2019 Short Presentations

SHORT PRESENTATIONS

For information on sessions, please click on the links below.

Keynote Speakers

Short Presentations

Hands-on Workshops

Field Trips

Networking Sessions

Education Share Fair Roundtables

Information for presenters

This session format is designed for presentations that enhance understanding of key concepts, or projects activities that feature effective ideas and approaches. Short presentations are 30 minute sessions.

Program Subject to Change

 

Curricular Topics

  Evolution in Action   Ecology and Earth Systems Dynamics
   Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services   Structure and Function
  Human Dimension

 

Friday Short Presentations:

Room: Century A Birch Dogwood
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM A learning progression describing grades 6-12 students understanding of ecological change over time

Presenter: Alan Berkowitz

 

Exploring Biodiversity through a Teacher-Scientist Partnership Professional Development Program

Presenter: Julie Bokor

Constructing a Botanical Phylogenic Tree at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Presenter: Robb Bartenslager

9:45 AM – 10:15 AM Using Pitfall Traps and Diversity Indices to Test Edge Effect Theory

Presenter: Paul Strode

How can an online mentoring program help students to see and appreciate biodiversity across space, time, and scale?

Presenter: Catrina Adams

Experiential Learning through Natural History Collections

Presenters: Adania Flemming, Sorilis Ruiz Escobar, Katherine Boole, Hannah Chelgren

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM Examining human impacts on tusk evolution in elephants using authentic research data sets

Presenter: Kaitlin Bonner

 

Connecting Evolution and Biodiversity with Systems Thinking and Global Environmental Problems

Presenter: Tara Holmberg

Using EBird to Promote Citizen Science as Part of an Undergraduate Conservation Biology Course

Presenter: Karin Gastreich

4:15 PM – 4:45 PM Where is Delftia? Connecting Courses, Faculty, and Undergraduate Students in Search of a Unique Microbe

Presenter: Carlos Christopher Goller

 

Great Florida Spitting Contest: An Oral Microbiome-based CURE

Presenter: Eric Triplett

The Potential of Natural History Collections in Educating the 21st Century Scientist and Citizen

Presenters: Anna Monfils, Molly Phillips, Debra Linton

Saturday Short Presentations:

Room: Century A Birch Cedar Live Oak
9:00 AM – 9:30 AM Getting squirrelly with museum datasets: An inquiry-based undergraduate activity

Presenter: Lisa Walsh

Inquiry module using open data and informatics to explore effect of climate on species distributions

Presenter: Wendy Clement

 

Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN): Multi-site Collaborative Research in the Classroom

Presenter: Vikki Rodgers

 

Approaching the Application of Inquiry-Based Pedagogy Through The Wolbachia Project

Presenters: L. Clara Mabour, Ashley Bacigalupi, Lindsay Bruce

1:30 PM – 2:00 PM Development and Testing of Competencies for Experimentation in Biology

Presenters: Nancy Pelaez, Michelle A. Harris

 

What does it mean to be a Tree Tender?

Presenter: Rachel Wellman

How Ecologists Rate the Utility of Ecological Concepts

Presenter: Derek Reiners


Abstracts and Descriptions:

Friday Short Presentations


Exploring Biodiversity through a Teacher-Scientist Partnership Professional Development Program

Authors: Julie Bokor, University of Florida

Abstract: The implementation and outcomes of a week-long professional development program for secondary science teachers will be explored. Tips, tricks, and lessons learned working with classroom educators to develop learning activities for computational and genomic tools will be discussed.

Description: In July 2018, 23 secondary life science teachers attended a five-day, residential immersion professional development program held on the University of Florida campus from entitled The Tree of Life: Exploring Biodiversity Using Genomic and Computational Methods (ToL) Summer Science Institute (www.cpet.ufl.edu/teachers/ssi/ssi-2018/tree-of-life/). The science content was designed by two research faculty partnering with a university science outreach center to provide a program based on a teacher-scientist partnership professional development (TSP PD) model (Tanner et al., 2003). Participants learned how scientists reconstruct evolutionary history to reveal an estimate of the Tree of Life, with activities ranging from DNA extraction and PCR to accessing gene sequences from GenBank to using software to build the Tree of Life. Further exploration of the Tree of Life focused on comparative genomics and how similar or different organisms are at their underlying genomic level and then examined the geographic and ecological distributions of species in nature. Throughout the workshop, emphasis was placed on translating the genetic, genomic, ecological, and evolutionary principles into effective teaching materials as evenings were devoted to collaboration and brainstorming among the teachers. Each participant created two learning activities using the LifeDiscoveryEd Digital Library template based on 1) the TreeTender movie (www.treetender.org) and 2) using computational and genomic tools. The ToL program was evaluated using a mixed-methods approach including a retrospective pre-test to quantitate learning gains as well as Likert-type items to measure overall program satisfaction. Participants were also prompted with several open-ended items to better understand their perceptions of the program, transferability to the classroom, and their own learning. This presentation will include the science researchers, outreach coordinator, and ToL participants to discuss the lessons learned and offer suggestions to others wishing to engage science teachers in current research activities.


Constructing a Botanical Phylogenic Tree at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge

Authors: Robb Bartenslager, Palm Beach Central High School

Abstract: High school students conducted a biodiversity study at Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, resulting in a phylogenic tree of the plant species at the Refuge based on sequencing of the rbcl gene.

Description: The purpose of this unit was to give students practical experience with genetics in a biodiversity setting.  Students used smart phone apps to identify species at two different locations at the Refuge. Vernier LabQuests were used to find the values of several abiotic factors, focusing on light levels that influence plant species distribution.  The Shannon-Weiner Biodiversity Index was used to calculate the biodiversity for each area.  Leaf samples of ten specimens were collected and brought back to the lab.  After DNA extraction, PCR was conducted with primers for the rbcl gene which was then sequenced at an outside facility.  BLAST was used to find rbcl sequences for other plant species at the Refuge, found in the master list of plant species provided by the Refuge.  The rbcl sequences  were entered into MEGA and a phylogenic tree was produced.  A display of the phylogenic tree along with the methodology was created and presented to the Refuge for display.


Appalachian Women Artisans as Scientific Investigators: Math & Biology in their Daily Lives

Authors: Sunshine Brosi, Frostburg State University

Abstract: Ethnobotany teaches science through the lens of culture to appeal to the broader demographic of learners including women and minorities. An Appalachia-based program specifically focuses on scientific investigations inherent in weaving and dyeing by women artisans in Eastern Kentucky.

Ethnobotany emphasizes people as part of the natural world with legacies of sustainable uses of resources through adaptive management and local traditional ecological knowledge. This course focuses specifically on the scientific and math problems within the context of specific.

Description: Appalachian artisans including weaving and dyeing.  The field courses in Harlan County, Kentucky at Pine Mountain Settlement School focused on research questions related to the sustainability of non-timber forest products for artisan resources in the local economy. Students made hickory chairs while investigating colloquial names for different types of hickory tree species. They answered complicated mathematical problems to make patterns to weave using barn looms and they investigated the impact of water quality and mordents on the color values of plant-based dyes. In addition to Vision & Change concepts and competencies, the students also learn about intercultural proficiency including cultural sensitivity, communication skills, openness to cultural diversity, and global mindedness. The human context and the production of actual items made the course relevant to their own lives. We focused on gaining specific skills that related to potential careers with benefits to communities and value of cultural traditions. We hoped to enlighten students to see Appalachian women as inherent scientists with long-histories of everyday scientific investigations. We focused on highlighting science as a way to explore the world around you and solve every day problems. Pre- and post-course surveys were conducted using Research in the Integrated Science Curriculum (RISC) to evaluate impacts on the students views of science. This non-threatening approach to doing science was also evaluated four years after the experience. Of the female students in the class 90% graduated with a Bachelors of Science, 30% have received a Masters of Science, and 40% are currently enrolled in PhD programs in science fields.


How can an online mentoring program help students to see and appreciate biodiversity across space, time, and scale?

Authors: Catrina Adams, Botanical Society of America

Abstract: Learn how PlantingScience.org investigation themes link biodiversity concepts with authentic science experiences. Discuss how new website platform tools related to data analysis can be used to create new investigation themes to further help participants see and appreciate biodiversity across space, time, and scale.

Description: PlantingScience.org is an online mentoring program where small teams of middle and high school students work on science investigations with help from volunteer scientists. Research is showing that the program can be an effective way to improve student achievement in plant biology, student motivation, and student attitudes about scientists. Several of our existing investigation themes touch on topics of biodiversity, especially our Pollen and Pollination theme, Wonder of Seeds seed germination and growth theme, and C-Fern plant life cycle theme. The program has recently moved to a new platform (the same platform that the QUBES group is using) that allows a suite of potential tools to enable quantitative analysis of big data sets. These tools have great potential for use in new investigation themes focused on biodiversity within the framework of the PlantingScience online mentoring program.

In this short presentation we will share information about how PlantingScience works and how participants can get involved, short summaries of a few of our investigation themes that relate to biodiversity, and how to access a suite of available open-source resources for supporting student-led plant investigations and online mentoring available on our website.

We will then describe some of the new tools that our web platform supports and lead a discussion of ideas for making use of that new capacity in terms of data literacy and biodiversity education across space, time, and scale.

We hope this preliminary discussion will lead to more focused discussions by interested parties informally during the conference and to potential future project partnerships.


Using Pitfall Traps and Diversity Indices to Test Edge Effect Theory

Authors: Paul Strode, Fairview High School

Abstract: Participants will learn about a simple weeks-long activity that engages students in quantitative reasoning in context by using diversity indices while concurrently exposing students to several ecological concepts.

Description: The Next Generation Science Standards, the AP Biology Course Description, and Vision and Change all have clear calls to action for life science teachers in middle school through college to include as many opportunities as possible in their curricula for students to practice quantitative reasoning (i.e. quantitative analysis). Quantitative reasoning is often referred to loosely as numeracy. However, Thompson (1993) has defined quantitative reasoning not as simply counting and measuring, but as the act of comparing quantities, determining differences between quantities, and analyzing those differences. Mayes and Myers (2014) have taken quantitative reasoning a step further to include quantitative reasoning within context (called QR-C). Mayes and Myers define QR-C as “mathematics and statistics applied in real-life, authentic situations that impact an individual’s life as a constructive, concerned, and reflective citizes.Indeed, a

primary and critical role of the science teacher, and in our case here, the biology teacher, is to provide students with as many opportunities as possible to practice QR-C. In this session, participants will learn about a cheap, simple, and extended lab activity can provide numerous opportunities for students to engage in QR-C. The activity concurrently exposes students to several ecological concepts within and beyond edge effect theory, provides opportunities for hypothesis testing, gives students experience in authentic data collection and field techniques, and allows for extensive practice with collaboration and science communication.


A learning progression describing grades 6-12 students understanding of ecological change over time

Authors: Alan Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Abstract: We assessed over 5000 grades 6-12 students in 5 states to create a learning progression to richly describe how students reason about ecological community structure, function, and change as a result of disturbance.

Description: Participants in this session will gain an understanding of how students across a wide range of grades reason about the causes and consequences of biodiversity in ecological communities. We assessed over 5000 grades 6-12 students in 5 states to create a learning progression to richly describe how students reason about ecological community structure, function, and change as a result of disturbance. We will share results from our research related to four trends in students reasoning that we believe can be targets of instruction: development of hierarchical systems reasoning about ecosystems, increasing use of appropriate analogies to make predictions about ecological change, increasing recognition of biological variation at all scales, and increasing understanding of communities as dynamic rather than static.  We will also describe how the learning progression relates to NGSS disciplinary core ideas, practices, and cross-cutting concepts. We will share assessments that can help educators diagnose their own students. Finally, we will share scenarios and a teaching unit that can be adapted for different grades and contexts.


Examining human impacts on tusk evolution in elephants using authentic research data sets

Authors: Kaitlin Bonner, St. John Fisher College

Abstract: Data-centric inquiry allows students to engage in the scientific process and hone their quantitative skills.  Participants will explore quantitative activities paired with HHMI’s Selection for Tuskless Elephants video to create a hands-on investigation of human impacts on elephant evolution.

Description: The successful integration of data exploration into the classroom has the potential to play a major role in the quest for quantitative literacy in undergraduate biology students. The creation of data-centric pedagogies has become easier with the increased availability of resources through the public archiving of research datasets, large-scale monitoring data, citizen science projects, and data from biological collections. This workshop combines the use of publicly-available data with HHMI video resources to create an authentic learning experience that promotes quantitative literacy skill development. The use of the videos provide context, giving the students a chance to experience the environment and collection of the data. Working with the actual research data allows students to think and act like a scientist.

In this workshop we will explore human impacts on elephant tusk evolution using HHMI’s Scientists at Work Selection for Tuskless Elephants and a research data set from Chiyo et al. (2015) on the relationship between illegal tusk harvest and recent population changes in tusk size in the African elephant that is publicly-available through Dryad Data Repositories. Participants will be introduced to three different approaches to using this data set in the classroom. These approaches are varied according to quantitative skill development level, with resources involving figure interpretation, dataset manipulation and graphing in a spreadsheet application, or dataset exploration through Radiant (an R graphical-user interface) with integrated R markdown. Participants will work through the resource that best fits their needs or interests and will leave the workshop with the necessary resources for classroom implementation. After going through the elephant evolution resources, participants will begin to explore other HHMI resources and publicly-available data sets to eventually create their own data-centric teaching module.


Connecting Evolution and Biodiversity with Systems Thinking and Global Environmental Problems

Authors: Tara Holmberg, Northwestern Connecticut Community College

Abstract: Participants will gain skills, and learn about resources, that support using a systems-thinking approach to communicate the ways evolution and biodiversity integrate with complex global environmental problems. Attendees should bring a laptop or other device to the workshop.

Description: The focus of this presentation will be on the incorporation of scale and systems connections in evolution and biodiversity through free, online, data-rich materials. Participants will also identify how sustainability topics can be integrated into their evolution and biodiversity curriculum.  This will be a hands-on, 1.5 hour workshop in which attendees will have opportunities for exploration and discussion of the resources presented, as well as ideas for future activities.

 

Exploring the Earth’s systems together can often help students construct a deeper conceptual understanding of evolution and biodiversity. It is an interdisciplinary habit of mind that educators and research scientists use regularly but that we do not often apply in the classroom.  By working with real-world problems of sustainability, incorporating data, utilizing systems thinking, and identifying the ways the varied silos of science incorporate each other, students may develop a better understanding of how science works. Specifically, how complex topics such as evolution and biodiversity are interwoven through scales of space, time, and spheres of Earth.

The resources being presented for exploration increase systems awareness for students and assist them in analyzing connections between ecology, biodiversity, evolution and the complex global environmental problems humanity faces.  I have utilized these resources in ecology, botany, and environmental science courses for many years and have seen gains in student outcomes regarding systems thinking, connection between different spheres in ecosystems, and in the connection between ecology and sustainability.

Learning outcomes include:

  • Identify systems thinking approaches at varying scales for evolution and biodiversity
  • Connect evolution and biodiversity to current issues of sustainability and environmental problems
  • Link the physical spheres to the teaching and learning of evolution and biodiversity
  • Discuss active learning approaches to the content

 


Using EBird to Promote Citizen Science as Part of an Undergraduate Conservation Biology Course

Authors: Karin Gastreich, Avila University

Abstract: EBird, created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project (http://ebird.org). Here, I describe the integration of eBird tools, including eBird and Merlin apps, to facilitate biodiversity education in an undergraduate conservation biology course.

Description: Conservation Biology (BI 363) is an upper level course at Avila University open to biology and environmental science students. The course has learning objectives centered on biodiversity conservation. Specifically, students are expected to (1) define different types of biodiversity and articulate the biological, economic, and ethical value of biodiversity; (2) identify threats to biodiversity at local, regional, national, and international levels; (3) use a combination of technology, natural history, communication, and field-based skills to contribute in meaningful ways to conservation efforts as citizens and scientists; and (4) articulate real world applications of conservation management at local, regional, national and international levels. Birds are excellent model organisms for addressing these objectives and inspiring interest in conservation. The eBird Project was conceived as a method to better connect students to their immediate environment through field experiences while using technological resources provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to engage them in a citizen science initiative of national and international importance. The project is designed as an integrated lab component and was field tested for the first time during the Fall 2018 semester. In this presentation, I will share results from this experience. The presentation will walk attendees through eBird resources (http://ebird.org), including apps used by my students as well as audiovisual materials and online data that can be accessed for multiple objectives. I will also explain my approach to training students to identify birds, reporting eBird data, and developing and presenting group projects. Results of student work will be shared, and an assessment of the project’s successes as well as challenges encountered will be provided. The presentation will be interactive, giving the audience a chance to work with eBird technologies as well as to provide feedback and ideas on how these technologies can be effectively applied to biodiversity education at multiple levels.


Experiential Learning through Natural History Collections

Authors: Adania Flemming, University of Florida;

Sorilis Ruiz Escobar, Katherine Boole, Hannah Chelgren and Johanna Schwartz

Abstract: We will outline the layout of a new undergraduate course where students are immersed into Natural History collections. We will explore the aims of the class, outcomes thus far and future aims and plans based on students reviews and feedback.

Description: Many undergraduate students begin their Biology careers on a pre-professional track, without knowledge of careers as a naturalist or museum professional. Additionally, most people are familiar with the public face of natural history museums, but research collections remain in the shadows. Museums serve extremely important roles in society, from research to education. University-based museums function as scientific institutions that can give undergraduate students an opportunity not only to gain knowledge about the natural world but also to develop skills for future careers. Through courses such as the Intro to Natural History Museums, The University of Florida harnesses the power of the Florida Museum to enrich students’ academic experience.

Aims of this course

  • Exploration of careers in museum-based research through student observation and immersion into the roles of collection personnel.
  • Prepare students for life after their undergraduate degrees.

After completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the Nature of Science
  • Explain some of the uses of museum collections
  • Perform activities used in museums for research and curation
  • Compare and explain museum collections (wet vs dry)
  • Conduct independent projects using museum specimens
  • Create a scientific poster and/or oral presentation
  • Write a paper on a scientific topic

Students from multiple disciplines can join this course. The 1st offering of this course contained 11 different majors from 4 colleges across UF campus.


The Potential of Natural History Collections in Educating the 21st Century Scientist and Citizen

Authors: Anna Monfils, Central Michigan University; Molly Phillips, University of Florida, iDigBio; Debra Linton, Central Michigan University

Abstract: Natural History collections and the mobilization of specimen-based data has opened new opportunities for education. This presentation will introduce challenges and emerging opportunities for integrating specimen-based data and natural history collections into the k-12 and undergraduate curricula.

Description: Rapid advances in data research and technology are transforming how science is conducted. The volume and variety of data being generated, the increased accessibility of data for aggregation, the improved discoverability of data, and the increasingly collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of scientific research are driving the need for new skill sets to address scientific issues of critical national and global importance. The biodiversity sciences have experienced a rapid mobilization of data that has increased capacity to investigate large-scale issues of critical importance (e.g., climate change, zoonotic disease, resource management, invasive species, and biodiversity loss). To prepare a data literate workforce that can harness the potential of biodiversity data, we need tools and strategies to engage students and help students to acquire data literacy skills. Data based on biological and paleontological specimens have unique properties that facilitate student engagement and can be used in authentic, iterative interdisciplinary investigations of complex and changing systems. In this presentation we will discuss the unique and engaging data emerging from natural history collections and how these data can be used to teach emerging data literacy competencies and core content and skills referenced in the Next Generation Science Standards and AAAS Vision and Change document. We will detail how the Biodiversity Literacy and Undergraduate Education: BLUE Data Network, iDigBio, QUBES, and ESA are working together to create resources, develop and disseminate curricular materials, and facilitate on-going opportunities to integrate collections-based data in the classroom.

https://www.biodiversityliteracy.com/

https://www.idigbio.org/

https://qubeshub.org


Great Florida Spitting Contest: An Oral Microbiome-based CURE

Authors: Eric Triplett, University of Florida

Abstract: The Microbiology and Cell Science department piloted a CURE in an online course studying the oral microbiome. In an IRB approved protocol, 128 students were asked to contribute saliva samples and complete a validated survey instrument called the KIDMED Diet Survey. Total DNA from saliva samples was extracted and used for microbiome and human SNP analysis.The next stage is to bring this online CURE to scale through development of a multi-institution statewide effort to integrate authentic, cutting edge microbiome research experiences with undergraduate STEM education in different contexts. The project is broadening participation in STEM and amplifying student engagement by bringing together urban Hispanic-serving 2-year institutions, rural community colleges, and other public comprehensive universities located across a very diverse state. This collaboration will build a large dataset that will allow for robust study of the interaction of oral microbiomes, diets, and genetic factors.Â

Description: Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURES) are recommended approaches to increase persistence and interest in STEM and may even have greater effects for improving outcomes for underprepared and underrepresented minority (URM) STEM students (Alkaher and Dolan, 2014; Rodenbusch et al., 2016; Estrada et al, 2016). The Microbiology and Cell Science department piloted a CURE in an online course studying the oral microbiome. In an IRB approved protocol, 128 students were asked to contribute saliva samples and complete a validated survey instrument called the KIDMED Diet Survey. Total DNA from saliva samples was extracted and used for microbiome and human SNP analysis. The KIDMED Diet survey is a way to measure compliance with the Mediterranean Diet.Diets of students were classified into three categories: high, medium, and low compliance with the Mediterranean diet.Based on high throughput 16S sequencing data, microbiomes were analyzed for diet associations.The microbiomes of the three diet classes all significantly differed from each other (p=0.003). Â Univariate analysis showed significant bacterial phylum and genus associations with the high, medium, and low diets.Specific dietary components also were correlated with specific taxa. Human DNA was genotyped with a SNP array and to date, one SNP was found to be significantly associated with diet and microbiome

The next stage is to bring this online CURE to scale through development of a multi-institution statewide effort to integrate authentic, cutting edge microbiome research experiences with undergraduate STEM education in different contexts. The project is broadening participation in STEM and amplifying student engagement by bringing together urban Hispanic-serving 2-year institutions, rural community colleges, and other public comprehensive universities located across a very diverse state. This collaboration will build a large dataset that will allow for robust study of the interaction of oral microbiomes, diets, and genetic factors.

This CURE pilot uses high throughput and advanced technologies, computation approaches and implements many big data tools all skills that are necessary for the next generation of the STEM workforce.


4D55


Getting squirrelly with museum datasets: An inquiry-based undergraduate activity

Authors: Lisa Walsh, University of Michigan

Abstract: VertNet is an online, NSF-funded database of museum specimens with spatial, temporal, and morphological data. Instructors will learn how to leverage this database for inquiry-based projects to highlight the scientific process for students in their own classrooms.

Description: Patterns long observed by natural historians provide an approachable stepping-stone for students to discover the scientific process. These patterns, especially in mammals, are largely associated with latitudinal gradients. Bergmann’s Rule states that animals are bigger in colder environments, an adaptation to conserve energy in harsher climates. Similarly, Allen’s Rule states that endotherms in colder environments will have shorter extremities.

The online, NSF-funded database VertNet (http://www.vertnet.org/) houses data from over 150 vertebrate zoology museums, providing instructors and their students with morphological data across time and space. Students can download the dataset for the taxa of their interest to pursue the hypothesis of their own design.  This dataset includes over 150 columns, requiring students to find the variables of interest  while accounting for errors that might occur in large datasets collected across many institutions. The large datasets available from VertNet provide students with the ability to conduct robust statistical analyses.

As an inquiry-based lab, students are welcome to pursue research questions outside of biogeographical patterns. In addition to latitudinal gradients, students can examine change overtime within a well-sampled area, morphological differences between species found in different habitats, and variation in urban and rural sites.

Instructors will learn how to navigate VertNet and an example squirrel dataset with the goal of bringing this tool into their classroom. By choosing a recognizable, charismatic animal found on most college campuses, this student-centered learning activity is accessible to students with limited previous engagement with wildlife. This activity can also be used to complement a number of lab activities including wildlife observations and measurements of museum specimens.


Inquiry module using open data and informatics to explore effect of climate on species distributions

Authors: Wendy Clement, The College of New Jersey

Abstract: This undergraduate group project combines data science with citizen science data to explore the impact of climate on plant-insect interactions through species distribution modeling. Students develop and test novel hypotheses using data science skills in R over three classes.

Description: Open data repositories, including those from citizen science efforts, are rich sources of research-grade data that are becoming key to asking and answering questions in ecology. Simultaneously, informatics tools are becoming increasingly accessible to the non-specialist and are more commonly integrated into the college curriculum of biology students. We saw a timely opportunity to mentor students in applying the scientific method using citizen science data while developing data science skills. Collaboration among a plant biologist (Wendy Clement, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)), entomologist and citizen science specialist (Kathleen Prudic, University of Arizona), and entomologist and data science specialist (Jeffrey Oliver, University of Arizona) resulted in a module that combined data science with citizen science data to explore the effects of climate change on plant-insect distributions. This module spans three, two-hour classes and guides students on how to collect, curate, and analyze citizen science data using common research computing tools: R, RStudio, Git, and GitHub. These are in silica experiments examining (1) the species distributions of butterflies and their host plants based on observations submitted to iNaturalist and (2) how those distributions may change in the future due to global climate change. Students in an upper-level course in Plant-Insect Interactions at TCNJ worked in groups of four to select a butterfly-host plant interaction native to North America. Each group downloaded and installed software, retrieved and curated citizen science data, modeled occurrence data to produce a species distribution of butterfly and host plant, and used this information to develop hypotheses on how climate change may or may not affect the future distribution of their butterfly and host plant. Finally, students tested their hypotheses using estimates of future climate variables, evaluated the strength of their results, and presented a summary of these explorations to their peers.  https://tiee.esa.org/vol/v14/experiments/clement/abstract.html


Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN): Multi-site Collaborative Research in the Classroom

Authors: Vikki Rodgers, Babson College

Abstract: EREN is a network of faculty who work together on multi-site research projects bringing hands-on data collection into the classroom. Our mission is to create a model for collaborative ecological research that generates high-quality, publishable data involving undergraduate students.

Description: EREN is a network of faculty who work together on multi-site research projects bringing hands-on data collection across space and time into the classroom. Our mission is to create a model for collaborative ecological research that generates high-quality, publishable data involving undergraduate students and brings big science to small institutions. EREN is ideally designed to ask ecological questions that can be answered by standardizing protocols allowing students to collect data and compare it across multiple sites and or points in time. In its first eight years, EREN has attracted over 300 faculty members among over 200 institutions. Projects have ranged from investigating forest, turtle, worm, and bird populations along various gradients, to studying the factors limiting the spread of invasive species in native communities. As undergraduate institutions incorporate more research into the curriculum as a matter of best practice, EREN is a useful network and resource for creating and participating in course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs). EREN has allowed many students to gain the basic skills needed by scientists and also provides an important understanding for non-scientists as to how multi-site, collaborative datasets build scientific knowledge. In this presentation I will introduce participants to EREN, provide some reasoning for why EREN works, discuss the various projects and their current status, as well as encourage new members and new project ideas.


Approaching the Application of Inquiry-Based Pedagogy Through The Wolbachia Project

Authors: L. Clara Mabour, Ashley Bacigalupi and Lindsay Bruce – Broward Schools/Northeast High School

Abstract: This presentation covers using a tested method of having students conduct data-driven scientific research in the classroom by applying the Wolbochia Project. Through this activity, students will be able to understand evolutionary mechanisms, endosymbiosis, biodiversity, ecological niche modeling, data collection, and data analysis.

Description: The purpose of this presentation is to inform teachers of the Wolbachia project, how to apply it and the benefits of including research/inquiry-based data-driven lessons in the classroom.

The learning objectives covered include studying mechanisms of evolution, interactions between organisms in a community and endosymbiosis, protocols for DNA extraction, Polymerase Chain reaction, and a BLAST search. Students will be able to understand and apply concepts of biological niche modeling and comparative genetics as well data collection and analysis. Students will learn interdisciplinary skills in presentation methods, development of research papers, and the exploration of credible sources.  In addition, students will work on collaborating with their peers and working individually to develop hypotheses and design experiments.

Participants will learn to apply the learning objectives listed above to produce an innovative learning experience for their students.  Participants will learn methods for having students conduct scientific research in the classroom. In the process, they will also improve their depth of knowledge on the objectives. Participants can apply the concepts from this presentation among diverse populations of students and can create an equitable opportunity for individuals and groups to conduct scientific research. The long form nature of this project can provide extension and enrichment opportunities for students across age groups and socio-economic backgrounds.

The method for disseminating the presentation will be through a 20-minute visual presentation following a 10-minute Q&A, however, this may be equally successful as a hands-on workshop. For the former, the materials would include a printed presentation, PowerPoint presentation (computer and projector). For the workshop materials will include the solutions, equipment, space, to extract DNA from a specimen, conduct a PCR, and run a blast test.

 

https://my.vanderbilt.edu/discover/


Development and Testing of Competencies for Experimentation in Biology

Authors: Nancy Pelaez, Purdue University; Michelle A. Harris University of Wisconsin– Madison

Abstract: Biology educators are focusing increasingly on biological experimentation. However, at K12 and undergrad levels, surprisingly little is known about whether students are developing experimentation abilities. This workshop is for educators who will collaborate in measuring basic competence in biology experimentation.

Description: The Advancing Competence for Experimentation in Biology (ACE-Bio) Network was formed with funding from the National Science Foundation to tap expertise with the overarching goal of developing a set of competencies, assessments and recommendations for biology education in the area of experimentation. The lack of reliable assessments to measure basic competence in biology experimentation precludes researchers from validating claims about whether particular Anticipated Learning Outcomes (ALOs) are indeed developed (Verified Learning Outcomes, VLOs) in students who are taught about scientific inquiry and creative problem solving through biological experimentation. The ACE-Bio network has developed a framework describing the competencies and skills required for expertise in biology experimentation (http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pibergiim/4). Prior to the workshop:

  1. All attendees will be invited to (a) review Basic Competencies of Biological Experimentation framework as an Anticipated Learning Outcomes (ALOs) guideline, and (b) bring examples of intellectually-demanding activities and students work that have allowed them to observe difficulties the students have encountered with experimentation and how they used their knowledge and scientific reasoning to resolve the issues. (Attendees may receive a stipend if they complete tasks prior and contact presenters prior to the workshop)

During the workshop:

  1. Discuss our Basic Competencies of Biological Experimentation framework as an Anticipated Learning Outcomes (ALOs) guideline.
  2. Intro: open-ended conversation – find out what the participants understand abodifficulties with biological experimentation and how they know.
  3. Think pair shar find out how they would assess the difficulties discussed to get an image of their assessment practices.
  4. Participants will divide into working groups to:
  5. Fill out Assessment Coversheet for addressing specific experimentation ALOs.
  6. Metatag the participant-provided assessments and/or individual assessment questions they previously designed, according to ACE-Bio ALOs, then look for examples of VLOs in the answer key and typical responses provided, where student data exist.
  7. Examine assessments from other participants and give feedback on the various assessments for detecting student difficulties with experimentation.
  8. Based on mutual interest within the ACE-Bio competencies and with support and guidance from the ACE-Bio network, working groups will set up an asynchronous post-workshop timeline to share assessments of biological experimentation abilities.

Where is Delftia? Connecting Courses, Faculty, and Undergraduate Students in Search of a Unique Microbe

Authors: Carlos Christopher Goller, NC State University

Abstract: We have connected several courses to raise campus awareness of microbiomes and how molecular biology tools are necessary to learn about exciting but often understudied microbes. This workshop addresses challenges and opportunities to address core concepts with this educational approach.

Description: Delftia acidovorans is a unique and understudied microbe with attractive genetic features. This bacterium can biomineralize gold and could be used to extract precious metals from recycled electronics. Delftia has been found in soil, wastewater treatment plants, and even filters from space stations! We utilize Delftia acidovorans to teach students about molecular biology techniques and microbiomes by connecting several courses in the search for Delftia on our campus. We engage introductory courses in this project by coming to their classes to talk about Delftia, its “gold gene,” and microbiomes. We then provide students with swabs to survey the campus. Next, undergraduate researchers and participants in an upper-level metagenomics course process the samples to detect Delftia, analyze the microbiomes, and sequence a gene involved in gold biomineralization. Together, over a hundred students produce and analyze data every semester that expand our knowledge of the microbiomes associated with Delftia and the evolution of this organism and its “gold gene.” Our purpose is to raise awareness of the biodiversity surrounding us and how molecular biology tools are necessary to learn about exciting but often understudied microbes.

 

Participants in this workshop will learn about the challenges and advantages of the multi-course campus-wide approach we are creating. Learning outcomes for this workshop include: to identify resources to develop similar projects on other campuses, to list the advantages and disadvantages of multi-course and citizen science approaches to exploring microbiomes, and to explain the ways evidence-based teaching approaches can be used to take full advantage of collaborative methods such as this one. An example of our campus-wide challenge can be found here: https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/wolfpack-citizen-science-challenge/spring-2018

 


What does it mean to be a Tree Tender?

Authors: Rachel Wellman, Boca Raton Community High School

Abstract: Unbeknownst to most, we are a society of phylogenetic Tree Tenders. Our actions and the daily decisions we make affect ecosystem services, which can change the direction of evolutionary biology and the future of humanity. Technology can help our understanding.

Description: Tree Tender is a film produced by The Florida Museum of Natural History and their

collaborators to help the public understand the framework of a phylogenetic tree, the

importance of biodiversity, and the role of the human element in the natural world (https://www.treetender.org/). This presentation provides a lesson plan that teachers of high school science can use as a guide to keep students engaged using available technology (i.e. Chromebooks) while learning and/or reinforcing high school Florida CPALMS and national NGSS standards. Ideally, students in one classroom will have their own computer to access Google Tools including Google Classroom, Docs, and Forms. After a pre-test bellringer assignment students will watch the 15 minute film as a class, take part in a class discussion, use an online interactive tool provided by National Geographic (GIS in Action – https://www.nationalgeographic.org/education/multimedia/interactive/maps-tools-gis-action/), learn how modern scientists use technology such as GIS to help us understand human impacts on the environment, and how we can be better Tree Tenders.


How Ecologists Rate the Utility of Ecological Concepts

Authors: Derek Reiners, Florida Gulf Coast University

Abstract: This presents the findings of a survey completed by 1,324 Ecological Society of America members, which asked them to rate the importance 131 popular ecological concepts derived from four popular undergraduate textbooks.

Description: I am making this submission with a touch of hesitation because, in some ways it does not fit any of the specific categories and methodologies described in the conference program. But I also think that the presentation would be massively interesting to ecological educators, and I have been looking specifically for a conference that combines ecology and education to present this. My co-authors and I conducted a survey of over 1,300 ESA members asking them to rate the importance of 131 ecological concepts methodically selected from four popular undergraduate ecology textbooks. We have conducted a thorough analysis, which provides ratings overall and by classifications including age, gender, education, employment, research area, and more. So while the findings don’t specifically fit into the categories of scale, space, or time, they do rate these concepts themselves. The reason we think this would be of interest to ecological educators is because it presents, in essence, a conceptual map of the ecological community showing where concepts stand in their relationship with each other in terms of utility. Educators may find it instructive to see the current “direction” of ecology, reflected in what concepts are currently deemed useful and less useful by the ecological community (and ecological community subgroups). Finding themselves in agreement or disagreement with general or particular concept ratings, this information may, in turn, motivate educators and education publishers to emphasize or de-emphasize certain concepts in teaching and curriculum development.