Ascension : Ascension Island Conservation Department
Submitted by The Islander (Conservation Office) 17.10.2013 (Article Archived on 31.10.2013)
On Thursday 26th September Years 7/8 from Two Boats School went on a field trip to Mars Bay
Ascension Island Conservation Department
Two Boats School – Life Cycles
On Thursday 26th September Years 7/8 from Two Boats School went on a field trip to Mars Bay with Conservation to learn about the life cycles of Ascensions sooty terns and flowering plants. Whilst it is at the end of this year’s nesting season, the students were fortunate to be able to see sooty chicks at all stages from downy to fledglings. The pictures below shows Ascensions endemic spurge, Euphorbia origanoides with flowers and fruit ready for dispersal; and the indigenous sooty tern, Sterna fuscata (downy chick and adult).
Years 7/8 also visited the Conservation Centre on Thursday 3rd October, where they were taught about the life cycles of land crabs, ferns, green turtles and bryophytes. The students had the opportunity to see plant material and baby land crabs, called megalops, under the microscope. They thoroughly enjoyed seeing these subjects up close and learning about the different life stages from dispersal, to fertilization, growth and maturity.
Life cycle of a typical fern:
1. A diploid sporophyte phase produces haploid spores by meiosis (a process of cell division which reduces the number of chromosomes by a half).
2. A spore grows into a haploid gametophyte by mitosis (a process of cell division which maintains the number of chromosomes). The gametophyte typically consists of a photosynthetic prothallus.
3. The gametophyte produces gametes (often both sperm and eggs on the same prothallus) by mitosis.
4. A mobile, flagellate sperm fertilizes an egg that remains attached to the prothallus.
5. The fertilized egg is now a diploid zygote and grows by mitosis into a diploid sporophyte (the typical "fern" plant).
The Conservation Office in Georgetown is open from 7:30am – 10am on week days but due to fieldwork commitments, staff will only sporadically be in the office throughout the rest of the day. We also open on Saturdays 10am -12noon. Please come in and see us if you are interested in finding out more about conservation work on Ascension or if you would like to purchase something from our shop!
Volunteers welcome. Please contact Natasha Williams or Jolene Sim. Ascension Island Conservation. Georgetown. Tel: 6359. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com