1.1 Major principles of biology

The major principles of biology include homeostasis, genetics, evolution, reproduction, and metabolism. During freshman year I attended the LIFE STEM bridge in which I had the opportunity to travel to the Baliles Center at Hull Springs Farm to get a head start on the college experience and collect data and samples from the Chesapeake Bay. After we got back to Longwood I took the class all LIFE STEMers had to take, ISCI 120 where we got to analyze the samples taken during the summer. The project I worked on was analyzing the sediment samples to examine the organic matter, carbonates, and water concentrations within them from various locations in the Bay. This was a good way to consider one of the major principles of biology, homeostasis. Based on the percentages of organic matter and other compositions within the sample, we were able to determine how well the organisms in the Bay in each location were able to survive with the current conditions, thus maintaining homeostasis. This project was one of the first presentations I gave in college to a class so I remember it vividly!

In the fall of 2020, I took BIOL 251, Intro to Ecology and Evolution. This class was hybrid, so I took it on Zoom and in person. As a part of one of our lab periods, we went to the local cemetery and recorded the birth and death dates of individuals that has been buried there. By doing this we were able to analyze the data and make survivorship curves of life expectancy throughout the years pre and post-1950. It was interesting to go out to the cemetery and physically record the data and be able to visually see the survivorship curves so clearly from the data we collected. We were able to visually see how humans have evolved to live longer post-1950. I also wrote a research paper on the project we did. It is interesting to reflect now on how my abilities have changed in my research writing skills!

Another aspect of biology that is a major principle is reproduction. In BIOL 475, my group and I had the opportunity to do an experiment on fiddler crabs and their behavior toward known and unknown females. This is important in the realms of reproduction because we found that male fiddler crabs presented more behaviors that indicated them showing off more to unknown females than the females that they have already had interactions with or had been in the same area with for an extended amount of time. I can see great growth from my intro classes to this project on the design and execution of the project. This class was an upper-level course that required more thought and preciseness to obtain a good result. I can also see growth in my ability to create new ideas and experimental projects within my courses throughout my years at Longwood. I was able to gain a deeper understanding of the requirements for a productive and meaningful experimental outcome while also gaining a deeper understanding of the material and how it all relates back to each biology concept!