19 March Science7 “The Queen of Trees”

Dr. Michael Robinson, who was director of the National Zoo, in Washington, DC, USA believed that stories of the interconnections among species were essential to understanding life on earth. He thought sharing Case Histories of Complexity would help people realize how essential it is to preserve and to enhance biodiversity. I wonder how the “dilemma of detail” will play into our investigation and retelling the various stories of symbiosis. (Symbiosis means “living together.”)

Watch The Queen of Trees (link below). Do this the first time as a class. The video is set in Africa. The main “character” is a large Sycamore Fig tree. There are many other characters, plots and subplots. Though the many stories take place in Africa, we also have figs, figwasps, parasitic wasps, bees, round worms, mantises, katydids, stick insects, cicadas, hornbills, monkeys, and antelope right here in Delhi.

Make (write) a list of the “characters” as you watch. Do not worry if you do not catch the name of an organism. Describe as best you can. You will have a chance to discuss your viewing with classmates. And the link is below so you can review to check your understanding. Outline (write) the various “plots.”

These plots involve:

  1. getting energy to live, to fuel development, and to build various body structures,
  2. producing pollen, ova, sperm, eggs and fertilized seeds and embryos,
  3. dispersing pollen, seeds, eggs,
  4. setting up or finding a place for offspring to develop,
  5. protecting offspring.

In this story, the Queen of Trees captures energy from the sun, carbon dioxide from the air, water from the earth and makes all the energy that drives the various plots.

Remember both of the following ideas we recited with the introduction to Darwin at the beginning of the semester.

  • More offspring are produced than survive.
  • There is always variation in that some offspring survive and some do not.

Where do you see those ideas at work in the video?

”The Queen of Trees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy86ak2fQJM

This website is useful, be sure to explore it: http://www.figweb.org/Figs_and_fig_wasps/index.htm

Share your list of characters and plots with the class. Discuss. Bring forth any questions that you have. What chance do you think there is for us to observe similar “characters” and “plots” with the trees on our campus?

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