Process Analysis: Scientific Investigation

Science is an interesting subject, not only because of its wideness. The most important spirit of science is to dive deeply into the sea of nature. For instance, scientific investigation is one of the most effective methods for development of science. Especially in the field of biology and geology, scientific investigation is an excellent tool to prove such hypothesis. Based on nothing harmful for the ecosystem, investigators could proceed a large amount of research strategies.

Generally, to complete a scientific investigation, we have 3 steps: First, choose a place, a time, and write a plan. Second, go to that place and collect some facts. Third, analyze the facts we get and draw a conclusion. Strategies are also significant, here I would like to show my own experience about this process.

About two years ago, some people and I went to investigate a wetland park that was placed inside a natural protection area. Our aim was to discover how plants in this area affect this system. It was autumn, deciduous leaves turned yellow, and reed was obviously stood in the lake. All the wetland seemed tranquil. Except for some birds’ tweeting and our discussing, there were no other sounds. I couldn’t help myself to record my first impression at that time. Mostly, researchers would like to choose spring to conduct their investigations because all the creatures come out and behave actively. However, autumn is also a good season for investigators, isn’t it? The scenario will be different from what you often see, and what you compose will be different from what most researchers write. Also, the aim should fit the conditions,  autumn will not influence animals as well.

The main populations inside this park must be mangroves, these evergreen trees are only visible in tropic areas. They demand a lot of aspects of conditions so that they could live perfectly. It is more suitable for them to live beside salty intertidal belts. Actually, they also need little anaerobic environment to live, and there shouldn’t be so much powder diffused in the air. That seems very bizarre because most plants would like to live in nearly different conditions, they need oxygen to proceed their respiration. But since mangroves’ adaptation of the moist atmosphere, oxygen isn’t important for them. I asked professor about the principle, she just said that, “They utilize their cells to take in more water than other plants, and the result is that they could be strong enough to prevent them from being attacked by typhoon.” By that time I nodded. Try to think something in new angles, you will find some advantages for these kind of trees’ characteristics. If face some difficulties, asking some experts is also a great choice.

Since mangroves are defenders in a way, there should be some secrets about their abilities to make a living. We had opportunities to closely approach a mangrove tree. During observation, we knew that mangroves had a lot of branched roots that make the ground irregular, and a center root was directly insert into the land. Tangled together, the roots made the trees tough. In order to adapt surrounding environment, some trees would develop fleshy leaves to keep water. They were able to control the concentration of salts freely, because the crystals on the surface of the trees could be the evidence. We also found some pod-like objects and found some embryonic roots inside it, some of the mangroves can even be viviparous! Across these surprising discoveries, it is undoubted to say that mangroves could be the winners after natural selection. Remember, observation is the most important tool to get the firsthand information, and compare it to the others, you could know some more details.

In Chinese, mangroves meant “red trees”. But why these trees’ leaves were not red? Professor answered, “We name them because of the colors of their barks, not their leaves. You may imagine that their leaves should be red, but actually they are green as well as other common plants.” Look carefully, the barks of them were really slightly redder than those of other trees. “From these barks, we can extract some chemicals such as tannin to produce red dye.” said professor. “But for Kandelia candel, a kind of mangrove, which is green everywhere in its body, is also belongs to the same genus. The reason is that it is viviparous, and the seeds are deep red. That’s why it is linked to ‘red trees’.”

The most important thing during scientific investigation is still the spirit of discovering and curiosity. If we have passion to proceed this process, it will be an eureka moment if we find the answer to a confusing puzzle. Of course, we will also be delighted since we are willing to denote for this research.

In general, scientific investigation is very interesting process. If you really do it, you will find it not only let you know more things about nature but also make you more experienced in the wild world.


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