Thursday, March 04, 2004

Donuts, digestion, and rats

This week has been incredibly busy, but also quite fun. In lecture I've started into digestion, probably my favorite topic. Today I did my "donut" lecture, wherein I discuss the different types of digestive systems and compare them with donuts: organisms with no digestive system are a typical bar donut, animals with a gastrovascular cavity (a pouch with only one opening, e.g. sea anemones) are jelly donuts, and most other animals are a typical glazed donut. The students get a kick out of it, and I get to eat the demo after lecture :)

In lab this week we're measuring the metabolic rates of rats and mice. The students can test whatever hypothesis(es) they want, given our equipment limitations, and we've had some pretty neat tests. Body size has been the most popular factor examined, though groups have also looked at the influence of light level, sex, activity, and temperature. We use pet rats and mice, so the animals are tame and most students just let the critters walk onto their hands. The majority of students come out of the lab loving the rats and mice.

I'm heading off to a book publisher's conference tomorrow in Utah, so unfortunately I won't be able to post until next Monday at the earliest. Once I get back from the meeting I hope to find some time to post updates on using the PRS system (summary: it's been going great) and the rodent metabolic rate lab, among other things.

In other news, I'm way behind on grading papers (thanks partially to getting sick last week), but there's nothing unusual about that.

Have a great weekend all!

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