Organismal Form & Function Lab

BIOL 483-002 Fall 2020 – Updates

The Organismal Form & Function lab is a new Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) developed in conjunction with Towson University’s recently funded HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative, in conjunction with our new TU-REP program. The goal of the course is to give student’s authentic research experiences focused on organismal form, function and performance. Student’s will develop their own hypotheses related to biomechanics and whole-ogranismal performance and use high speed cameras to collect their data and test their hypotheses. The first half of the course will have lectures based on animal performance, kinematics and biomechanics, while the labs will focus on high speed cinematography, digitization and obtaining kinematics. We will also have field trips to collect local invertebrates to use as our subjects. In the second half of the course, the lecture portion will be replaced with more “lab meeting” exercises, including paper presentations and discussion, while the lab portion will be time for students to collect and analyze their data.

Fall 2020 will be the second iteration of the course, and I am planning for hybrid and remote learning options. Currently the course will be a hybrid course. Our classroom can hold 6 students. Lectures, lab lectures, and lab meetings will be synchronous and virtual. Asynchronous material will be provided as well, including virtual discussions, tutorials, and assignments. In class opportunities will include specimen collection on campus in the Glenn Arboretum and data collection. New assignments have been designed and will be shared throughout the semester, including VoiceThread assignments to generate discussion and develop research questions, Scientist Spotlight reflections, and progress reports to checkin with students during this time. Check back for updates as we progress through the semester.

There are very few organismal CURE’s, and I have drawn inspiration from some of my recent work on praying mantis feeding and other courses such as the Friday Harbor Labs Fish Swimming Course I took back in 2005! I will be posting course materials, updates from the course, and student videos throughout the semester. So stay tuned and wish us luck as we embark on this journey.