BI 440- Research

Course Description

Research on a departmentally approved topic or project conducted either in collaboration with university faculty or external mentor. (On Demand)

Role and Innovation-

I have offered a section of BI 440 every semester since becoming an Assistant Professor and have had 1-2 students enrolled at each offering. This course does not count toward my contact hours and the time I invest is on a voluntary basis. The focus of the course is open to each professor, but I design the course to focus on literature reviews, dissecting scientific papers, experimental design, field and laboratory methods, and report writing.

Below is a summary of student projects participating in BI 440 under my mentorship.

AlyssaseahorseFall 2018- Junior Alyssa Stubbs, future surgeon, is using the course time to write a proposal and conduct a pilot study on the feeding selectivity of juvenile seahorses, Hippocampus erectus and H. reidi. We have been working with two seahorse aquaculture farms and the Marine Discovery Center to design a project that will improve seahorse culture.

Jonathon close up

Fall 2018- Senior Jonathon Johnson, future dentist, is examining the recovery of zooplankton after the 2018 superbloom in the Banana River. Jonathon is using the course time to write a manuscript for publication on our superbloom research from summer 2018 and collect a second set of samples this fall from our superbloom sites to determine if the zooplankton species and diversity shifts as the bloom dissipates.

sarah noah microscopeFall 2017-Spring 2018– Graduating senior, and future medical doctor, Noah Douglas examined the frequency of heart mutations in two strains of zebrafish, Danio rerio, which was a continuation of research that began in Fall 2017 under a different student. Noah was successfully able to spawn several pairs of zebrafish and incubate the embryos till hatching. Noah observed multiple spawns under our digital microscope and filmed and photographed the hearts, looking for abnormalities.

kailey preservation

Spring 2017-Fall 2017– Kailey Richard, current M.S. Oceanography student at Florida Tech, began working with me her junior year at B-CU and continued on with her research through her senior year. Kailey began with a series of species profiles on seahorses and zooplankton and designed a seahorse feeding selectivity study. This required a greater understanding of zooplankton in the Halifax River, and she began studying the diversity and abundance near campus. Intrigued by the impacts of Hurricane Irma, the project developed into a year, long monthly zooplankton sampling project which concludes September 2018. The research conducted has led to high awards at multiple external conferences and internal symposiums. The research is supported by additional sophomore and freshman researchers. Additional information on this project can be found here.

Fall 2017- We attempted a study comparing butterfly diversity, behavior and habitat preference between a native and non native sunflower. Many coastal water quality issues are caused by land use and anthropogenic pollution. Native plants offer a solution to these problems by requiring less water and nutrients then non native species. The study hoped to quantify the ecosystem value of natives over non natives using butterflies as a model. Unfortunately, our native sunflowers were removed from the study locations.

butterfly site.jpg