THE POO FILES

Faeces, excrement, poop or poo - what ever you call it, it's not something most of us like to discuss. For scientists it is a vital source of data and clues - whether they're looking at predator control, animal adaptations or ways to study extinct species. Identification of poo sources and contamination is also an aspect of water quality and food safety. So embrace the yucky stuff and get the class gasping or giggling at grossness with these science topics and ideas!
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Spreading diseases - ACTIVITY. In this activity, students model how a virus spreads through a group.

Spreading diseases - ACTIVITY. In this activity, students model how a virus spreads through a group.

Digestion of food - INTERACTIVE. The digestive system plays a critical role in breaking down large food molecules into smaller readily absorbable units. This animated video details how food is processed as it moves through the digestive system.

Digestion of food - INTERACTIVE. The digestive system plays a critical role in breaking down large food molecules into smaller readily absorbable units. This animated video details how food is processed as it moves through the digestive system.

Rotavirus - VIDEO. Dr Joanna Kirman led a team at the Malaghan Institute investigating rotavirus. Rotavirus is a common but nasty disease that causes gastroenteritis or basically vomiting and diarrhoea.

Rotavirus - VIDEO. Dr Joanna Kirman led a team at the Malaghan Institute investigating rotavirus. Rotavirus is a common but nasty disease that causes gastroenteritis or basically vomiting and diarrhoea.

Farming and environmental pollution - TEACHING RESOURCE. New Zealand has had a reputation for being ‘clean and green’ – a country of environmental beauty. Compared to many countries in the world, this is true. However, it’s becoming apparent that New Zealand has an environmental pollution problem. An OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report (2007) describes deterioration in water and air quality in New Zealand – due, in part, to agriculture.

Farming and environmental pollution - TEACHING RESOURCE. New Zealand has had a reputation for being ‘clean and green’ – a country of environmental beauty. Compared to many countries in the world, this is true. However, it’s becoming apparent that New Zealand has an environmental pollution problem. An OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report (2007) describes deterioration in water and air quality in New Zealand – due, in part, to agriculture.

Droppings - PEST DETECTIVE WEBSITE, NZ.  Animal droppings (also called faeces, pellets or scats) are one of the most commonly found signs of pest animals.

Droppings - PEST DETECTIVE WEBSITE, NZ. Animal droppings (also called faeces, pellets or scats) are one of the most commonly found signs of pest animals.

Penguins’ pooping power scoops Ig Nobel prize - NEWS ITEM. An Ig Nobel for fluid dynamics was awarded for a theoretical analysis of penguin poop propulsion, conducted by Benno Meyer-Rochow of the International University of Bremen in Germany and Oulu University in Finland, and Jozsef Gal of Lorand Eötvös University in Hungary.

Penguins’ pooping power scoops Ig Nobel prize - NEWS ITEM. An Ig Nobel for fluid dynamics was awarded for a theoretical analysis of penguin poop propulsion, conducted by Benno Meyer-Rochow of the International University of Bremen in Germany and Oulu University in Finland, and Jozsef Gal of Lorand Eötvös University in Hungary.

Disinfecting wastewater - TEACHING RESOURCE.   At the Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant in Auckland they use UVC light to disinfect wastewater. Before disinfection, the treatment plant removes solids and dissolved chemicals from the wastewater effluent. Sanjay Kumarasingham, a Senior Process Engineer at the treatment plant, monitors this process.

Disinfecting wastewater - TEACHING RESOURCE. At the Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant in Auckland they use UVC light to disinfect wastewater. Before disinfection, the treatment plant removes solids and dissolved chemicals from the wastewater effluent. Sanjay Kumarasingham, a Senior Process Engineer at the treatment plant, monitors this process.

Seal poo may hold clue to climate change - NEWS ITEM. Nelson scientist Jonathan Banks is hoping to find out more about what Antarctic seals eat by searching through their faeces.  The dietary information will help to determine what effect climate change and commercial fishing is having on some of Antarctica's top predators.    Dr Banks is back in the lab now after spending three weeks pooper-scooping seal poo off the ice in Antarctica.  "It's just go out there with a big shovel and shovel…

Seal poo may hold clue to climate change - NEWS ITEM. Nelson scientist Jonathan Banks is hoping to find out more about what Antarctic seals eat by searching through their faeces. The dietary information will help to determine what effect climate change and commercial fishing is having on some of Antarctica's top predators. Dr Banks is back in the lab now after spending three weeks pooper-scooping seal poo off the ice in Antarctica. "It's just go out there with a big shovel and shovel…

Why Do Wombats Do Cube-Shaped Poo? - ARTICLE. Poo comes in many different sizes, from the microscopic poo of the smallest invertebrates, to the largest poo of the African elephants who can each produce over 50kg per day. It also comes in many shapes, such as tubes (dogs), pellets (rabbits) or splats (cows), but the wombat is unique in the animal kingdom in that it produces cubic poo, and lots of it – around 80 to 100 cubes per night.

Why Do Wombats Do Cube-Shaped Poo? - ARTICLE. Poo comes in many different sizes, from the microscopic poo of the smallest invertebrates, to the largest poo of the African elephants who can each produce over 50kg per day. It also comes in many shapes, such as tubes (dogs), pellets (rabbits) or splats (cows), but the wombat is unique in the animal kingdom in that it produces cubic poo, and lots of it – around 80 to 100 cubes per night.

Tūtaekurī - IMAGE. Tūtaekurī cultivars are long, with purple skin and flesh. The name suggests what the ancestors, who named this cultivar, thought the tubers looked like – dog poo!

Tūtaekurī - IMAGE. Tūtaekurī cultivars are long, with purple skin and flesh. The name suggests what the ancestors, who named this cultivar, thought the tubers looked like – dog poo!


More ideas
Large intestine function - TEACHING RESOURCE. Recent research has revealed that the large intestine and its resident bacterial population have key roles to play in determining our health and wellbeing. It is much more than just a waste storage facility.

Large intestine function - TEACHING RESOURCE. Recent research has revealed that the large intestine and its resident bacterial population have key roles to play in determining our health and wellbeing. It is much more than just a waste storage facility.

Gut bacteria and health - VIDEO. Dr Juliet Ansell is a Science Group Leader at Plant & Food Research, Palmerston North. Juliet explains how a delicate balance exists between the many different bacterial populations present in the gut. If this is disrupted, the immune system and enteric nervous system are both activated, bringing to the conscious level a feeling of unease.

Gut bacteria and health - VIDEO. Dr Juliet Ansell is a Science Group Leader at Plant & Food Research, Palmerston North. Juliet explains how a delicate balance exists between the many different bacterial populations present in the gut. If this is disrupted, the immune system and enteric nervous system are both activated, bringing to the conscious level a feeling of unease.

Moa poo clues - NEWS ITEM. New Zealand scientists are using fossilised moa poo (coprolites) to study the diets and habitats of the large flightless native birds, which became extinct around 500 years ago.

Moa poo clues - NEWS ITEM. New Zealand scientists are using fossilised moa poo (coprolites) to study the diets and habitats of the large flightless native birds, which became extinct around 500 years ago.

The Antarctic field toilet - VIDEO. To keep Antarctica as pristine as possible all impacts from human presence have to be kept to an absolute minimum, this includes human wastes. The field camp has an out-doors toilet that consists of a 'poo bucket' with a polystyrene lid and a 'pee barrel' which has a funnel on top. When the scientists leave the field they take all their wastes with them so that they do not contaminate the environment. Points of interest for teachers: Students c

The Antarctic field toilet - VIDEO. To keep Antarctica as pristine as possible all impacts from human presence have to be kept to an absolute minimum, this includes human wastes. The field camp has an out-doors toilet that consists of a 'poo bucket' with a polystyrene lid and a 'pee barrel' which has a funnel on top. When the scientists leave the field they take all their wastes with them so that they do not contaminate the environment. Points of interest for teachers: Students c

Dung beetle mania - TEACHING RESOURCE. Excrement-loving dung beetles, rolling their balls of animal poo across the ground, could one day become a familiar sight on New Zealand farms. These unlikely critters may help solve some of the environmental problems created by agriculture as well as improving farm productivity.

Dung beetle mania - TEACHING RESOURCE. Excrement-loving dung beetles, rolling their balls of animal poo across the ground, could one day become a familiar sight on New Zealand farms. These unlikely critters may help solve some of the environmental problems created by agriculture as well as improving farm productivity.

Sources of poo - VIDEO. ESR scientist Dr Brent Gilpin discusses the need to identify the origins of any faecal matter in our drinking water, as bacteria and viruses in human poo can make us ill. Brent’s research involves determining a method of identifying species-specific markers in poo so that he can tell if the poo contaminating our water came from ducks, cows or humans.

Sources of poo - VIDEO. ESR scientist Dr Brent Gilpin discusses the need to identify the origins of any faecal matter in our drinking water, as bacteria and viruses in human poo can make us ill. Brent’s research involves determining a method of identifying species-specific markers in poo so that he can tell if the poo contaminating our water came from ducks, cows or humans.

Ancient penguin poo reveals population annihilation by volcanic eruption - SCIENCE NEWS.

Ancient penguin poo reveals population annihilation by volcanic eruption - SCIENCE NEWS.

Whose poo is it? - VIDEO. ESR scientist Dr Brent Gilpin gives an example where he identified the source of pollution and the local council was able to use this information to address the problem. Distinguishing the source of faecal contamination is important in deciding what action to take to prevent further contamination.

Whose poo is it? - VIDEO. ESR scientist Dr Brent Gilpin gives an example where he identified the source of pollution and the local council was able to use this information to address the problem. Distinguishing the source of faecal contamination is important in deciding what action to take to prevent further contamination.

Chemical approaches to detecting poo - VIDEO. ESR scientist Dr Brent Gilpin describes how the presence of chemicals from washing detergents indicate that the water has come from the sewage system and therefore may contain faecal matter. Brent is also able to detect the presence of sterols – these are chemicals that are broken down in our digestive system – to indicate that the water may contain poo.

Chemical approaches to detecting poo - VIDEO. ESR scientist Dr Brent Gilpin describes how the presence of chemicals from washing detergents indicate that the water has come from the sewage system and therefore may contain faecal matter. Brent is also able to detect the presence of sterols – these are chemicals that are broken down in our digestive system – to indicate that the water may contain poo.

Poo Indicators - VIDEO. ESR scientist Dr Brent Gilpin describes how they look for a variety of chemicals and bacteria that indicate the presence of poo in the water rather than the disease-causing organisms themselves. Microorganisms that cause disease are called pathogens and can be present in poo from people who have the disease.

Poo Indicators - VIDEO. ESR scientist Dr Brent Gilpin describes how they look for a variety of chemicals and bacteria that indicate the presence of poo in the water rather than the disease-causing organisms themselves. Microorganisms that cause disease are called pathogens and can be present in poo from people who have the disease.

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