|BUS kicked off the year with an event on September 30th||4 students had the honor of pie-ing their favorite faculty member (L-R: Drs. Ed Blumenthal, Lisa Petrella, Anita Manogaran and Gail Waring.|
|Sophomore student Dani Desautelle has the chance to put a pie in Dr. Gail Waring's face|
The Biology Department collaborated with the Biological Undergraduate Society (BUS) to put on the first BUS kickoff event. This event took place on Monday, September 30th, and was an opportunity for undergraduate students to learn more about the Department of Biology. Students discussed undergraduate research opportunities, advising, and other upcoming volunteer events with upperclassmen in Biology and faculty members. The highlight of the event was pie-ing four Biology faculty members chosen by the students (Drs. Ed Blumenthal, Lisa Petrella, Anita Manogaran, and Gail Waring)! The students had a great time and the faculty were good sports about getting a pie in the face. This event was BUS’s first step in becoming a more active group on campus and reaching out to students interested in Biology.
For the first time this year, ten students from Dr. Schläppi’s BIOL 3406 class (Plant Biology) started a service learning pilot project involving urban agriculture at Alice’s Garden on 2136 N. 21st St., Milwaukee. The students were paired by Alice’s Garden executive director, Venice Williams, to work with individual gardeners to assess the soil condition of personal garden plots, in an effort to grow healthier soil, and produce more vibrant food. This project also gives the Marquette students an opportunity to learn about the work done at Alice's Garden, and how its programs and projects impact the community on multiple levels.
To kick off the project, students and paired gardeners worked together on the first Monday afternoon of October and cleared an abandoned plot at Alice's Garden. The next step will be to turn the soil over and plant cover crops to improve soil conditions for next year. As budding scientists, the students will train the gardeners in performing a controlled experiment. To this end, they will subdivide the plot into three areas. One area will be a negative control not receiving any cover crop. The second area will receive a legume crop without supplement of nitrogen fixing bacteria, and the third area will receive the same crop supplemented with bacteria. Dr. Noel, from our department, and his students generously provided black bean seeds and Rhizobium etli bacteria for this purpose! Before planting, a small sample of soil will be collected from each subplot area and kept for chemical analysis. The students will test whether the black bean roots will form nodules during the fall planting and quantify the amount of nodules. This will terminate their part of the pilot study, but their collaborating gardeners will collect soil samples next year and send all the samples out for chemical testing. We expect that the soil of the subplot containing black beans seeded with nitrogen fixing bacteria will produce more nitrogen fixing nodules than the control areas, making this soil more nitrogen-rich, which should improve next year’s crop!
Students in Dr. Ed Blumenthal’s Experimental Physiology (BIOL 3702) course are learning both how to manipulate study specimens and recording equipment and to understand the process of experimental design and data interpretation. This fall, make sure to follow the students in Experimental Physiology on Facebook, as they conduct experiments investigating a wide variety of aspects of animal physiology in the laboratory.