Friday, October 29, 2010

My Favorite Biome: The Smoky Mountains

My favorite biome is the in the Smoky Mountains.  I'm not exactly sure what biome this would be, maybe mountain or Temperate Broadleaf Deciduous Forest.  But I love visiting this mountain range.  I try to make at least one trip yearly.  I have done some camping, rafting, backpacking, and mountain biking here.  The picture above is actually me standing on top of Upper Whitewater Falls in North Carolina, the highest water fall east of the Rockies.  Heres another picture from the front:
  I took these pictures while hiking the Foothills trail in the Carolinas.

One thing thats really cool, especially during this time of the year, is the turning of the colors in the leaves.  This is typical for a Temperate Broadleaf Deciduous Forest, or TBDF.  Also typical to this biome, are the layers that vegetation grows in depending on elevation.  At low elevations, there are towering trees, which turn into saplings, then shrubs, and then ground vegetation, such as mosses, as elevation increases.  Typical animals that inhabit this biome are: white tail deer, black bears, possums, racoons, grey squirrels, and chipmunks.

I plan on taking another trip to the same trail in the Carolinas this spring, so hopefully I'll have more photos to share later.

All info gathered at:

My Favorite Organism: The Kodiak Bear

The Kodiak Bear, or the Alaskan Grizzly, lives in the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago.  The bears immense size and natural weapons (claws and jaws) pretty much make it the top of the food chain.  Despite the fact that the Kodiak has been outfitted for carnage, it has the tendency to be a gentle giant.  After hibernation, the bear eats some growing vegetation as well as the remains of any animals that didn't make it through the winter.  During  spring, the bear eats many different types of vegetation.  The summer brings the running of the salmon, which keeps the bears well fed.  And in the fall, the bears feed on more berries and some invertebrates along the shore.  While there are several deer, elk, and goats on the island too, the bears seldom feed on them.

So like I said, the bear is kind of a gentle giant...but that doesn't mean they're nice to play with!

 All info gathered at

Mitochondrial Eve

Mitochondrial Eve is last determined maternal ancestor for all existing human beings.  Her title, "Mitochondrial," comes from the fact that her mitochondrial DNA is common in all human beings.  She is said to have lived thousands of years ago in Africa.  You can see an artists rendition of what she would have looked like as well as her descendants from all regions of the world in the figure below.
As you can see, Mitochondrial Eve has tan skin, dark hair and dark eyes.  You can also see the variations of her traits in the pictures of others from around the world.  While some traits differ from region to region, such as skin color, build, etc., certain traits still point back to the common ancestor.

Given the evolution of people over the years, its safe to say that human beings will have a different appearance in 1,000 years.  My guess is that people will be tan, have dark hair, and dark eyes.  This guess comes from the fact that most people today are dark skinned and have both dark hair and dark hair.