Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Folk Wisdom for Kids: Natural Aquarium - microcosm of the living world (4th of a Series)

Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) 
with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday

                                                                           Glass aquarium at home 

I loved watching the guppies in an old fashioned aquarium
     sans any gadget for lighting, filter, and fancy screen;
the sun, the provider of food and oxygen through the algae
     clinging on rock, and snails living off the glass clean.  

I was a kid then eager to discover the mysteries of nature; 
     a little of Darwin, Linnaeus, and Arthur Doyle I sought,
of Fleming's serendipity and Leeuwenhoek's microscopy,
     seeing their images in an aquarium my father bought.

It was schooling, experimenting, and above all, dreaming,
     it took me to a little Smithsonian, to a niche in biology,
 archive of living history, the microcosm of the living world,
     to the ends of the world, far from man's technology.   
 Basic microscopy for kids.  Bubbles of Oxygen, by-product of photosynthesis cling on the alga before they are dissolved in water  for the use of fish, or released into the atmosphere for humans and animals. 

Kids in the neighborhood observe how guppies devour mosquito wrigglers, a lesson in controlling diseases carried by mosquitoes without use of harmful and expensive chemicals. Common house mosquito, Culex, lays eggs on water which hatch into wrigglers

 Microscopic community nestles on the alga.  It is made up of protists living in a complex interrelationship, and interaction of energy and matter, in dynamic balance. 

Characteristics of a Natural Aquarium
  1. A natural aquarium is a miniature pond, lake, or sea. 
  2. The basic principle is conversion of the sun's energy into food and oxygen by algae and plants (photosynthesizers).
  3. Food and oxygen are important to fish and other animals.
  4. In return, the animals give off "waste" as nutrients and carbon dioxide important to plants.
  5. A natural aquarium therefore is a simple ecosystem, balanced environment. 
  6. Like any ecosystem, its balance depends on healthy interrelationship of the living and non-living world.
  7. The organisms are classified into producers (plants, algae), and consumers (fish, snails), and decomposers (bacteria)
  8. Balance is dynamic, it changes, but nature guides it to attain stability or homeostasis.
  9. Energy flow goes through the food chain, food web, food pyramid.  
  10. Humans are part of this system, and has assumed dominance over other organisms.
  11. Nature takes care of itself even without man.  Thus, forests, coral reefs, and the like, are best maintained without man's intervention.  
  12. On the other hand it is man that may destroy this natural balance through pollution, over fishing  chemical farming, deforestation - and global warming, which is a consequence of man's increasing number and affluence. ~

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