Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lander Middle School students learn about non-photosynthetic plants during their visit to UW Botany Department

During the 2015 Wyoming State Science Fair, Botany graduate student and Science Posse Fellow, Nicholas Dowie taught students from Lander Middle School on how plants can survive in the absence of photosynthesis and the lesser known field within botany, fungal biology.

Students learned different features of the nonphotosynthetic plants and examined them both macroscopically and microscopically. These characteristics were then related back to the function of the plant and their reliance on their fungal partners.  Dowie provided an overview of mushroom biology, examples of the vast diversity of edible mushrooms, and how mushrooms can be cultivated.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Botany students trained Lander (Wyoming) Middle School students to measure soil texture

As part of the 2015 Wyoming State Science Fair, Botany graduate students, Christopher Beltz and Caitlin Rottler led one of the enrichment activities where they demonstrated the process of obtaining soil texture to a group of Lander Middle School students.

This activity included both the laboratory and the “feel” method. Students learned how to use a graduated cylinder, hydrometer, and soil sample of a specific mass to determine the percent-by-mass of the sand, silt, and clay. The feel method is commonly used in the field through examining specific features of wet soils in a person’s palms. Soil texture at a given locale is a significant driver of a number of ecosystem functions and can effect which species of plants are able to grow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Field Ecology: Skills for Science and Beyond - field course in Costa Rica

Dr. Jane Zelikova (Botany Research Scientist) taught the Field Ecology: Skills for Science and Beyond, a four-week field course in Costa Rica. This course uses field problems to drive fast-paced formulation of research questions, experimental design, data collection, analysis, oral presentations, and written papers. 

There is also a strong focus on science communication and collaborative research, the cornerstones of modern research. Students gain concrete skills in research design, the latest in data analysis, and writing, all in the breath-taking tropical setting that is Costa Rica. Long days and late nights, filled with science.

Checkout the video they made that attempts to make a science documentary worth watching: 


To watch the short video click on the graphic above or this URL: https://vimeo.com/116492131