Session: Vital Connections in Ecology: Mentoring, Education, and Training
Soil metagenomics: Online data-driven project resources for instructors
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Link To Share This Presentation: https://cdmcd.co/rMWG7E
Savanah St. Clair and Rosealie Vicuna, Agriculture Sciences, Los Angeles Pierce College, Woodland Hills, CA, Savanah St. Clair, Environmental Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, Maryam Saraylou, Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources, University of Khuzestan, Mollasani, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Tracey Spann, Health Sciences, California State university, Northridge, Northridge, CA, Daila Melendez, Agriculture Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, Jay R. Reichman, Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Savanah St. Clair
Agriculture Sciences, Los Angeles Pierce College Woodland Hills, CA, USA
Background/Question/Methods How are fungal communities associated with post wildfire resiliency? What kind of functions are bacteria in the soil performing on local farms? How can we engage students to look deeper into life in the soil? The Pierce College Plant Science program has developed a course-based undergraduate research project for Soil Science students. Faced with the challenges of COVID-19 emergency remote education, we have adapted the project to an online environment. According to Singer et al, student activities in the lab should reflect what scientists actually do (2012). Rather than taking the traditional approach of canned labs, we are using a project-based curricular design in order to attract, train, and retain more diverse students in STEM fields. Early research experience in undergraduate classes is a strategy for increasing persistence of STEM majors in under-represented groups (Toven-Lindsay 2015). Considering more open-ended questions and experiments fosters innovation and welcomes diverse points of view. Results/Conclusions There are several resources we want to share which are relevant to molecular ecology. These include a Soil science lab manual, a sample dataset, and a Soil trophic cascades case study. There are also potential resources available to support implementation. DNALC is looking to expand its activities on the West Coast including projects with high schools and undergraduate institutions. The Soils curriculum is also aligned with Amgen Biotech Experience which can provide an additional resource. UC CalEDNA provides low-cost kits and sequencing and hosts Ranacapa for data analysis. The program has experienced success with our hands-on approach. During 2018-2019, there was an increase in the number of degrees and certificates awarded compared to 2014-2015, and job placement rates were above the institution-set standard, in general. Since the lab manual for the CURE was introduced, we have seen an increase in the Student Learning Outcome attainment; during Spring 2016-Fall 2017 SLO attainment was 74.73% on average. From Spring 2018-Fall 2019, the average SLO attainment was 94.2%. The program has continued to increase the number of students attaining the SLOs during Spring 2020- Fall 2020, as the number of Soils class sections has increased. Our goal going forward is to continue to engage students to look deeper into the life in the soil using a hybrid model of online and hands-on research experiences.