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SFS Annual Meeting

2021 Detailed Schedule

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INTRODUCING STUDENTS TO ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ISSUES THROUGH AN INTERDISCIPLINARY SERVICE-LEARNING COLLABORATION [Oral Presentation]

Tamara Savage (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of North Carolina at Pembroke, tamara.savage@uncp.edu;

Susan Wilson (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of North Carolina at Pembroke, sw0043@bravemail.uncp.edu;

Amber Rock (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of North Carolina at Pembroke, amber.rock@uncp.edu;

Abstract: Social and environmental justice issues are complex and interdisciplinary, but it is challenging to explore that complexity in a traditional classroom setting. The goal of this collaborative project is to leverage expertise across campus, bringing together two seemingly disparate disciplines, biology and social work, to examine critical environmental justice concerns in southeastern North Carolina. Initially, this project focused on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) , which was slated to end near our campus. After the ACP project was cancelled, we shifted focus to the environmental justice concerns associated with Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, as these industries continue to proliferate in the region. Utilizing the framework of community engaged service-learning, we have developed a sustained interdisciplinary collaboration examining these large-scale issues through the lenses of biology/ecology, social work, and community activism. Students enrolled in the associated courses conduct discipline-specific research, interact with guest speakers from the community, visit impacted areas, and explore the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to understanding complex societal problems and their potential solutions. This presentation will outline our collaborative service-learning project, providing a model for educators interested in pursuing similar cross-campus collaborations at their institutions.

ARSENIC IN GROUNDWATER IN NH AND ME: BUILDING LINKAGES IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE CURRICULA THROUGH PROJECT BASED COLLABORATION AND ENGAGING IN CITIZEN SCIENCE [Oral Presentation]

Nick Baer (Primary Presenter/Author)
Colby-Sawyer College, nbaer@colby-sawyer.edu;

Harvey Pine (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Colby-Sawyer College, hpine@colby-sawyer.edu;

Abstract: Project based learning has been an integral part of the environmental science and studies curricula at Colby-Sawyer College for many years as we see students develop and apply technical skills on a deeper level when there is a real-world problem or client the project addresses. Finding ways to scaffold these projects to lead to collaborations across multiple courses is an effort we are testing to see if it leads to enhanced engagement for students. We will share our experience integrating a study of arsenic in well-water into a water resources course (200-level), and a geographic information systems (GIS) course (200-level). The project included researching groundwater contaminants, engaging with high school students, helping to coordinate a citizen science study, compiling data and ultimately utilizing the data to analyze the spatial patterns of arsenic and other elements found in groundwater. The goal is to enhance student engagement, develop responsibility for projects and their outcomes, build student ownership of their learning and prepare students for careers. We will share our methods, insights, student feedback and student outcomes.

Authentic research in the undergraduate classroom comparing the impact of land use on macroinvertebrates and water quality [Oral Presentation]

Marney Pratt (Primary Presenter/Author)
Smith College, mcpratt@smith.edu;

Abstract: To provide introductory biology students with an authentic research experience, we compared macroinvertebrate and water quality data collected by Smith College students in the Mill River, a stream next to campus in a more urban area, to data collected by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) in the Lower Hop Brook, a stream surrounded by forest and far less human development around 40 km away. Macroinvertebrate density was lower and tolerance to pollution was higher in the Mill River compared to the Lower Hop Brook. Turbidity, pH and water temperature were greater in the Mill River. However, the dissolved oxygen was higher in the Mill River for a given water temperature. It is not fully clear what is causing these differences, but the land use around these two rivers very likely plays a role. While additional research is needed to understand what is causing these patterns, the patterns are interesting and stimulated students to think about the effect of land use on macroinvertebrates and water quality. Comparing NEON data to our own data collected on campus was a rewarding way to involve undergraduate students in authentic research.

BUGS BELOW ZERO: ENGAGING THE PUBLIC IN RESEARCH ON WINTER ACTIVE AQUATIC INSECTS [Oral Presentation]

Rebecca Swenson (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of Minnesota, boli0028@umn.edu;

Amy Schrank (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program, aschrank@umn.edu ;

Leonard C. Ferrington, Jr. (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Minnesota, ferri016@umn.edu;

Bruce Vondracek (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Minnesota, bvondrac@umn.edu;

Abstract: To increase public support of environmental science and engagement in environmental stewardship efforts, it is important that citizens understand and value aquatic ecosystems. Yet, despite their critical role in stream food webs, there is little public awareness of smaller insects like Diamesa, a cold-adapted and non-biting midge, and understanding of their importance to groundwater-fed streams and trout populations. This presentation shares insights gained from developing Bugs Below Zero, a new educational platform and citizen science program aimed at raising awareness about the winter life of bugs, helping the public value midges and appreciate their importance to stream food webs, and engaging citizens in winter research efforts. Bugs Below Zero is an interdisciplinary effort that involves graduate students and faculty from agricultural and environmental science, entomology, and fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology disciplines. Targeted to classrooms, landowners, outdoor recreation enthusiasts, and other stakeholders, Bugs Below Zero includes outreach efforts, educational materials, videos, events, and a system for public collaboration and participation in research. Presenters will share details about Bugs Below Zero, early successes with the program, barriers encountered, and recommendations for others interested in creating similar public engagement and outreach programs.

Challenging privileged agreements in STEM culture that inhibit social justice in undergraduate education [Oral Presentation]

Matthew Cover (Primary Presenter/Author)
California State University, Stanislaus, mcover@csustan.edu;

Abstract: In her book Sentipensante Pedagogy (2009), Laura Rendón describes privileged agreements that define norms of academia, and develops an alternative pedagogy based on wholeness, social justice, and liberation. In applying these ideas to STEM, I investigate how three norms (a culture of positivism, a privileging of individualism, and a belief in ranking) limit the possibilities for social justice in science and academia. Drawing upon the teachings of my students and collaborators, as well as scholars of critical pedagogy, settler colonial studies, and STS, I analyze how these privileged agreements limit the effectiveness of good intentions towards diversity, equity, and inclusion in three areas relevant to undergraduate education: science pedagogy, the NSF GRFP, and grad school admissions.

COURSE-BASED UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES [Oral Presentation]

Jamie Crait (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Wyoming, craitj@uwyo.edu;

Christopher North (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of Wyoming, cnorth@uwyo.edu;

Abstract: Undergraduate research experiences provide invaluable training for future scientists and promote retention of STEM students by developing enthusiasm for science. Not all undergraduate students have the opportunity to join research labs; however, course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) provide a means to engage more undergraduates in authentic research. CUREs are most effective when they occur over several semesters early in a student’s academic career. We will discuss the goals of CUREs, CURE models from various institutions, and our experiences designing and implementing a CURE focused on freshwater ecosystems. This will include an overview of the challenges of integrating a multi-semester sequence into university curriculum and degree plans, and conducting field-based research with neophyte ecologists. We will describe our CURE sequence, share examples of student projects, examine pre- and post-surveys of students, and discuss future directions. Ultimately, our objective is to develop a prototype for multi-semester CUREs at our institution. We also believe that freshwater systems are excellent for introducing students to field research and that CUREs focused on these systems could be created at many institutions.

EXPLORING THE NATURE AND PROCESS OF SCIENCE WITH ABNORMAL FROGS [Oral Presentation]

Bailey Sanders (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Minnesota State University - Mankato, bailey.sanders@mnsu.edu;

Nathan Ruhl (Primary Presenter/Author)
Rowan University, Ruhl@rowan.edu;

Abstract: The frog abnormalities phenomenon was first discovered by students on a field trip in 1995 and their discovery sparked hundreds of scientific studies. This discovery has been integrated into the curriculum of thousands of students as a way to learn the scientific method, but the frog abnormality phenomenon is also well suited as a socio-scientific issue for teaching students about both the nature and process of science. Our goal here is to provide an integrative resource for post-secondary biology and environmental educators to incorporate frog abnormalities into their course context. We review the frog abnormality phenomenon, discuss frog abnormalities in the context of a socio-scientific issue, suggest ways in which post-secondary educators can teach the nature and process of science using frog abnormalities, and offer ideas for non-science educators to connect to the sciences using frog abnormalities.

KEEPING STUDENTS CONNECTED TO OUR STREAMS IN A VIRTUAL WORLD [Oral Presentation]

Danielle Wynne (Primary Presenter/Author)
Fairfax County, VA Government, danielle.wynne@fairfaxcounty.gov;

Abstract: Imagine creating a vibrant and engaging in-person outreach program that reached thousands of students a year – and then a global pandemic shuts down the public-school system. Join ecologists from Fairfax, Virginia in their journey of transforming an entire program plan to find new ways to connect to students virtually. From creating at-home labs, providing skype a scientist opportunities and ventures into video editing, 2020 has made us all rethink how we communicate environmental messaging in a virtual age. The presentation will run participants through changes to our environmental toolbox, lessons learned and where we hope to go from here.

THE RIVER FIELD STUDIES NETWORK: CONNECTING RIVERS, PEOPLE, & SCIENCE THROUGH IMMERSIVE FIELD-BASED EDUCATION [Oral Presentation]

James Vonesh (Primary Presenter/Author)
Virginia Commonwealth University, jrvonesh@vcu.edu;

Mathieu Brown (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Prescott College, mbrown01@prescott.edu;

John McLaughlin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Western Washington University, wildlife.wwu@gmail.com;

Denielle Perry (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Northern Arizona University, denielle.perry@nau.edu;

Andrew Rost (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Sierra Nevada University, arost@sierranevada.edu;

Sarah Yarnell (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Davis, smyarnell@ucdavis.edu;

Amanda Rugenski (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Georgia, atrugenski@gmail.com;

Risa Shimoda (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
River Management Society, executivedirector@river-management.org;

Alison O'Dowd (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Humboldt State University, alison.odowd@humboldt.edu;

Emily Ward (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Rocky Mountain College, emily.ward@rocky.edu;

Daryl Teittinen (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Sierra Nevada University, dteittinen@sierranevada.edu;

Rupu Gupta (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Knology, RupuG@knology.org;

Fritz Fiedler (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Idaho, fritz@uidaho.edu;

Ryan Abrahamsen (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Terrain360, ryan@terrain360.com;

Abstract: Field studies are at the heart of biological education and discovery. They connect students to learning objectives, peers, instructors, and communities through immersive active learning in “real world” environments. They can help overcome achievement gaps, propel inclusion, catalyze career interest, and create informed and engaged citizens. Unlocking these benefits, however, requires instructors prepared for a unique and growing set of challenges. Field studies instruction today requires a sophisticated grasp of specialized pedagogy and assessment, issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and risk management. Mastering these is daunting for self-taught instructors. Without support and guidance, instructors will burn out, risk-averse institutions will shy away, and field studies will continue to decline. Such an outcome would be tragic, especially coming at a time when our rivers are in crisis as well. Connectors of communities and model settings for interdisciplinary STEM education, rivers are also among the most threatened ecosystems globally. At this moment of critical vulnerability, we can ill afford to lose the capacity for active learning bringing students and rivers into contact. The NSF RCN-UBE: RIVER Field Studies Network is our response to these paired crises.

Thinking and Acting Globally and Locally in an Online Water Resource Management Course [Oral Presentation]

Erin Larson (Primary Presenter/Author)
Alaska Pacific University, ern.larson@gmail.com;

Abstract: Water resources are a global and local issue, requiring knowledge and action at both scales. I re-designed the Water Resource Management course at Alaska Pacific University (APU) to focus on a local watershed (the Eklutna) as a case study. Students used high-frequency water quality sensor data collected in the Eklutna Watershed in course problem sets. Collaborating with WikiProject Limnology and Oceanography, students edited Wikipedia articles about local and global topics, giving them an opportunity to practice their scientific communication skills, and resulting in an improvement to a global encyclopedia. Students also attended a Technical Working Group meeting, which includes representatives from academia, federal and state agencies, tribal governments, and non-profits, where we discussed a draft study plan for a recent dam removal in the Eklutna. Thus, students saw the consensus-building needed to solve local issues firsthand. The course culminated with students designing online educational materials about the Eklutna Watershed for 4th graders in the Anchorage School District in collaboration with the a local federal science center. Overall, students engaged with water resource management in multiple dimensions, as scientists, decision makers, educators, and communicators, both locally and in a global context.

USING GARBAGE TO CONNECT AND COMMUNICATE SCIENCE IN A TIME OF DISTANCE LEARNING [Oral Presentation]

Lauren Wisbrock (Primary Presenter/Author)
Loyola University Chicago, lreynolds1@luc.edu;

Timothy Hoellein (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Loyola University Chicago, thoellein@luc.edu;

Abstract: Anthropogenic litter (i.e., trash; AL) is increasing in aquatic ecosystems worldwide, and can impair these ecosystems for use by both humans and wildlife. In order to reduce these impairments, we must connect the general public to our scientific understanding of AL. One approach to reaching the public is to work directly with teachers, who can directly impact their student’s understanding and behavior. During the spring of 2019, we collaborated with 4th grade teachers to design an inquiry-based unit for 4th grade classes that allows students to explore what trash pollution is, understand the scale of how much trash pollutes aquatic ecosystems, and ask questions about how their personal and communal actions impact the environment. These activities can be adapted for any age group. Since AL is ubiquitous, it is a study subject that is easily accessible during COVID-related classroom restrictions. We will present the process of collaborating with the teachers in the creation and implementation of this unit, how the designed activities can be translated into socially distanced, hybrid, and remote learning settings, as well as suggestions of how AL researchers can engage their own community in this process.

WINOGRADSKY COLUMNS USED TO STUDY EFFECTS OF ROUND-UP ON BENTHIC MICROBIAL ASSEMBLAGES: PORTABLE RESEARCH FOR HYBRID COURSES [Oral Presentation]

Sarah Whorley (Primary Presenter/Author)
Daemen College, swhorley@daemen.edu;

Daniela Mateo (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Daemen College, daniela.mateo@daemen.edu;

Rachel Mathews (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Daemen College, rachel.mathews@daemen.edu;

Sarah O'Shei (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Daemen College, sarah.oshei@daemen.edu;

Shannon Weatherley (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Daemen College, shannon.weatherley@daemen.edu;

Abstract: Satisfying our students’ need for intellectual stimulation after six months of remote interaction is important however difficult while following COVID-19 safety guidelines. Students must be ready to return to remote learning at a moment’s notice greatly limits research options, especially within the context of a course. Winogradsky columns make physically spaced research possible and allows for locational flexibility. Daemen College’s Ecotoxicology course created Winogradsky columns of local wetland materials and examined the effects of different concentrations of Round-Up (source of glyphosate) on benthic microbial development and habitat nutrient cycling. Twenty-four columns were amended with 0x – 3x typical Round-Up application concentrations. For 8 weeks, regular measurements of pH, NH4+, NO3-, PO43-, and bacterial colony abundance were recorded. In all columns, pH gradually increased over time. All columns with added Round-Up experienced increases in NH4+ over time, however within the 3x treatment, these levels peaked after five weeks and then declined. Furthermore, bacterial abundance was significantly decreased in all columns with added Round-Up. Results for NO3- and PO43- are ongoing. Round-Up significantly affects the microbial community by decreasing abundance and hampering their ability to process nutrient influxes resulting from glyphosate metabolism.

CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP – CONTINUING THE JOURNEY TO FULL INCLUSIVITY IN FRESHWATER SCIENCE WITH THE EMERGE PROGRAM [Poster Presentation]

Daniel McGarvey (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Center for Environmental Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University, djmcgarvey@vcu.edu;

Amy Rosemond (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of Georgia, rosemond@uga.edu;

Patina Mendez (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, patina.mendez@berkeley.edu;

Checo Colon-Gaud (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Georgia Southern University, jccolongaud@georgiasouthern.edu;

Amanda Rugenski (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Georgia, atrugenski@gmail.com;

Breanna Ondich (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Breanna.Ondich@uga.edu;

Abstract: Emerge is a new, expanded effort to promote diversity within the freshwater sciences that builds upon the successful Instars program. With support from the National Science Foundation, Emerge will serve a continuum of undergraduate to graduate to early career scientists. The primary objective is a sustained and maximally inclusive community in which every Participant can build their professional network while simultaneously developing a strong sense of self- and group identity. Community building activities will include an annual, multi-day river expedition prior to the start of the SFS Annual Meeting, peer-supported participation throughout the Annual Meeting, and year-round virtual workgroups led by near peer mentors. Live workshops will also be offered in fall and spring to teach new skills in data management and analysis (combining National Ecological Observatory Network data with the R programming language) and in visual communication and graphic design (introducing Adobe Creative Suites software). Notably, all Participant expenses (airfare, lodging, registration, etc.) will be paid by the Emerge program. Join us at SFS 2021 to learn about the Emerge vision and program opportunities. Join us in our mission to change the face of freshwater science!

COMBINING INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AND PLACE-BASED LEARNING: USING URBAN CAMPUS PONDS AS THE FOCUS FOR AN UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH GROUP [Poster Presentation]

Carissa Ganong (Primary Presenter/Author)
Missouri Western State University, carissa.ganong@gmail.com;

Michael Grantham (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Missouri Western State University, mgrantham@missouriwestern.edu;

Dawn Drake (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Missouri Western State University, ddrake4@missouriwestern.edu;

Ashley Elias (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Missouri Western State University, aelias1@missouriwestern.edu;

Mark Mills (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Missouri Western State University, mmills3@missouriwestern.edu;

Abstract: Recent trends in undergraduate research and education include a focus on interdisciplinary projects and on place-based learning. We developed a semester-long interdisciplinary undergraduate research program focused on the nine ponds on the Missouri Western State University campus, and this presentation will explore the benefits and challenges of this research approach. The program included eleven undergraduate students and five faculty from multiple scientific disciplines (geography, virology, genomics, ecology, zoology) and involved approximately half a day of research per student per week, weekly hour-long lab meetings of the entire group, and end-of-semester poster presentations to the university. We present student self-assessment data and suggest that bringing together faculty from multiple disciplines with projects focused on the same local ecosystem is a valuable technique for providing undergraduate students with hands-on research experience, exposure to a diversity of research areas and methods, and a better understanding of the ecosystems in and around their campus.

ENGAGEMENT WITH DIGITAL GAMES FOR CONSERVATION EDUCATION ON A UNIVERSITY CAMPUS [Poster Presentation]

Lauren Kuehne (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of Washington, lauren.kuehne@gmail.com;

Caleb Winston (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Washington, calebwin@uw.edu;

Cailin Winston (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Washington, cailinw@uw.edu;

Travis Windleharth (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of Washington, travisw@uw.edu;

Abstract: The idea of “gamification” for environmental education is popular, but knowledge of game features that promote engagement is limited. We developed three digital conservation-focused games - Zombie Trash, Carbon Cards, and Water Shed – and tested engagement during test periods on a university campus. The short games emphasized well-known environmental issues of recycling, carbon emissions, and water footprints, presented using alternate game designs. More than 1,200 users engaged with the kiosks during test periods. Engagement declined reliably over time, with 70%-92% of activity occurring in the first 7-10 days, indicating that likely participants are reached in two weeks. Students participated in all locations, but players engaged for longer time periods in residential halls than in building lobbies or eating areas. Tower-defense and timed challenge were preferred over personal challenge designs, with 23% more students opting to play these games multiple times. Furthermore, increased gameplay was associated with a doubling in subsequent exploration of eight environmental pledges and willingness to make at least one environmental pledge. We find that conservation games offer unique outreach opportunities for general audiences, but should be carefully designed and deployed to meet engagement and education goals.

FRESHWATER BIODIVERSITY AND SPECIES IDENTIFICATION USING MICROSCOPY, DNA BARCODING AND METAGENOMICS APPROACHES: A COURSE-BASED UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH EXPERIENCE [Poster Presentation]

Amanda Glazier (Primary Presenter/Author,Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, aglazier@haverford.edu;

Rachel Hoang (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, rhoang@haverford.edu;

Halie Rando (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, hrando@haverford.edu;

Nile Bayard (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, nbayard@haverford.edu ;

Maya Casey (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, mtcasey@haverford.edu ;

Genevieve Dallmeyer-Drennen (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, gdallmeyer@haverford.edu;

Maddie Figueredo (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, mfigueredo@haverford.edu;

Naomi Fukuda (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, nfukuda@haverford.edu ;

Eleanor Greene (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, egreene2@haverford.edu;

Emma Iacobucci (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, eiacobucci@haverford.edu>;

Dina Kosyagin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, dkosyagin@haverford.edu;

Benjamin Kwon (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, ykwon@haverford.edu>;

Annette Lee (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, clee9@haverford.edu;

Andre Martin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, almartin@haverford.edu ;

Jacob Melnick (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, jmelnick@haverford.edu;

Junior Nguyen (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, jnguyen4@haverford.edu;

Ryan O'Donnell (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, rodonnell@haverford.edu;

Riley Outen (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, routen@haverford.edu;

Julie Rebh (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, jrebh@haverford.edu;

Giancarlo Rendon (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, grendon@haverford.edu ;

Taylor Seid (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, tseid@haverford.edu;

Roy Simamora (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, rsimamora@haverford.edu ;

Carmiya Solomon (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, casolomon@haverford.edu ;

William Vostrejs (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, wvostrejs@haverford.edu ;

Katherine Wass (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, kwass@haverford.edu;

Rachel White (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, rswhite@haverford.edu ;

Han Yang (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, hyang3@haverford.edu;

Maria Yea (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, iyeaseong@haverford.edu;

Amra Zegeye (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, aezegeye@haverford.edu;

Yifan Zhang (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Haverford College, yzhang12@haverford.edu;

Abstract: An inquiry-based, learner-centered approach to teaching allows students to grow both in basic STEM knowledge and as researchers. We developed a semester-long project investigating local freshwater microbial diversity through microscopy, metabarcoding, and targeted sequencing as part of the junior-level biology curriculum at a small liberal arts college during the Spring 2021 semester. In the first half of the semester, students gained field experience while taking water samples and abiotic measurements from local freshwater sources, lab experience in microscopy, filtering the samples, extracting the DNA, running PCRs, and preparing the samples for sequencing, and exposure to bioinformatic techniques through the Mothur 16S rRNA pipeline implemented on Galaxy servers. Analyzing biotic diversity measures alongside water chemistry measurements allows students to connect characteristics of the biotic and abiotic environments. In the second half of the semester students developed their own projects using the microscopy, field, and/or bioinformatic techniques explored in the first half. This approach provides students with the tools and knowledge to develop their own projects and the space to explore their interests as related to the course, building independence and sparking enthusiasm for continued exploration in STEM.

Teaching undergraduate freshwater biology labs during the COVID-19 pandemic. [Poster Presentation]

Fredric Govedich (Primary Presenter/Author)
Southern Utah University, govedich@suu.edu;

Samuel Wells (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
Southern Utah University, samuelwells@suu.edu;

Abstract: Teaching students about freshwater science can be difficult during the best of times. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made this worse because the tools that we use to teach about how science really works depend on hands-on work and field experiences. For the Fall 2020 semester we were allowed back to the classroom for face to face and remote synchronous instruction for the first two thirds of the semester before going virtual at the end of the semester. This presented unique challenges for a lab and field based course. In this presentation we will discuss what worked and what didn’t in terms of the labs that we carried out and how we encouraged students to complete individual projects using inexpensive materials (nets and water chemistry sets) that every student could use and take with them. This has been a learning experience for all of us and we would like to share what we did to encourage students to think about how freshwater science works and apply what they know to developing short field experiments, with collecting data and then presenting what they learned in a virtual environment.

TEAM CADDIS: UNDERGRADUATE COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN AN ONLINE VIRTUAL LAB SPACE [Poster Presentation]

Patina Mendez (Primary Presenter/Author)
University of California, Berkeley, patina.mendez@berkeley.edu;

Minju Kim (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, mjk21@berkeley.edu;

Tammy Lee (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, tammyjlee22@berkeley.edu;

Queenie Li (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
UC Berkeley, quli168@berkeley.edu;

Stella Li (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, stella56329@gmail.com;

Ivy Lopez (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, ivyjasminne@berkeley.edu;

Monika Mehta (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, monika.mehta25@berkeley.edu;

Harsha Moyya (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, hmoyya@berkeley.edu;

Vincent Resh (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, resh@berkeley.edu;

Lisa Saxton (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, lisasaxton@berkeley.edu;

Shahane Simonyan (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, shahanesimonyan@berkeley.edu;

Charlynn Teter (Co-Presenter/Co-Author)
University of California, Berkeley, charlynnteter@berkeley.edu;

Abstract: Laboratory research can be a most memorable learning experience in college, but requires working in physical spaces with others. Disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic stopped access to campus buildings disrupting community in research spaces. We used gather.town to build a persistent, online, virtual lab space for collaborative research and meetings for Team Caddis, our undergraduate collaborative research group. In two connected spaces, the “library” and “lab,” members accessed google docs, data entry forms and files while meeting using video and audio. Although a persistent online space, we set regular lab schedules for student teams to work together. During COVID-19 we focused on two projects: (1) transcribing locality information from scans of Essig Museum of Entomology museum material, and (2) assembling “species pages” by harvesting species descriptions text and images from published papers for caddisfly species in California for our return to the laboratory. In sum, 10 students contributed as part of Team Caddis resulting in >330 species pages. By using a persistent space with more autonomy and character movement, we built community, had more natural and spontaneous interactions, helped each other, and kept research moving during uncertain times.