Field Research

The field research module combines field collection, cell culture, molecular biology (in the form of DNA isolation, PCR, DNA sequencing), and bioinformatics within one extended lab. It involves field collection of local Tetrahymena species, isolation of DNA from wild caught cells or unknown Tetrahymena strains (isolated from known locations) provided by the Tetrahymena Stock Center, PCR amplification of fragments for sequencing and bioinformatic analysis, bar coding, and examination of genetic diversity. Students have an opportunity to publish their results on the ASSET website, where information regarding all the Tetrahymena species identified around the country will be made available. Sequence data will permit them to identify the Tetrahymena species collected and place it on a phylogenetic tree. Ultimately, the information collected by students performing this module will be fed into a larger database that will provide an overview of genetic variation among natural populations of Tetrahymena thermophila. Students will be able to track this data as it is collected from remote sites. The lab gives students an opportunity to be part of an ongoing research project and strengthens their understanding of the scientific process.

Module Protocols

Middle/High School

Relevant Concepts

Science as a Process; Evolution; Continuity and Change; Interdependence in Nature; Molecular Genetics; Diversity of Organisms; Species Variation.

Next Generation Science Standards Relationships

High School: HS-LS1-1 | HS-LS3-1 | HS-LS4-1

Middle School: MS-LS1-1 | MS-LS1-2 | MS-LS1-5 | MS-LS2-5 | MS-LS3-1 | MS-LS4-4 | MS-LS4-5

NYS Science Curriculum Guideline Relationships

Key Ideas 1.1 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 4.1 | 4.2 | 4.3 | 4.4