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WILD CHEMISTRY ChemEd 2013 Brian Rohrig

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1 WILD CHEMISTRY ChemEd 2013 Brian Rohrig
Metro Early College High School Columbus, OH

2 8.7 million How many species of living things on earth
(not counting bacteria)? 8.7 million


4 MEASUREMENT 1. Largest living organism?
Honey Mushroom in eastern Oregon— measures 10 square kilometers with an average depth of 1 meter.

5 Volume in cubic meters? 10,000,000

6 2. Heaviest animal? Great Blue Whale (190,000 kg)

7 How many tons? a. 20 b. 200 c. 2000 d. 20,000

8 How many tons? b. 200

9 1.8 grams 3. Mass of the world’s
smallest bird in grams—the Bee Hummingbird of Cuba? 1.8 grams

10 Elephant Bird 4. The world’s largest egg is from what bird?
(30 cm by 20 cm)

11 What is the volume of this egg?
“The shape of an egg can be thought of as two halves of ellipsoids with different radius dimensions. One has radii of A, A, and B; the other has radii of A, A, and C. The volume is given by the formula: (1/2)(4π/3)A2B + (1/2)(4π/3)A2C” = (2π/3)A2(B+C) = 2/3 п 102 (30) = 6300 cc (

12 5. The largest egg laid by a
living bird is from the . . . OSTRICH

13 Mass of an ostrich egg . . . 1.5 kg

14 One ostrich egg is equivalent to ______ chicken eggs.

15 DENSITY Why do penguins have solid bones?

16 Penguins primarily feed on . . .
FISH which live . . . UNDERWATER

17 Rainbow Trout (fresh water)
What is the density of this fish, while staying in one place underwater?

18 Yellow Tang (salt water)
What is the density of this fish, while staying in one place underwater?

19 Does this fish weigh 21 kg?



22 Swim bladder comprises approximately 5% of total volume of
fish in salt water species, but 7% in fresh water species. Because the swim bladder lies below the dense backbone, the center of buoyancy is usually just below the center of mass, which is why fish go “belly up” when they die

23 Distended stomach of grouper
If fish caught in deep water, swim bladder expands on way up and ruptures, releasing gas into body cavity.

24 What do you think the density of this shark is?
Columbian Shark What do you think the density of this shark is? Specific Gravity :  , saltwater as adults ( )

25 Sharks lack a swim bladder, but
compensate with an extremely large liver filled with oil, 85% of it being squalene— a polyunsaturated liquid hydrocarbon (C30H50) with a specific gravity of .858

26 “Some marine invertebrates, such as squid
Ion Replacement: “Some marine invertebrates, such as squid and shrimp, replace heavier ions with lighter ones. For example, some species replace Sulfate (96 u) ions with chloride (35.5 u) ions. [Seawater (with sulfate) has a density of 1.026, but the same concentration of NaCl has a density of 1.020] Still other species replace sodium (23 u) ions with ammonium (17 u) ions.” ( docs/icb.topic25222 3.files/Week%2013%20Lectures /OEB191_buoyancy.pdf )

27 “A vacuole inside the Antarctic marine zooplankton Calanoides acutus changes its density and buoyancy by having a wax ester that changes from a liquid to a solid at the cold temperatures.” (

28 “The mobile foot of the aquatic violet snail creates a raft by collecting air bubbles and enveloping them in mucus.” (

29 Net diffusion of O2 into bell and CO2
Diving Bell Spider Net diffusion of O2 into bell and CO2 out – due to differences in partial pressure

30 "As the spider consumes oxygen from the air in the bell, it lowers the oxygen
concentration inside. The oxygen can decrease below the level of dissolved oxygen in the water, and when this happens, oxygen can be driven into the bubble from the water.“ ( )

31 Adaptations to high pressure:
Lack of swim bladders and other air-filled spaces, to avoid compression and the bends. Liquids cannot be compressed Blobfish

32 High pressure distorts complex
biomolecules, such as proteins and cell membranes. Used by food companies to sterilize food: High Pressure Processing (HPP) uses pressures up to 5500 atm to kill microorganisms

33 High pressure sterilizers utilize high
pressure hydraulic fluids, typically water, at moderate temperatures to sterilize food and beverage products.

34 Some deep-sea organisms  contain
"piezolytes" (from the Greek "piezin" for pressure) to withstand high pressure These large biomolecules are not distorted under high pressure A common piezolytes is  trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) , which produces the “fishy” smell of fish The deeper the depth of the fish, the more “fishy” they tend to smell!

35 TMAO Grenadier or rattail fish

36 Gigantism common in deep-sea creatures Giant Squid – up to 13 m long

37 Giant Isopods (up to 76 cm long)

38 King of herrings oarfish – up to 11 m long
(unconfirmed up to 17 m) World’s largest bony fish

39 Giant amphipod recently discovered at depth
of 7000 m near New Zealand – 33 cm long

40 Up to 2.4 m long – live near hydrothermal vents

41 Can whales get the bends?

42 Bioluminescence or cold light –
using chemical reactions to produce light

43 According to scientists from
NOAA, 90% of animals in waters below 500 m exhibit bioluminescence!

44 Bioluminescence is generated by an enzyme-catalyzed
chemoluminescence reaction, in which the pigment luciferin is oxidized by the enzyme luciferase.

45 Edith Widder: “The weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence” TED talk

Fireflies use nitric oxide to control their flashes. NO causes mitochondria to briefly shut down, which releases a pulse of oxygen that triggers an enzyme to turn on light. HOW DO FIREFLIES CONTROL THE RATE OF FLASHING?

Fireflies flash faster in warmer weather, since photocytes are same temperature as surroundings, since fireflies are cold-blooded. In warmer water, less activation energy required to initiate the reaction and reaction rate is faster.

48 For degrees C, count number of chirps in 8 seconds and add 5
To determine temperature in degrees F, count number of field cricket chirps in 15 sec and add 37. For degrees C, count number of chirps in 8 seconds and add 5 As outside temp. increases, so does metabolism of cricket Published in article by Amos Dolbear in 1897 entitled “The cricket as a Thermometer.”

49 Which piece of copper wire
would heat up the fastest?



52 Bergmann's Rule (introduced by
German biologist Carl Bergmann in 1847): Cold-climate animals tend to be larger and stouter than animals living in hot or dry climates.





57 African elephant Asian elephant Have control over dilation and constriction of blood vessels in ears – dilates blood vessels in ears when hot


59 Evaporative Cooling Blood vessels on surface of thin tongue dissipate heat by evaporation of saliva on tongue Sweat glands between pads on paws

60 American hairless terrier has sweat glands all over body –
sweats just like a person

61 Sweat glands on tongue and pads of feet
Licking their fur – cools as evaporates

62 Ostriches urinate on legs to cool down-
it then evaporates like sweat

63 Turkey vultures defecate on legs to keep cool

64 Hibernating animals survive by
increasing solute concentration in cells, causing a freezing point depression.

65 Rove Beetle Secretes a detergent from its abdomen- lowering surface tension under its hind feet. Enables it to pull with its front feet and be propelled across the water quickly

66 Namid desert beetle Water droplets from fog adhere to hydrophilic bumps on the wings, which are surrounded by hydrophobic troughs, which channel water to its mouth

67 Bio-inspired designs have led to the development of several innovative products that can
produce fresh drinking water in arid regions

68 Why does the odor from a skunk travel so far?

69 Skunk spray contains thioacetates, which
react slowly in water to produce thiols Thiols are sulfur-containing compounds which our nose can detect in concentrations as low as a few parts per billion A type of thiol compound is added to natural gas so it can be smelled Binds strongly to olfactory receptors in nose Being nonpolar, thiol compounds dissolve in other nonpolar substances such as hair, skin, clothing, etc.

70 HOW TO REMOVE SKUNK SPRAY Use a mixture of H2O2, baking
soda, and dish detergent Hydrogen peroxide oxidizes thiol compounds into odorless sulfonic acid Baking soda: 1)Rapidly splits thioacetates into thiols and acetate. 2) Speeds up reaction between thiol and peroxide. 3) Neutralizes the sulfonic acid produced Detergent helps to dissolve nonpolar oily compounds in skunk spray


72 Pregnant female cochineal beetle feed on red cactus berries, where they concentrate red dye in bodies.

73 First product exported from New World to Old
Dye is known as  cochineal extract, carmine, carminic acid, crimson lake, natural red 4, C.I , E120, etc. First product exported from New World to Old Cochineal red was used by the Spanish in the 1500s

74 Electric eel (Not an eel) 600 V 1 amp 2 ms 500 watts

75 5,000 – 6,000 electrocytes stacked
like a battery (A voltaic pile) Each electrocyte .15 V – discharged in series. Potential difference on each causes ion flow (Outside more negative than inside) Inspiration for theories of both Luigi Galvini and Alessandra Volta

76 Bombadier Beetle Two separate glands: reactants in one
C6H4(OH)2 (l) + 2H2O2 (l) → C6H4(OH)2 (l) + 2H2O (l) + O2 (g)  Hydroquinone + Hydrogen peroxide → p-quinone + water + oxygen Two separate glands: reactants in one and catalysts in the other Highly exothermic – up to 100°C

77 Why can starlings eat fermented fruit without becoming intoxicated?
“Starlings can metabolize alcohol at an exceptional speed, due to the rate of activity of the alcohol-splitting enzyme alcoholdehydrogenase, which is 14 times greater in starlings than in humans. They can indulge themselves on fermented fruit without getting drunk, since the alcohol is broken down quickly." (

78 Oysters reduce ocean acidity
Shells contain calcium carbonate, which neutralize carbonic acid Acts like a natural antacid

79 Why do grackles rub ants in their feathers, in a behavior known as anting?
Ants contain formic acid, which repels parasites

80 Gastric Brooding Frog

81 Incredible website on biomimicry

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