KABT Field Trip Information and Draft Schedule

Bottomland Hardwood 950 x 348

Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, May 30 – June 1

The link below contains the draft document for the KABT Field Trip this weekend including background, directions, maps, and a schedule of events for Friday-Sunday.  Please read it.  I will have final copies along with some instructional activities as handouts on the field trip.  The map to the KABT Campsite is accurate, and we will likely have some directional signs up in Linn County Park to help you along.  We still haven’t figured out a good restaurant to eat lunch at (there might not be one) so be prepared by bringing food for Saturday’s lunch for sure.  I am imagine we can find a place to eat dinner in La Cygnes, Pleasanton, or Louisburg.

KABT SPRING FIELD TRIP 2014_Draft_to_Share

I still have some editing of the background to do based on suggestions from the staff at the Marais des Cygnes NWR, and there may be some changes to the schedule. If you are coming down on Friday and want to help set traps, etc… please text me your name so that I can keep you informed if anything changes.  I’m at 816-804-7106.

I may upload a list of possible things to bring later but do be warned that you should be prepared for having your legs covered while walking around in the prairies and forests during the beginning of the day, etc… and then getting into the Marais des Cygnes River later. I will be carrying a backpack and wearing my swim trunks under my jeans.

It goes without saying that we will likely encounter some poison ivy and ticks during our journey.

If you have any questions about the field trip feel free to post a comment here, on the KABT Facebook, of feel free to email me.  Hope to see you all at the end of the week!

Freaky Friday

So before I disappoint anyone you should know this post won’t be an analysis of the 1976 original or 2003 remake of this movie. Sorry. Freaky Friday was an idea I had at the beginning of last year because I wanted to have something on Friday’s that would interest students and be a “cool” way to tie together whatever we were talking about that week. When students walk in on Fridays they see a powerpoint slide with the organism’s name, Binomial name, pictures, and then facts about them. We then discuss that for a minute or so and then I have a 2-5 minute video clip about that organism too (it is hyperlinked on the powerpoint in the organism’s name). I tried to make the organism relate to what we were talking about in class. Sometimes that worked out, other times it didn’t.

Of course this wasn’t revolutionary or anything but I did have over 25% of my students respond (unprompted) in their course surveys that they Freaky Friday was one of their favorite things about class this year.

So, here’s my plug to the community: Most of these were made quickly which means that there could be factual errors or oddly worded sentences in these, feel free to revise them. ALSO, I would LOVE for others to ADD more organisms in the same format with their name, facts, and pictures (and video too if you have it). I only came up with 27 weeks worth but I know all of you out there have more organisms with great biological stories. It would be cool if we could revise/build this to become something others can use too if you’re interested. [Attached below is the powerpoint file]


KABT Summer Field Trip 2014

Save the date!Mussel survey

nwrs_blueThe Summer KABT Field Trip will be held in Linn county, Kansas from May 30 – June 1.

We have lots of potential activities in the works, a few include:
* camping Fri & Sat nights

* spending time at the Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge. They are the only place in KS where Swamp White Oak are known to occur. It has some state protected amphibians and reptiles including the central newt, broad-headed skink, and smooth earth snake. They are also restoring shrub land for migratory song birds like bell’s vireo and the yellow-breasted chat.Bottomland Hardwood

* could learn about the Refuge’s bottom land reforestation efforts with the “Go Zero” carbon sequestration program, management of forest resources and endemic and protected flora and fauna, their diverse mussel beds (31 different species!), upland glade habitats and pollinators, a heron rookery, etc…

* potentially seining for Notophthalamus viridescens newts, setting turtle traps, learning tips about taking students out herping

We hope to see you there!

Your hosts,  Eric Kessler, Chris Ollig and Kelley Tuel

Finishing up the Artificial Selection in Fastplants

Last Fall I completed the first round of an artificial selection experiment using Fastplants similar to one described in the new AP Biology Lab manual.  I finally got around to planted, growing and scoring the second generation of seeds selected for higher trichome numbers.

Here are some of the seed pods that I collected and kept stored over the winter in a paper envelope.

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I was able to conscript some student labor–a future biology teacher–to help planting the second generation.

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This generation seemed to grow more slowly than the first. Today is the 14th day of growing and usually by now most of the plants are flowering. Hmmmm, I wander if the plants are putting so much energy into producing hairs that they have to slow down other processes? They certainly looked like hairier plants but honestly I forgot how hairy the first generation was.

Here’s what the plants looked like today. They not only seem to be a bit behind but they also seem to have quite a bit more plants that haven’t quite developed right. Of course, this population comes from a pretty small parent population so we may already be seeing sign of inbreeding depression—hmmm, sounds like an experiment.

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And now for the results (just in graph form) for now. I may follow-up with more analysis later. The error bars on the bar graph represent 2 standard errors and thus serve to approximate 95% confidence intervals. Note that both distributions approximate a normal distribution so we would be safe to use parametric descriptive and inferential statistics.

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I’m not putting forth any conclusions right now but you are welcome to.