Pictoral Review of the KABT Spring Field Trip

Marshall County, KS 2012

As you are about to see, Noah Busch organized quite a series of events for us to experience during this year’s field trip, which included:

  • Camping out in Stella’s Meadow at Alcove Springs
  • Teaching us how to construct and use common materials in capturing the tracks of  small mammals
  • Showing us the new downtown exhibit on Geologic Time in the Glaciated Region in Blue Rapids, and famous Black Squirrels of Marysville
  • Checking turtle traps along Spring Creek, and being witnessing to a rare herpetological event (see the Kansas Herpetology Facebook for details)
  • Spending time at his family’s organic farm where we were treated to organic hot dogs and such, learned about organic farming from Noah’s mother Nancy Vogelsberg-Busch, took a bird watching tour with Dr. John Quinn from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and stopped to eat some berries, look for some russian thistle weevils, and do a bit of bee handling…

Thanks again, Noah!


By the way, it looks like someone started a KABT Facebook Page.  Like it and share your links, etc…  I think we need to start a Facebook Group though so that I can post images to an ablum.  It appears that I can only upload a single image to a page.

Facebook and Frameshift

Facebook
I don’t know about you, but I timidly joined facebook last fall to begin my journey in learning how this social networking resource might be of use both personally and professionally.  

Happily, I have discovered that there are educational relevant uses for facebook!  I will write a extended blog post on how I use it with students in the near future but today I read something on my facebook home page that I thought I should pass along.

As a member of facebook, one can join groups and follow updates on other people’s pages.  Some of these people happen to be practicing scientists or others on the periphery of the science community.  One individual I happen to follow is Carl Zimmer.  Most of you are familiar with Carl’s collection of quality books.   If you aren’t a member of facebook, you can follow his blog via his website (which links to the Discover’s blogsite – my how connected things are – if you have your own website you can add it with an RSS feed – maybe KABT should consider this).  

Well, the cool thing about reading Carl’s blog is that you are kept up-to-date on his insights into the active world of science, and don’t have to wait a year or two for such insights to be integrated into his next book.

Frameshift

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In one of his posts from yesterday, Losing Teeth, but Keeping Genes, he reviews a recently published article Molecular Decay of the Tooth Gene Enamelin (ENAM) Mirrors the Loss of Enamel in the Fossil Record of Placental Mammals from the online journal PLOS Genetics.    Here is the gist of the story from Carl:

Their results were pretty much what they expected, but they’re still pretty amazing. There were no frameshift mutations in ENAM among the mammals with teeth. But 17 out of 20 species without teeth or enamel had at least one. In all 20 enamel-free species, a stop command (known as a stop codon) was present. These genes are shot.

I am certain that you all teach about “frameshift” mutations.  The two resources above could become additions to your bag of supplemental tricks that make such concepts come alive for your students.  They can also help in your integration of evolutionary biology throughout the curriculum, and to supplement topics like “adaptation, pseudogenes, purifying and neutral selection, molecular clocks, and radiation and convergent evolution”. 

Enjoy reading, and maybe I’ll see meet you in facebook someday soon!