Recruiting a graduate student to study microbial evolution and ecology of climate change

Come join a dynamic group of microbiologists, microbial ecologists, biogeochemists and bioinformaticians! Students who work in my lab can expect to perform cutting-edge research, gain experience in teaching and mentoring, and rely on the support of a group interested in your professional and personal well-being. Support is for three years as a research assistant, including summers & health insurance, with funds available for one national or international meeting per year and one local meeting per year to grow your network and share your research progress.

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Timeline of Life on Earth Activity

There is a healthy tradition of making timelines of the history of life on earth as a a classroom activity, and I have been wanting to do this for a long time. There is also good evidence that active learning improves student learning outcomes in all STEM fields.

The Earth is 4.54 billion years old (Ga), and life on earth was microbial for almost all of this time. Viruses also had their origins in the RNA world that precluded the evolution of cellular life, meaning that even before “true” life was formed, microbes were the sole life forms.

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The Jellybean Diversity Activity

One of the activities that is very common for teaching diversity or microbial diversity is the candy activity. In this activity, a sample community of candy is explored and used (and later, eaten) to make measures of diversity in a simple (and delicious) form. I elected to use jellybeans, since the known diversity would help us do this quickly. In this case, our richness is 49 (if your species definition includes flavor).

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