Fuselier, Linda .
Bryophytes in the undergraduate science curriculum.
Bryophytes are interesting study organisms that are often invisible to students and seldom included as a major part of the undergraduate science experience. We retooled an undergraduate curriculum with the goal of increasing scientific literacy by integrating faculty research into science education, without creating additional faculty load, in a small, primarily undergraduate institution. We created guided-inquiry laboratory experiences in bryophyte ecology and population genetics for introductory and upper-level courses in an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology curriculum. In Organismal Biology, a first-year science majors course, students studied effects of ultraviolet radiation on asexual propagules. The lab was sequenced in the semester as an introduction to experimental design and basic statistics; it built on previous skills and prepared students for more complex experiments. Molecular Biology laboratory students participated in a case study based on a real world crime that was solved using bryophyte DNA fingerprinting. This lab experience included DNA isolation, an introduction to PCR, a student-designed experiment on primer optimization and oral presentation of results. Senior students are required to take a two course series, Research Design and Advanced Research, in which they participate in faculty research. Advanced Research students recently studied bryophyte ecology and quantitative genetics. These students present their results at a formal “Student Academic Conference” on campus. Formative and summative assessments indicate that students not only engage with the material but they learn concepts, hone skills and enjoy the learning experience.
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Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education
1 - Minnesota State University, Moorhead, Biosciences, 1104 7th Ave South, Moorhead, MN, 56563, USA
undergraduate biology instruction
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: 554B/Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Time: 11:45 AM