Genomics of microbial communities in Thermopolis Hot Springs
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Aug 8, 2014
This activity begins with a field exploration, then includes DNA extraction and preparation for sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene, genomic determination of resulting sequences andstatistically analyzing the resulting sequence data.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- evolution of life with Earth and search for possible life on other planets
- effect of life on atmospheric, hydrospheric and lithospheric processes
- field data collection: water chemistry and microbial mat sample description
- protocol for DNA extraction from difficult samples
- behavior of scientists as professionals
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- critical evaluation of field area, defining problem statements and formulating hypotheses
- statistical analysis of data and interpretation of results
Other skills goals for this activity
- team decision-making and planning
- confidence with chemical and or biological lab work
- genomic searches using BLAST web-based software
- creation of simple pie charts, bar charts and histograms of genetic data
- online search for literature describing microbes discovered Thermopolis
- writing and artistic creation of professional size poster and or powerpoint preseantation
Description and Teaching Materials
create some more detailed descriptions.
For the DNA extractions and bioinformatics, I rely heavily on the
Discover the Microbes Within: The Wolbachia Project and the HHMI
Biointeractive Resources, as well at the SERC Microbial Life pages
To be continued...
Teaching Notes and Tips
- presentation at Undergraduate Research Day, individually or with team
- essay directed at summarizing the relationship of their research project with the textbook chapters that correspond to biogeochemical systems
References and Resources
HHMI Biointeractives - Bacterial Identification Virtual Lab
Brock, Thomas D.
Thermophilic microorganisms and life at high temperatures
Ch.4 Thermophiles in NPS Yellowstone Research Journal (this site has most images removed to facilitate faster down loading but I can provide a complete version upon request) http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/thermophiles.pdf