Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Tag clouds for HL Bio Topics
Plants topic 9

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tagxedo - Creator lovely

Tagxedo - Creator:

DNA - topic 7

Topic8 Respiration & Photosynthesis

Sunday, 4 November 2012

2012 Photomicrography Competition | Nikon Small World

2012 Photomicrography Competition | Nikon Small World:

There are some outsanding and compelling images in this gallery.
Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope. ThePhotomicrography Competition is open to anyone with an interest in microscopy and photography. The video competition, entitled Small World In Motion encompasses any movie or digital time-lapse photography taken through the microscope.

'via Blog this'

Thursday, 25 October 2012


If your IB Biology class has just finished the Cells topic and has spent some time looking at the stages of mitosis in a microscope then your students could be ready to participate in real biological research.  Physics students have been looking for exoplanets for a while on Zooniverse and now it is the turn of the biologists.

ClickToCure: " It takes human intuition and the human eye to spot patterns, defects and anomalies-computer algorithms just aren’t good enough. The process is slow for a lone scientist, but with the collective power of hundreds of thousands of people, we can speed up this research by years."

In collaboration with Cancer Research UK, Click to Cure ( wants to use the power of the Zooniverse  to speed up trials of new cancer treatments. By spending a few minutes looking at microscope images, and answering a few simple questions, students can assist in the effort to find cures for different cancers.

Why not set this as holiday homework and turn your IB Biology students into Biologists.  It might even look good on a university ap

'via Blog this'

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The first successful cloning of an extinct species since Jurassic Park

Pyrenean ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica, or Bucardo) became extinct in 2000. The causes of the extinction seem rather mysterious, but suggestions include habitat destruction from overgrazing, hunting, and perhaps climate change.  The tragic detail of the last remaining member of the species being killed by a falling tree adds to the drama. It really is a good example to use in lessons.  It's more cute and furry than the Dodo or the Tasmanian tiger, and certainly more contemporary.

The story has been reported in many newspapers across the globe including The Independent in the UK, Scientific American in the USA, The Olive Press in Spain, and The Times of India. This makes it a great homework research project, and possibly a good ToK presentation subject.  The risks and benefits of cloning are well illustrated. Scientists took tissue samples and created 439 embryos, implanted 57 into surrogate mother domestic goats and one pyrenean ibex kid was born.  He lived for just seven minutes. There are details of other projects to clone extinct species in this newspaper article.

I'll be using this again next year without a doubt.
David Faure

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Endosymbiosis: Biology Research for the IB Classrom

In a recent article New Scientist magazine exposes a fascinating organism which is difficult to classify. What's more exciting to scientists is that it looks like a living example of endosymbiosis, the process which is thought to have created the mitohondrion and the chloroplast.
This species would be a novel example of evidence to support the endosymbiotic theory in Option D1.8 or an interesting example of endocytosis in Topic 2 Cells. High quality microscope images of these organisms, including TEM and SEM images can be found in the original research. These would be great new examples for calculating cell size or magnification using scales bars in Topic 2.1.
Like a chamaeleon, M.chamaeleon changes colour depending on the colour of the algae it has engulfed.
This single celled organism, called Mesodinium chamaeleon is a eukaryote, so it has a nucleus and mitochondria.
They engulf algae called cryptomonads and keep them alive inside food vacuole. The algae produce sugars by photosynthesis as they are gradually digested in the food vacuole. At times just a swolen chloroplast remains in the food vacuole.
Sometimes they engulf a red algae and other times a green algae, hense the name M. chamaeleon.
A cousin of this ciliate, M. rubrum, only engulfs red algae, forms a long lasting endosymbiotic relationship with the algae and is often found in the algal blooms that form red tides.

'via Blog this'