Wednesday, September 2, 2015

SICB 2016 Portland, OR

I will be contributing to two abstracts at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting this January in Portland, OR. Both are less traditional for me, so I look forward to hearing feedback/comments. Here are the abstracts (dates/times will be updated when they are available):

Dale presenting about guppy outreach
at "Science on Tap" Fort Collins

First, Dale Broder and I will be presenting a poster in an undergraduate biology education session describing our most recent endeavor with guppy outreach:

Using self-guided “guppy kits” to teach adaptation and evolution with authentic science

Emily A. Kane1, E. Dale Broder1, Andrew C. Warnock2, Courtney M. Butler2, A. Lynne Judish2, Lisa M. Angeloni1, Cameron K. Ghalambor1
1Department of Biology, Colorado State University
2College of Natural Sciences Education and Outreach Center, Colorado State University

The concept of evolution is central to our understanding of organismal biology, but the United States has a poor understanding and acceptance of evolution compared to other countries, which is potentially influenced by the limited availability of evolutionary biologists that can assist teachers when covering this subject. We want to fill this gap by making our knowledge and resources easily accessible to teachers. Additionally, we want to use authentic science and hands-on experimentation to reach students who are not comfortable with the concept of evolution. We have designed a self-guided activity that utilizes live Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) to explore adaptation, selection, and evolution. These “kits” include a video introduction by the researchers, activities observing differences in color and survival between 3 populations (domesticated and wild caught low- or high-predation), and a booklet providing guidance on the formation of hypotheses and conclusions. These kits can be used by the researchers for outreach events sponsored by the university, but can also be borrowed by local K-12 teachers to be performed independently, thereby enhancing the ability to reach a greater number of students while maintaining the benefits of a small-scale program. Similar activities performed previously demonstrate an increased retention compared to traditional lessons. Therefore, our goal is to use these kits to supplement local K-12 education, particularly at schools with under-represented populations. 

***UPDATE: Our poster will be on display Monday 1/4 from 3:30-5:30pm***

Delaney posing with the first bullfrog
she ever caught in the wild

Second, I have been working with an undergrad honors student, Delaney Laughlin, who will be presenting a poster of her honors thesis work:

Complexity, flexibility, and success: The role of feeding behavior on competition between native leopard frogs and invasive bullfrogs

Delaney N. Laughlin1 and Emily A. Kane1
1Department of Biology, Colorado State University

Invasive species are a global epidemic that has a significant impact on the survival of native species. Bullfrogs are native in much of the United States, however, they have been introduced in a variety of habitats both west of the Rocky Mountains as well as on other continents. We seek to understand one potential mechanism by which they are able to succeed in these variable habitats, specifically how foraging success is influenced by the coordination and flexibility of feeding.  We predict that there will be a greater difference in success rate between bullfrogs and leopard frogs when capturing prey from variable substrates. These differences between species might be because bullfrogs exhibit a greater complexity and coordination in movement, and this specialized prey capture behavior may increase success across multiple habitats. Alternatively, reduced complexity and coordination of movement could lead to increased success in bullfrogs because this generalized prey capture behavior permits flexibility. To test this idea, we will use high-speed video to record foraging behaviors of leopard frogs and bullfrogs from a terrestrial and aquatic substrate as they capture a suspended live cricket. Coordination will be calculated as the correlation among timing variables describing movement of body parts (i.e. hindlimbs, forelimbs, mouth, tongue, etc.). Success rates between the two environments will indicate the flexibility of each species.  This information could be vital for providing ecologists and conservationists a new perspective of the mechanism contributing to how invasive species are able to persist in novel environments.

***UPDATE: This second poster has been cancelled due to unforseen circumstances***

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