A Model Organism for Inquiry-based Undergraduate Laboratories

Exploring temperature-dependent variation in development time using the model organism Callosobruchus maculatus (bean beetle)

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Synopsis

As global climate change is predicted to lead to substantial increases in temperature, tractable experiments to demonstrate the importance of temperature on biological systems are becoming increasingly important. This experiment includes monitoring the duration of bean beetle embryogenesis at various constant temperatures and testing for significant differences under different temperatures.

Topic: Developmental biology

Level: Intermediate majors

Class Time: One class meeting (for introduction), 2-3 hours for setting up the bean-embryo trays (includes time for oviposition by females), ~3-7 days observation time (depends on temperature. See methods for details).

Learning Objectives:

  • To teach students the importance of connecting laboratory data to a larger relevance issue (impact of climate change on biological populations and ecosystems)
  • To demonstrate the importance of embryogenesis rates in impacting population and ecosystem-level dynamics
  • To allow students to generate hypotheses and experiments to test hypotheses, to collect data, to analyze and interpret results (including statistical analysis), to present data in a manner appropriate for mass media distribution (i.e. to teach students to communicate scientific evidence to the general public).

 

Aaron Putzke and Brian Yurk

Hope College, Holland, MI 49422