Biology Corner Of Living Academy

When we have informal discussions like in ChatShaala or in general as well, the interconnectedness of all walks of STEM comes out to be very evident, which is very difficult to relate to when in a Typical Academic Setting. In a Biology Class, the discussion will be limited to biological systems and the same with Chemistry, Physics, and Math. But here at Living Academy, we are talking about a trans-disciplinary approach.

To quote:

I am Abhijeet Singh, and I have been a part of CUBE (Collaboratively Understanding Biology Education) since 7th Grade. I’m about to Graduate Soon (Journey of CUBist). Though we have a keen interest in Biology and Biology Education, the discussion of CUBE is never limited to it. We always cross the trans-disciplinary barrier as the context of the discussion demands.

I have been culturing various organisms in my Homelab since the lockdown period. These are used as a context to address the contemporary curriculum and curiosity of CUBists. I came to know about Living Academy and thought about sharing these organisms to start with the Biology Corner of Living Academy.

1st organism I brought is Moina, a freshwater organism commonly referred to as Waterfleas. These are from a single mother Moina, which means they are of the same species, i.e., Moina macrocopa, as its identification was done by CUBists around 2016-17. It is used to address questions of Epigenetics and Molecular Biology as well as Environmental Biology (Will discuss more about it later)

I also brought seeds of Cardamine plant, which is of the mustard family, and it has been used as an organism to be used for research (Model Organisms) by CUBists and Scientists of Plants Sciences. Arabidopsis thaliana is a widely used plant for Plant Science Research but has limitations as it can only be found in temperate regions. Cardamine, which is a close relative of Arabidopsis, is now being looked upon as a powerful system to study as it has no such limitations.

We emptied one corner of Living Academy and cleaned it for the Biology Space.

In the tank, Fresh Dchlorinated water is added and 10-15 moina from Abhijeet’s original Culture was added into this. Sahamatha here is adding label to this culture

GN is adding soil in the seedling tray in which later seeds of cardamine will be added.

Ali is helping in sowing single seeds into each seedling well.

We made tank and bottle cultures of Moina and a Seed tray for sowing the seeds of Cardamine.

Ali, Sahamatha, and GN helped set up this biology corner, and it’s ready for STEM enthusiasts to explore.


Here is a glimpse of your moinas today at LA.


In the guppy fish tank we found some creatures moving around unlike the familiar jerky movement of moina. @GN along with other students at LA recorded a video and sent on 8th May 2024. He writes:

“There are creatures same size as moina, but moving continuously unlike moina. What could they be? We will investigate in the coming days. It seems fish are not eating them, or they are thriving despite the fish eating.” Video From GN on 8th May 2024.

On 9th May after the detective work they found:
GN: “After some search they are identified as Ostracods. They are not harmful to fish, and some fish eat them as well. They actually can keep the tank clean.”

Soon after Saad a student in LA posted videos and wrote:

Saad: “These are some of videos and and pictures that we recorded yesterday in search of what they are? And now in the morning @GN got to know there names that is “ostracods” they appear in fish tanks and such that more creatures like them. They belongs to the species of prons, crabs, and etc. now the question is how they appear in our fish tank? So the answer is what we think they were in there with algae, or maybe the possibility is they came with the fish which we already have in LA, and able to procreate in no time.”

Saad: “On of them we found out is dead already and after their death, this is how they look. Can see the difference.”
To which @GN replied: The exoskeleton of ostracods, I read, is made of chitin. What we see here is the remaining of the ostracod after the flesh is recycled by the microbes.

We also noticed that they feed on algae and also they eat waste, so this how they are able to procreate in no time, because of this the fish tank looks always clean, and where our guppy fish lives in the tank of algae they are always happy because they have lots of food already to eat and a clean environment to live.

So the Bio Corner of Living Academy is coming across such adventures frequently. Because of this experience, students will get to learn about the interconnectedness of Biological Systems. Algae relies on light and organic water matter from fishes, Ostracod relies on Algae, and Fishes rely on Moina and Ostracods like crustaceans.

We will soon update you with a follow-up on such developments.

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