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Short Presentations

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

Information for LDC Presenters

Click the links below to read the descriptions of each presentation. Please note that all sessions are held in Eastern Time.

Friday, March 24th

9:45-10:15 AM ET

2:30-3:00 PM ET

3:15-3:45 PM ET

Saturday, March 25th

9:15-9:45 AM ET

10:00-10:30 AM ET


Friday Short Presentation Abstracts and Descriptions

Friday, March 24th, 9:45-10:15 AM ET

The silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance

Presenter: Ashvini Chauhan, Florida A&M University

Co-Presenter: Ashish Pathak

Room: Grand Ballroom (room 106), Efferson Student Union

Abstract: By the year 2050, multiple drug-resistant (MDR) bacterial infections will cause more deaths relative to cancer, which is currently the number one cause of human mortalities. This presentation will focus on the structure and functions of native microbiota within former nuclear weapons production facilities that remain contaminated with heavy metals. Discussions will facilitate ideas to mitigate a bacterial pandemic that may be the next global pandemic.

Description: The four dimensions of core ecology will be the central thread of this presentation. These four dimensions will include Core Ecological Concepts (how do microbes form the basis of our biosphere), Ecology Practices (basic techniques of studying microbial ecology), Human-Environment interactions (how are anthropogenic pollutants impacting our human and ecological health), and Cross-Cutting Themes (spatio-temporal analysis, environmental perturbation, and evolution of adaptive traits). , quantitative reasoning, computational thinking, designing and critiquing investigations, and collaboration.

Intended Audience: High School and Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division

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Iterative assessment for evaluating the dynamics of understanding evolution

Presenter: Andrew Martin, University of Colorado 

Co-presenter: Spencer Buck 

Room: SGA 100, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: Talk and discussion focuses on variation in student understanding of evolution over time revealed by implementing and analyzing a free-response assessment multiple times during a semester. The approach combines learning theory, a discovery framework from AI research, and multivariate methods of analysis from ecology to reveal student pathways towards a coherent understanding. 

Description: One theoretical framework for learning is that knowledge exists in pieces. Understanding emerges by developing a coherent and stable integration of multiple ideas. When learning gains are evaluated iteratively, over time, it is clear that the mental constructs representing key ideas are dynamic. Here we develop an assessment framework that enables estimation of the dynamic nature of mental constructs as students make gains towards coherency of knowledge and understanding. The framework emphasizes the value of iterative assessment combined with multivariate methods borrowed from ecology for revealing and following gains in student thinking. We apply our framework for monitoring and describing student gains in their abilities to visualize and describe the process of evolution. We implemented a general free-response assessment at four evenly-spaced times during a semester in two different evolutionary biology classes during spring 2021. We analyzed 276 visualizations and text answers to a single open-ended question from 102 different students. Based on a binary rubric of 10 key ideas, students showed evidence of gains and losses of key ideas over time, and their learning trajectories were diverse and dynamic. Our findings revealed students take a multitude of pathways to concept mastery and that they struggled to succinctly construct and communicate comprehensive evolutionary models. The conceptual and analytical framework is useful for data-driven revision of curriculum, teaching strategies, and assessment for achieving coherency and stability of knowledge.

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Lower Division

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Lesson Plans and Lessons Learned from the Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners  CANCELLED

Presenter: Suzanne Macey, American Museum of Natural History 

Abstract: The pandemic is challenging us to rethink teaching and learning. The Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP) latest issue of Lessons in Conservation focuses on educators’ reflections and active learning resources for both in-person and online settings. 

Description: The Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP) a collaborative program of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History – builds conservation capacity worldwide by improving access to educational resources and providing training in effective teaching practices. NCEP has developed over 180 teaching and training resources (called “modules”) for post-secondary educators in eight languages on diverse conservation topics, from biodiversity basics to data-driven exercises and interdisciplinary case studies. Our modules are easily downloadable, modifiable, peer-reviewed, open-access, multi-component resources that target educational outcomes central to conservation practice and are available at Each year, we highlight selected modules in Lessons in Conservation, the official journal of NCEP (available at Each open-access issue has a theme, such as freshwater ecosystems, student learning, or conservation stakeholders. The 2022 issue of Lessons in Conservation focuses on the challenges and shifts in teaching and learning during the pandemic by highlighting a series of perspectives from educators in the NCEP community of practice. The issue also presents a collection of active learning materials, including case studies on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, an in-person and online stakeholder role-play activity, a concept mapping activity of a complex human-wildlife scenario, and an interactive online conservation planning mapping exercise. 

This presentation will recap the lessons learned and the reflections of the NCEP community’s experience during the pandemic. We will provide an overview of the recently published educational modules and emphasize the opportunities these materials provide for active, hands-on, and collaborative learning. While these materials were not explicitly designed with the 4DEE or the Vision and Change Frameworks in mind, we will engage the audience to consider our recommendations for where these materials align with standards and offer an opportunity for discussion during the Q & A period. 

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division

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Agriculture Undergraduate 

Presenter: Monica Burr, Alcorn State University

Co-presenter: Adam Kay, St. Thomas University    

Room: 104C, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: Growing attrition from STEM majors is occurring in part because content and activities can seem disconnected from real-world challenges. I will describe a network making undergraduate biology education more tangible through engaging programming using urban agriculture as a model. 

Description: Active learning in undergraduate biology education is essential for engaging the diverse pool of scholars needed to address pressing environmental and social challenges. However, as highlighted in the AAAS Vision & Change report, active-learning formats are difficult to scale and their incorporation into STEM teaching varies widely. These challenges to active learning were exacerbated by the social isolation mandated by the pandemic and will likely reemerge with future disruptions.  

Here, I will describe how urban agriculture as a theme can significantly increase active learning in undergraduate biology education and contribute to the Four-Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) framework. Urban agriculture can serve as a cross-cutting theme for undergraduate engagement by framing biology core concepts in the context of two pressing global issues: urbanization and sustainable agriculture. Many outcomes of urban agriculture, such as food production, are easy to visualize and make tangible core ecological concepts such as reproduction, development, herbivory, and productivity. Urban agriculture is also well suited for teaching core Ecology practices such as experimental design, applied statistics, interactions, and systems thinking. Maybe most importantly, urban agriculture provides practical opportunities for field experiences and provides a range of environmental and social benefits, helping students become part of positive change with local communities. These practical and community-oriented features should help ecology educators continue to provide relevant course content in the face of pandemic-related challenges  

I will describe a network, Training Undergraduate Biologists using urban Agriculture (TUBA), that is working to incorporate urban agriculture into ecology education. Network activities include the development of course modules and cross-network course-based undergraduate research that can engage students in relevant and impactful science. It also provides exciting professional opportunities for educators from diverse institutions who seek to help students have distinctive and meaningful experiences that can help them achieve their career goals. 

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division

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Friday, March 24th, 2:30-3:00 PM ET

The Challenges and Opportunities of Teaching Pandemic Mismatch, Ignorance and Plurality

Presenter: Richard Schulterbrandt Gragg III, Florida A&M University

Co-presenter: Almondo Morain and Hannah Lowenthal, Florida A&M University

Room: Grand Ballroom (room 106), Efferson Student Union

Abstract: The purpose of this workshop is to share how, culturally relevant and responsive, Covid issues and answers were addressed and delivered in a combined course of undergraduate: upper division and graduate environmental science students.

Description: The purpose of this workshop is to share how, culturally relevant and responsive, Covid issues and answers were addressed and delivered in a combined course of undergraduate: upper division and graduate environmental science students. Participants will learn how the instructor utilizes discussions groups; independent research; news and scholarly research; science-based policy versus policy-based science; scale and cross-scale dynamics; student agency/voice; undergraduate/graduate interactions; and how these activities were received by the students. Participants will gain insights into methods and practices utilized to address various learning styles. The main learning objective is to engage participants in an integrated science and policy approach as an accessible framework for teaching Core Ecological Concepts; Ecology Practices; Human-Environment Interactions; and Cross-Cutting Themes (

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Higher Division and Graduate

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Preventing Pandemics: An Interdisciplinary Introduction to Academic Writing and Collaboration 

Presenter: Miranda Welsh, Duke University 

Room: 001 (Rattler’s Den), Efferson Student Union

Abstract: This project-based, first-year undergraduate course uses the topic of epidemics to illustrate the value of interdisciplinary approaches to complex problems. Student teams investigate contemporary epidemics from several disciplinary perspectives to develop skills in literature research, academic writing, and collaboration. 

Description: The premise of the course is that our understandings of disease are predominantly shaped by a few select disciplines (e.g., biomedicine, epidemiology). Their contributions are substantial and the interventions they inform save countless lives. Still, they can’t fully explain why epidemics are increasingly frequent, why they’re concentrated in certain regions, why some populations are disproportionately affected, and why people resist containment measures. To fully understand epidemics, and to develop more effective, sustainable, and equitable interventions, we need to consider the ecological, social, and cultural contexts in which they occur.  

 Students use the topic of epidemics to engage with each of the dimensions of the 4DEE framework throughout the semester. First, we conduct an interdisciplinary case study of an epidemic together. Then, students work in three-member teams to research their own epidemic and co-write a paper. Each team member investigates their epidemic from a different disciplinary perspective (ecological, political/economic, or anthropological/cultural) and presents their results in one of three sub-sections of the paper. Team members collaborate to revise their sub-sections, research and compose an introduction, and craft a conclusion. The conclusion applies their collective results to make specific recommendations and to identify where different perspectives suggest conflicting solutions. In this presentation, I will focus on the second part of the course, discussing tools and strategies for managing student collaboration and co-writing.  

Learning objectives: (1) describe environmental and social determinants of disease emergence, transmission, and impact, and how they interact across multiple scales to make particular populations and locales vulnerable; (2) engage with the work of others, including our peers; (3) provide constructive feedback, critically incorporate feedback; (4) research, articulate, defend (and revise!) a position; (5) develop an awareness of writing context (e.g., discipline, genre, audience) to enable transfer to new situations; (6) establish and maintain effective and productive collaborations. 

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division

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Case Study Student Project Framework: Genomic Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 Variants 

Presenter: Maria Stanko, New Jersey Institute of Technology 

Room: SGA 100, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: Presentation of a framework for a scaffolded ‘research’ project designed for a large introductory biology class. In the primary example presented, students predict new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, requiring application of concepts and skills (mutation, gene expression, graphing, writing) to current events. 

Description: Presentation of a framework for a scaffolded ‘research’ case study project designed for a large introductory biology class. The framework guides students through working with data and producing a sophisticated final product and following the scientific process from initial observations through to applying their knowledge to decision making. Students build the project in parts, which are peer-reviewed using rubrics and scored for completion – only the final synthesized project is graded. The primary example presented uses genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 as the system, requiring application of concepts and skills (mutation, gene expression, graphing, writing) to current events. Alternative project scenarios on Lyme disease ecology, designing a genetic test, and genetics of a cancer diagnosis have also been designed using this framework and assigned to students.  Participants will examine a framework that can be modified for a variety of case studies and scenarios, practice a specific example of engaging students in applying introductory biology concepts and skills (mutation, gene expression, graphing, writing) to current events, and discuss student and instructor experiences of implementation of this framework over multiple sections and semesters.  The SARS-CoV-2 variants example emphasizes concepts in evolution and genetics aligned with the 4DEE framework.  Students review core concepts of interaction between pathogens and hosts, utilize practices of data visualization and analysis, evaluating claims, and arguing from evidence, and explore cross-cutting themes of mutation and evolutionary change. 

Intended Audience: High School and Undergraduate Lower Division

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Uncovering Hidden Figures of Natural History Collections Using Digital Data Sleuthing & Storytelling 

Presenter: Molly Phillips, BioQUEST 

Room: 104C, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: In this presentation we will introduce a series of modules meant to train the next generation of scientists to be data sleuths and storytellers, engaging learners in authentic research experiences within a social justice framework using open tools and resources. 

Description: In natural history collections, beyond information on taxonomy and when and where a specimen was collected, are the names of people who collected and/or identified those specimens. However, we rarely get the opportunity to get to know who these people are. Besides, human names tending to be poor identifiers (not unique or stable), many times only a single person is credited with collecting and/or identifying a species, even when several people assisted. This practice leads to inequities in who is named, and therefore who receives credit and acclaim for the collecting and describing of the natural world.  

New tools are being developed such as ORCID, Bionomia, and WikiData to help create and improve tracking and linking the human-side of biodiversity data. These tools are free and open, meaning anyone can help add and improve data about the people involved in documenting biodiversity. In this presentation, we will introduce participants to a series of modules developed as part of a 2022 BIOME Institute working group which guides learners through the process of using these tools to document hidden figures in collections as well as what we can do to raise awareness and highlight underrepresented scientists through storytelling when the data are missing or nonexistent. The “Hidden Figures” module series aligns with the 4DEE framework in many ways including Ecology Practices: natural history and working collaboratively. 

Authors: Adania Flemming (iDigBio, Florida Museum, University of Florida) 

Jennifer Kovacs (Agnes Scott College) 

Makenzie E. Mabry (iDigBio, Florida Museum, University of Florida) 

Molly Phillips (BioQUEST) 

Olubunmi Aina (Allen University) 

Shawn Zeringue-Krosnick (Tennessee Tech University)  

Siobhan Leachman (Independent, Wikimedian and Data Curator) 

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division

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Friday, March 24th, 3:15-3:45 PM ET

Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience for Students Under-represented in Biology (CURESUB) 

Presenter: Prabir Mandal, Edward Waters University

Co-presenter:  Anita Mandal, Edward Waters University 

Room: 104C, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) are increasingly common because they engage undergraduates in research at schools that lack substantial research infrastructure or simply can’t accommodate large undergraduate populations in internship-style research. We at Edward Waters University propose to establish a research coordination network (RCN) that enhances undergraduate biology education by capitalizing on the advantages of course-based undergraduate research experience in OMICS as a model system. 

Description: Undergraduate attrition from science fields is a significant problem in the United States; less than 40% of U.S. students (and 20% of students from underrepresented groups) who start university with an interest in STEM actually graduate with a STEM degree. Attrition from science fields contributes to a shortage of available science and health professionals and teachers and represents lost investments for students. Science attrition is particularly pronounced in underrepresented groups, which are needed to diversify perspectives. The objective of this proposal is to initiate, develop, and implement the course-based undergraduate research experience for students underrepresented in biology. Incorporating research experiences in undergraduate curriculum is a major goal of this proposal. The first generation and underrepresented student populations may be further constrained by a lack of awareness of the benefits of undergraduate research and other barriers. Advances in technologies and informatics used to generate and process large biological data sets (OMICS) are promoting a critical shift in the study of biomedical sciences. 

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Upper Division

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Exploring the Effects of Invasion on Plant Morphology: a BCEENET Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience 

Presenter: Caroline DeVan, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Room: 001 (Rattler’s Den), Efferson Student Union 

Abstract: This presentation will introduce the audience to a course-based undergraduate research experience that allows students to explore morphological impacts of invasion on plants using digitized natural history collections.   Examples of implementation in both online and in-person classes will be shared. 

Description: This presentation will provide an overview of Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) developed by the Biological Collections in Ecology & Evolution Network (BCEENET), with an emphasis on the “Exploring the Effects of Invasion on Plant Morphology” CURE.  These inclusive CURES are available for use in classrooms and are published on QUBES.  The goal of the presentation is to introduce audience members to this specific CURE, share examples of its implementation in courses held both online and in-person, and engage the audience in brainstorming new directions of research using similar tools.   

The “Morphology” CURE seeks to test the hypothesis – “plant morphology differs in a plant’s native and introduced range” using digitized natural history collections data.   During the CURE students develop predictions to test this hypothesis. They then collect and analyze morphological data from specimens found on iDigBio.  By the end of the project students write up and present their results and propose follow-up studies.  The original project focused on purple loosestrife but has since been expanded to additional invasive species. CURE has been taught in a variety of undergraduate courses across all levels of undergraduate education.   

Undergraduate research increases student engagement, retention, and long-term success and is essential for building a scientifically literate and engaged workforce. Embedding research experiences in biology and environmental science coursework is especially important for low income, first-generation, and minority undergraduate students unable to dedicate time to research outside their normal course load due to personal and financial barriers. BCEENET CUREs utilize digital data resources and require only access to computers and the internet, broadening the range of institutional types able to offer CURE experiences.  Additionally, this CURE’s theme is relevant to the 4DEE framework dimension of Human-Environment Interactions through its emphasis on invasion biology while also addressing several Core Ecological Concepts and Ecology Practices.    

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division

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Promoting the Spread of Positive Student Attitudes About Plants and Scientists via Online Mentoring 

Presenter: Jennifer Hartley, Botanical Society of America

Co-presenter: Catrina Adams, Botanical Society of America 

Room: Grand Ballroom (room 106), Efferson Student Union

Abstract: As climate change and food shortages loom, increasing students’ interest in plants and science professions is increasingly important. With this in mind, PlantingScience enables science professionals to mentor high school+ students as they explore plant-related concepts in the classroom. 

Description: Most teen-aged and young adult students in the United States have little to no access to professional scientists, and they primarily experience plants as either scenery or food.  Looking ahead to the increasing importance of science careers and plant science given threats posed by climate change and food insecurity, the need to increase science literacy and plant awareness is greater now than it has ever been, 

During this presentation, we will explain the principles upon which the PlantingScience program was founded and demonstrate how a typical session works for both scientist mentors and classroom students.  As an example, we will focus on our ‘Tree-Mendous Benefits of Trees’ module, which addresses the following essential questions: 

  • What role do trees play in supporting life on Earth?
  • What constitutes ‘evidence’ in scientific discussions?
  • How does the group’s data fit into its own model of tree growth and function?
  • What role does the environment play (biotic and abiotic) in tree health and growth?

Participants will have free download access to all the materials related to this module, as well as to the other modules we offer. 

We will also present the results of our 2016 research initiative called, ‘Digging Deeper’, which explored the effectiveness of the PlantingScience program in promoting student understanding of the concepts explored, as well as creating positive associations for students with respect to scientists and science professions.  As we look ahead to the replication of this research scheduled for 2023, we hope to encourage high school educators to consider applying to take part in the study, and to encourage early-career scientists to consider acting as mentors.

Intended Audience: High School

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Making Ecology More Inclusive: Student Perspectives 

Presenter: Felix “Javi” Berrios Ortega, University of Puerto Rico-Humacao 

Co-Presenter: Khanh Ton and Tatjana Washington

Room: SGA 100, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: This presentation provides an overview of how RCN-UNIDE seeks to increase human diversity outreach in undergraduate ecological education by emphasizing the importance of elevating students’ voices in developing meaningful interventions 

Description: Addressing human-environment interactions as one of the ESA 4DEE pillars must include grappling with barriers for broadening participation. RCN-UNIDE ( is a network-building grant oriented toward increasing racial diversity in ecology by intervening in what it means to train ecologists in the field and in the classroom. Essential to this network is the Student Advisory Board (SAB), which is comprised of 12 undergraduate and 3 graduate students from underrepresented groups, and from 13 different universities across 10 states as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. The SAB provides a unique opportunity for the faculty Steering Committee to learn directly from students’ perspectives. This dialogue has resulted in at least 5 distinct student-initiated activities that the SAB will implement over the course of a year. These collaboratively generated activities are all centered around increasing the visibility of people of color already in ecology at different stages of their careers and increasing the visibility of ecology for people of color, a task that includes challenging what counts as ecology. This presentation provides an overview of how RCN-UNIDE seeks to increase human diversity in undergraduate ecological education and emphasizes the importance of elevating students’ voices in developing meaningful interventions.

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division

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Saturday Short Presentation Abstracts and Descriptions

Saturday, March 25th, 9:15-9:45 AM ET 

Focus Questions: Why This is my Best Year Teaching Biology 

Presenter: Thomas Oviatt, Fairview High School

Room: SGA 100, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: We will discuss using STeLLA modeled focus questions at the beginning of units/lessons as a way to improve student engagement, agency, and inclusion as they learn biology. 

Description: Over the last 18 years, BSCS Science Learning has developed a teaching and learning approach called STeLLA. This approach has two main prongs: student and teacher. The student prong is focused on making student thinking visible through questioning strategies designed to reveal, support and to challenge student thinking, as well as improve student science communication skills. The teacher prong is focused on strategies to create coherent science content storylines. Traditionally, learning goals or objectives are presented to students at the beginning of a class, lesson, or unit. However, the STeLLA research has shown that this is actually a teacher planning step that should be teacher-facing, not student-facing. This school year, my professional learning goal is to improve student engagement in the learning process and to promote student agency in their acquiring of new knowledge. To that end, I have started using the STeLLA learning strategy of implementing student-facing focus questions at the beginning of my lessons/units of study instead of learning goals. Indeed, students should develop their own science understandings with guidance from the teacher instead of being told what to think or being given a set of science facts. My plan for the first half of this 30-minute presentation is to discuss with the participants what I have attempted to do, how I have done it, and what I have learned through implementing this strategy in the classroom. In the second half of the session, I would like to hear from the participants their thoughts and experiences with using similar questioning strategies, ultimately arriving at a discussion of sharing best practices for improving student engagement, agency, and inclusion. 

Intended Audience: High School and Undergraduate Lower Division

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Using Big Data in Biology Courses for Non-Science Majors – the Mosquito Module 

Presenter: Anja Kade, University of Alaska Fairbanks 

Room: Grand Ballroom, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: In our online teaching module, undergraduate students examine Alaska mosquito diversity in space and time by exploring publicly available data through our ShinyApp, which integrates biological and climatological information from the National Ecological Observatory Network. 

Description: We are a team of educators and data scientists passionate about sharing big data science with undergraduate students to help them gain data literacy skills for future careers. We are part of the NSF-funded RCN-UBE initiative Alaska Data for Undergraduate Educational Modules, which focuses on incorporating online biological data and data science into undergraduate education in Alaska. With a thematic focus on Alaska’s changing environment, we developed an online teaching module on Mosquito Diversity in Alaska in Space and Time aimed at non-science majors. This learning tool provides students with basic information on mosquito biology and presents data on mosquito occurrences that were collected by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) at five sites along a latitudinal gradient in Alaska. Students can explore data on the emergence and abundance of several mosquito species common to the Arctic and analyze connected temperature and precipitation data using a ShinyApp. In addition, the teaching module includes links to key data sets (NEON and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility), resources for educators such as a lesson plan, pre- and post-assessment questions and instructional background material, and links to related resources such as mosquitoes in the news and indigenous ways of knowing.  

We will introduce session participants to our teaching module, which addresses four-dimensional ecology education by integrating core concepts of population biology, quantitative-reasoning skills, implications of climate change and comparisons across space and time. This facilitated access to online data repositories will enrich educational outcomes through inquiry while improving quantitative skills and encouraging the use of publicly available data to explore and better understand the natural world. 

Intended Audience: High School and Undergraduate Lower Division

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Engaging Students in Authentic Scientific Investigations Through Citizen Science 

Presenter: Sarah Jones, Chicago Botanic Garden 

Room: 104C, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: Discover how to engage students in authentic research! Citizen science provides a unique, accessible way to launch student investigations while reinforcing ecological concepts.  Come join Budburst, an education-focused citizen science project investigating climate change’s impact on plants, pollinators, and ecosystems. 

Description: Citizen science gives students the unique opportunity to participate in authentic research, and thus develop many of the science skills outlined in standards such as NGSS, Vision and Change, and 4DEE. This presentation introduces educators to using citizen science in the classroom and features ( as an example of a project that can engage diverse student populations in both remote and in-person contexts while reinforcing key ecological concepts/themes. 

Since 2007, Budburst has brought together scientists and members of the public to investigate how Human-Environment Interactions and climate change affect plants and pollinators. By engaging in Budburst, students learn Ecology Practices by conducting fieldwork wherever they are, submitting observations of plants and/or pollinators, generating their own questions, and querying a national database to assist in their investigations. Examples of student research questions include: ˜How can we attract pollinators to our campus throughout the year? and “How does temperature affect the timing of flowering in a native tree population”  

All Budburst research projects relate to the timing of plant life cycle events (phenology), such as flowering, and fruiting. Plant phenology is complex, influenced by numerous abiotic factors such as temperature, and tied to many important biological processes at different scales.  Climate change-induced shifts in plant phenology can have widespread effects on larger ecosystems, impacting plant-pollinator interactions, seasonal migrations, and human activities. By exploring such topics, many of which are Core Ecological Concepts, students can better understand the interconnectedness of living systems, human-environment interactions, and more.  

 By the end of this presentation, educators will be able to: 

 (1) Explain how community science can enhance student learning and identify projects appropriate for their classroom 

 (2) Facilitate student participation in Budburst projects and explain their relevance to ecology 

 (3) Access free resources to support participation and deepen student knowledge of related concepts

Intended Audience: High School and Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division


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Saturday, March 25th, 10:00-10:30 AM ET

Population and Economic Growth: Effect Upon Deforestation – Data Inquiry in the High School Classroom 

Presenter: James Lehner, The Taft School 

Room: Grand Ballroom, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: Many websites can provide valid, current information that can be used to yield important relationships between various categories of study.  Students will research deforestation, economic and population growth and the pandemic impact to yield patterns and gain skills. 

Description: A strong theme of any high school ecology class that follows the 4DEE model should be the relationship between economic and population growth and the effect of those changes on the ecology of a region.  Students can be taught to effectively use both quantitative and spatial data to determine at least a correlation between these factors while also gaining valuable skills such as hypothesis creation, research using GIS or a close facsimile, data analysis, table and graph creation using spreadsheets and writing persuasive concluding statements.  

 Students will be presented with a region or country or the planet to investigate to determine if there is a relationship between economic growth, population growth and deforestation, as well as possibly researching the effect of the recent pandemic on deforestation or perhaps reforestation. Possible sources of data include Our World in Data, the EIA and Global Forest Watch. 

Intended Audience: High School and Undergraduate Lower Division 


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DataVersify: Humanizing and Diversifying Scientist Role Models in Data Literacy Instruction 

Presenter: Melissa Kjelvik, Michigan State University

Room: SGA 100, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: Strategies and resources demonstrating the use of scientist profiles in tandem with data literacy instruction will be shared. I will present results from our efficacy study, which examined how the inclusion of diverse scientist role models in undergraduate instruction affected student attitudes. 

Description: The majority of scientists featured in educational resources do not reflect the diversity within the scientific community, nor do they match the identities of students reached by these resources.  

Stereotype boost theory posits that increasing the visibility of successful scientists (i.e. role models) with diverse backgrounds will positively impact students who have been traditionally excluded from science. In this presentation, strategies and resources will be shared to demonstrate the use of role models and their stories in tandem with data literacy instruction. 

Specifically, I will introduce the pairing of Project Biodiversify ( scientist profiles with Data Nuggets ( activities written by those same scientists. These merged data literacy activities were created with authentic data collected by scientists from a variety of historically excluded backgrounds.  

In addition, I will share results from our efficacy study, which examined how the inclusion of diverse scientist role models in undergraduate instruction affected student attitudes towards STEM careers and science in general. We varied the type of information given to students, with treatments containing either (i) the data activity only, (ii) the data activity paired with a picture of the scientist, or (iii) the data activity paired with pictures of the scientist along with a written interview including humanizing elements (such as upbringing, families, or hobbies) about the scientist. By comparing these treatments, we assess which aspects drive the efficacy of classroom materials featuring scientific role models. 

Intended Audience: High School and Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division


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Getting back to ecology: Making Connections to Sustainability Through the 4DEE Framework 

Presenter: Erica Tietjen, Nevada State College

Room: 104C, Efferson Student Union

Abstract: In higher education, sustainability-focused campus initiatives have grown. The Four-Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) framework provides an opportunity to expose students to the value and relevance of ecological science to sustainability, particularly through the human-environment interaction dimension. I will share my experiences with undergraduate learners as they have worked toward making those connections. 

Description: The concept of sustainability is often abstract, but in practice it is applied to how we live, work and make decisions that consider the long-term futures of environmental (and ostensibly ecological), social and economic well-being. In higher education, opportunities to develop sustainability-focused campus culture have grown significantly, in which students engage in initiatives that address campus and community, and even global-facing, issues (see efforts by AASHE, Students become interested in these activities informed by a diversity of lived experiences; some feel compelled to “make a difference” via campus community service, or to “help save their environment” through more sustainable practices that feel good or productive to accomplish. Students are often unaware of the ecological underpinnings that drive these decisions, but the Four-Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) framework provides an excellent opportunity to expose students to the value and relevance of ecological science, particularly through the human-environment interaction dimension. Nevada State College learners involved in sustainability activities (e.g., personal resource use audits, photo documentation and storytelling, campus community outreach) had the opportunity to reflect on their understanding of the concepts of sustainability and ecology, both before and after engaging in these activities. Students in a mixed-major course in general ecology tended to use their course knowledge to inform their understanding of sustainability usually through an emphasis on systems (a cross-cutting theme) and a recognition of ecosystem services and ethical dimensions (human-environment interactions). They entered the course with greater comfort in sustainability concepts and less in ecological ones, but by course end students explicitly described how a newfound appreciation of the breadth and depth of ecological concepts and an increased perceived value of natural systems helped them gain deeper understanding of the “reasons” behind sustainability initiatives. Similar outcomes were seen in students from non-majors’ backgrounds or those who engaged in sustainability activities for personal reasons although they generally entered their activities having less comfort with ecological concepts than did students in the general ecology course. 

Intended Audience: Undergraduate: Lower Division and Upper Division

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