjoying being outside and adventuring. I just wish we got to venture around a little more and examine everything a lot more closely like we did at indian beach. It’s easy to overlook what a beautiful place we live in when you are stuck in the labs. We live by the ocean for heaven sakes. It’s absolutely awesome. I thought it was neat to see the currents that run from. he golf to the bay.  Its just a great big fish highway. The great blue heron (i believe it was) was beautiful. The heron remind me of ohio because we get them in our pond a lot as well.

I grew up in a really rural part of ohio so being outside was pretty normal for me and something I always enjoyed. These trip just make me miss it more. I really not use to being in the city and hope I never stray too far from nature.

I think the highlight of the trip however, was seeing a live horseshoe crab. Im not sure that I have ever seen a live one before. He was a lot faster than i thought, although he was aided by the current.