Biological Diversity Lab

This is the assignment for my BioDiversity students in the lab section of their course this semester, where they’ll be working on the research for we’re crowd-funding.  And if you’re looking for new things some of these students are up to, check out our summer research project.

Biological Diversity

Kent State Trumbull

Spring 2014

Bio Diversity Group Project

In this class, you’ll be learning about the biomes and organisms with whom we share the Earth.  One of the best ways to improve this process is through active learning and research.  To aid in that endeavor, you will be working in a group to collect, describe, and categorize some of the organisms found on the Trumbull Campus of Kent State University.  This will help you to learn in better detail the organisms and concepts that we discuss in lecture and in lab, while helping to build a small teaching collection at KSU Trumbull.

In a group of 4-6 students, you will be assigned a taxon or taxa in which to become experts- Plants, Fungi, Birds and Mammals, Fish and Amphibians, or Invertebrates.  Your group will work together to collect examples of your taxon from around the campus, and to fit these examples into our taxonomy as best as you can.  We will make collecting trips around the campus as a class, so don’t worry about the techniques, we’ll work on that part together.

Your group should plan to collect at least 10 specimens and identify them to order at a minimum, or smaller unit if possible.  With each specimen, you should have the scientific name and taxonomy, where the example was collected (what type of habitat- lawn, wooded area, lake, flowing water, wood-edge, etc.), the conditions when the specimen was collected (rainy, sunny, temperature, etc.), when it was collected, and any other observations that you noted.  Each correct specimen is worth 5 points, with points being deducted for missing data described previously (taxonomy, habitat, date, weather, notes).  Incorrect identifications will be disregarded and no points assigned.

Because of the different organisms that we will be dealing with, the types of specimen or example that you are collecting may vary across taxa.  In general, the following specimen types will be used for each taxonomic group:

Plants- pressed plants

Invertebrates- pinned or jarred whole animals

Fungi- preserved specimens

Birds and Mammals- clear photo, footprint, or skull (found- we will not be trapping)

Fish- preserved specimen or photo

Amphibians- recorded frog call, photo, or preserved specimen

Turning in more than 10 specimens may create more work for your group, but it provides you with a “buffer” in case of a mistaken identification, missing information, or other problems with your collected examples and still receive full credit as a group.  At the end of the semester, you will turn in these specimens and they will become available for future students to learn from and add to.

To provide for accountability within each group, you will also be asked to provide a peer review of your group members.  This will not affect your group project grade, but it will play into your lab participation grade if your group members report that you were not assisting in the group project preparation.


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