Kristina Linnea Stredwick
B BIO 495
Provides research experience in Biology. Topic and research methods vary. Prerequisite: B BIO 220; either BES 301, BIS 315, STAT 220, or STAT 311.
How is it that species can cooperate with one another and still be favored by natural selection? How do these relationships evolve from their origin? Do cooperative interactions between species coevolve similarly to more commonly studied antagonistic interactions? In this class you will help us to answer these questions and more by studying the evolution of microbial mutualists as they evolve in real-time. If you are interested in evolution, you will like this class because it offers you the opportunity to address evolution issues with unique approaches. If you are interested in microbiology, this course offers you the chance to study metabolic processes in very different microbial species, and test hypotheses about how mutations affect their physiology and fitness. In this course you will learn how to be a successful experimental biologist. As a member of a research lab, you will conduct experiments to test hypotheses about coevolution. You will use a model system composed of a bacteria and archaea that have evolved in conditions forcing them to cooperate with one another in order to survive. Your experiments will build upon previous work of the lab and benefit the group by providing experimental data for grant proposals and future publication. During the process, you will learn how to plan, implement, and analyze an experiment. You will learn to contextualize your data within a broader research field and to propose future work based upon your findings. You will learn the behavioral expectations and cultural activities of being in a research lab. You will present your research and findings in an oral presentation and in a scientific research paper that conforms to the standards of a journal in your field. This course satisfies the biology major’s requirement for research experience.
Student learning goals
Learn to plan, execute, and analyze the results of a research project (assessed by planning worksheet, individual meetings, oral presentation, and research paper).
Learn to analyze experimental designs for studying coevolution (assessed by paper summary and class discussion).
Learn to analyze your own data and determine how it impacts other research in the fields of coevolution, mutualism, and microbial ecology (assessed by research paper and presentation)
Techniques in anaerobic microbiology and for managing a large experiment with many samples, and requiring many different supplies
Learn about experimental evolution and how it can be used to test for coevolution (assessed by quiz, research paper and presentation)
Learn about syntrophic microbial mutualisms and how they can be studied (assessed by quiz, research paper, and presentation
General method of instruction
This course primarily consists of students working in small groups to conduct original research projects. You will also practice presenting your research goals and findings to each other, and write a paper describing your results.
Courses in Microbiology and/or Evolutionary biology are recommended. Science methods and practice will also help with this class.
Class assignments and grading
1. Creating and executing your research project (70% of grade): You will execute and analyze a research project with a group of two other students. a) Lab notebook (8%) b) Project planning worksheet (2%) c) Research paper - Written separately by each student (25%) d) Public oral presentation – Done together as a research group (25%) e) Lab meeting presentations (10%)
2. Participation (25%) a) Coevolution article summary and discussion (6%) b) Contribution to lab meeting discussions, helping to maintain clean laboratory and equipment (6%) c) Willingness to perform and analyze experiments (10%) d) Contribution to timely discussion of required background readings (3%) 3. Quiz (5%)
75% of the grade is based on performance in your research project. 25% is based on your level of participation in performing and analyzing research with your group.